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Gardener Unawares

I seem to have become a novice gardener in a short space of time.

It started about a month ago when my cousins in Missouri sent plants to me for starting a butterfly & hummingbird garden as a memorial to my mother who passed away last November. It is a lovely thought and gesture. It is something I've long thought would be fun to have, seeing as I love both species.

I just . . . never got around to doing it.

Now I will, though it is being an interesting process as I don't have anywhere already established to put such a garden - or any garden really - other than the beds in front of my house which 1) have horrible soil and 2) are both part to mostly shade type areas not part to full sun as a couple of the plants require.

But that's not all! By getting plants now, you'll double this new hobby! That's right, you'll win a herb garden in a box! Lovely, fresh herbs all planted and ready for your yard in an old ammunitions box with easy to use rope handles!

And, I did.

A friend of mine is apprenticing with her grandmother to take over the business her grandparents have run for around 30+ years - Green Acres Herb Farm in Lowpoint, IL. They have built a new shop building on their farm, they now have a website, http://www.greenacresherbfarm.com/ and they are ramping up their visibility. To celebrate these changes, especially the new shop, they had a grand opening open house.

And I won the door prize!
The large box sitting in front of the Green Acres Herb Farm shop is my door prize.

Until I figure out where to put some gardens, my butterfly & humming bird garden plants are being well cared for by Ray Saul who has a garden with room for some short term plant-visitors. My box garden is here:
Herb garden in a box at the southern edge of our backyard.

I'm enlisting the help of several friends, including Rebecca Van Nydeggen, writer of the Courier "ReClaim, ReCycle, ReConstruct" blog. http://www.lincolncourier.com/community/blogs/reclaim_recycle_reconstruct_blog  to help create my new garden beds in the best locations for both the plants and my yard.

I'll keep you all posted on my progress in becoming a gardener. :-)

Do you garden? Flower? Veggies? Herbs? All of that? 


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
How lovely! I don't have room to garden in my current apartment, but I admire the neighbors' efforts.
May. 29th, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
I've always loved gardens, just never been that thrilled with the upkeep as I don't like the heat in the summer. I'm going to do my best though.

Always good to hear from you! :-)

May. 29th, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
All of that, dear!

Most of my herbs and veggies are in container gardens-- that box you have is a good start!

My favorite garden bed is a huge metal cattle trough (oval) that I painted. It's high enough that I don't have to bend over very much to work in it, and it hold LOTS of veggies.

What kind of herbs are in your box? I think I see parsley and chives and maybe arugala (or is that cilantro?)
May. 29th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
How much did your trough cost? that sounds like a good idea :-)

I have a curly parsley and a flat. Chives. Two kinds of oregano. Orange-spice thyme. Chocolate mint. Stevia. Rosemary.

And I don't even know how to use most of them! LOL They did give me some recipes, so that should help. Something they served at the open house that was soooo yummy was lemonade that they had put a few sprigs of rosemary into. That was just too good!

May. 29th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Rosemary is great with chicken and turkey. Chives are lovely in all kinds of things-- anything you want to have just the eensiest hint of onion flavor to. I love to snip them into deviled eggs or scrambled eggs. I've never used those varieties of thyme or mint, though I do have both thyme and mint growing.

I grew stevia one year, but it didn't survive very well. However the leaves are sweet! Stevia is the plant they make Truvia sweetener out of. I made a mint/stevia tea with the leaves.

One way I use herbs in my cooking is to use kitchen scissors to snip them into a little condiment cup or a tiny bowl, and then use the tips of the scissors inside the cup to snip them up very fine.

My trough was just under a $100 bucks. I think they are probably more now-- but it was definitely worth the investment! I get great yield out of it!
May. 29th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
Cool ideas! Thanks :-)

Did you put some drainage holes in the bottom of the trough? What are it's measurements? I might get me one. ;-)
May. 31st, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
Samwise Gamgee would be proud.

I'm afraid I have no advice. My garden is perennials and weeds. ;-)
Jun. 4th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Ah, welcome to the maddness, dear hobbit lass! This elf is rather proud of her farmer's tans. ;)

We moved into a house with plenty of both shade and sun areas and absolutely zero landscaping nearly six years ago after living in dense forest where I could only grow things in containers around the house itself. We went from one very poorly planted (by the former owners) garden in the front of the house to now seven gardens and counting. That includes two groups of raised vegetable beds (a total of six 4'x4' plots) and a large herb/berry garden which flanks our patio and is hemmed in with a small retaining wall, as the yard slopes a bit on that side. One of the other landscaped gardens is the entire depth of our backyard and is planted with a row of crepe myrtles and nandina bushes, just to act as kind of a privacy screen from the nearest neighbors. If you can believe it, we're still not done. I'd like to put a shade garden in on the other side of the house where it seems we can only get moss to grow and after four years, I really need to dedicate a new raised plot to my raspberries which have outgrown their home in the herb garden. It's a big job to maintain it all and I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it.

I've been gardening since I was about 7 years old when my mom gave me a small plot of shasta daisies and herbs that were my responsibility to tend. The greatest antidepressant I've ever taken to cure the winter doldrums is getting my hands in some dirt, up to my elbows if possible. This year, the soil in my vegetable beds was so workable, I opted to plant all my peppers, tomatoes, squash and melons by hand rather than using a spade.

One little note about your contained herb garden there: herbs have a tendency to take over. The only difference between herbs and weeds is that they taste/smell good. They look lovely in their little box right now, but I bet it won't even take them a season to overtake it. While you're planning your butterfly/hummingbird garden, consider expanding it to include your herbs. Give each variety plenty of space to grow and keep an eye on them to keep them hemmed in. The more the root systems mingle, the more you'll wind up with basil that tastes like mint and chives that are choked out by oregano.

Another note about your butterfly/hummingbird garden: it seems I've planted one accidentally. I've always wanted one, but I planted a garden with colors to match the dining room, since the windows from that room look out onto it. They're golden yellows and reds, both colors attract the lovely little creatures. I've got some very large, low maintenance cannas which come up every year and the hummingbirds particularly love those. Also, lantana is a nice annual to have for them. I've been surprised at how many I've seen on the gladiolus as well. Other than that, I've grown cosmos in that bed to excellent effect and I know butterfly bush is great at attracting them as well, obviously.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )