I’ve always loved playing in the dirt and making mudpies … I still do. 😉 Growing up my older brother, two younger sisters, and I were always outside, either helping mom with her vegetable garden or playing.
Some of my favorite times were spent at dusk and then just after night started to fall and we’d sit on the patio out back and listen to the raccoons calling to one another. We’d be really quiet and watch for them to come out of hiding. There was this really big branch that hung straight out over mom’s garden, that a big old raccoon used to lie on as if he was waiting for something to happen. Little did we realize that he was waiting for the veggies to get big enough for him to eat! One morning we heard our Mom scolding something, we ran outside and she was holding up an eggplant and a couple of cucumbers for us to see the claw marks and bites the rascally raccoon had taken out of her prized vegetables. We thought it was hilarious … Mom didn’t. 😉
When my darling hubby and I moved into our house 32 years ago, the front was all grass with three huge trees lining the edge of the grass by the street. My in-laws gave us a house-warming gift of one gallon plants: azaleas, rhododendrons, and a really ugly yew bush … I’m not a fan of those spider-catching plants … and helped us to figure out how we wanted to lay out the garden and then helped to plant them.
My, how those bushes have grown over the years! I’m sure I have a picture of those tiny one-gallon plants somewhere upstairs, but there are a bunch of boxes of goodies that I’m giving away to readers who are attending RT in May in front of the closet under the eaves where I have those boxes of pictures stored. I’m one of the authors hosting three Reader Parties on Wednesday: First up—the Cowboy Corral Party; next the Sweet, Sassy, and Spicy Flavors of Romance; and finally the Historical Party. Anyway, I do have pictures that I’ve taken over the years on my computer too. This past Fall I realized that I needed to start cutting those bushes back and prune them. They’re huge 😉
Gardening Tip #1: Our philosophy has always been plant it and water it for the first two weeks, and then let it grow. We like our gardens a bit on the wild side. Remember a weed is but an unloved flower 😉 With three little ones, there just wasn’t enough time to remember to water all of our gardens because we surrounded our house with them. We’ve changed them up over the years as the neighbors’ trees started to shade parts of the gardens that used to be sunny, and planted our flowers, herbs, berries, and vegetables in different spots.
Gardening Tip #2: Let your flowers, herbs, and bushes go to seed and prune in the early Spring. Just as we are firm believers in letting plants grow wild, we are huge wildlife lovers here and tend to the birds and critters that wander on by. My mother-in-law has formal gardens and loves to “dead-head” plants and flowers … my Sweet William patch never reseeded itself due to her intervention. I did have to ask her to stop dead-heading my plants after that *sigh* she didn’t understand our gardening-style. We like to let everything go to seed because the birds love pecking at those full seed-heads as Fall is waning and Winter is coming. The birds’ favorites are the Purple Coneflowers – they pick them apart until by Spring all that is left are these really ratty looking spikes. 😉 Another favorite are the dried Privet berries. The birds never eat them when they’re green, they wait until the turn a very dark purple – nearly black – and then wait until late Winter or early Spring … I think they must be fermented by then … and gorge themselves on the berries.
For a few years in a row, we had Cedar Waxwings stopping by in February to eat the Privet berries, but this year the Robins came so early, that didn’t leave any berries for the other birds. I’m not sure if the Cedar Waxwings came or not, we didn’t hear them or see them. Then again we used to get a flock of Evening Grosbeaks mid-February, but they only came for about five years in a row, something must have changed for them habitat-wise because they stopped coming.
I hope you enjoyed a few glimpses of our gardens 😉