My garden is significantly less attractive than the garden of Tennyson’s poem, but this blog post will also be significantly less weird, bloody, and tragic, so that should help balance things a bit!
My parents are farmers, and my mother has the most spectacularly green thumbs, which sadly I mostly did not inherit. But I do like gardening, and I’ve really been enjoying turning the brown, weedy wasteland of a garden that we inherited when we bought the house into something green and growing.
Mr D and I have some differences of opinion about how much garden there should be as he prefers LAWN (and pretty much nothing else). So I haven’t made much headway in my quest to turn the entire front lawn into raised garden boxes (oh, the dream!) but I have been allowed to clear out the three weed-filled garden boxes we inherited, and I have turned them into three mini gardens.
The gardens have struggled a bit this year: the weather turned abruptly from quite cold and wet to HOT and dry, so my first batch of lettuce rotted in the wet, and the second went directly to seed in the heat, and the poor kale was devastated by an outbreak of brassica moths brought on by the hot weather.
Despite all this, I have succeeded in growing a very attractive radish:
And a rather spectacular crop of an attractive, vining, flowering non-quite-a-weed in the cracks of the garden boxes (this is purposeful).
And a really gorgeous set of alyssum in the cracks of the next one over.
I love alyssum. It’s so unassuming, but when I bend over the boxes to weed them I’m surrounded by the most delicious fragrance, and every once in a while you get a waft of it as you sit in the backyard.
My goal with my vegetables is to grow basic seasoning herbs and alliums (parsley, rosemary, coriander, spring onions and chives), and lettuce, kale, and mizuna, so that I have the foundation to a salad (lettuce, kale & mizuna), the filling for a soup (kale) or the green veg for a stir fry (mizuna) at any given point.
Oh, and basil. I am obsessed with basil. It won’t grow all year round in Wellington, but for as many months of the year as it will, I grow pots and pots and pots of it.
I put great handfuls of it in salads and soups and stir fries and curries and ratatouille all summer long.
The only problem with filling my garden beds with vegetables is it means I have no-where to plant my spring bulbs! I definitely need to work on convincing Mr D that my front garden aspirations are the way forward!
Is that curly leaf parsley I see? This Czech approves. 😀 And holds her thumbs for you (which is what Czechs do instead of crossing fingers) to manage more!
Neato! I’m off–this morning, fact–to get the rest of my garden together. With a husband in the military, my goal is to do two things: (1) maintain and beautify our home to respect the taxpayers who support us, and (2) buy many pollinator-plants to support the bees and butterflies and do our bit for peace. Allysium is wonderful!
Of course, a southwest native in the midwest is a laughable gardener. I am sticking to flowers, and getting my veggies locally from a CSA.
Maybe you can convince Mr. D for flowers by saying that you can do photoshoots without traveling!
Your basil looks amazing! I had six little plants which I tended on a windowsill all through winter and finally potted out when it looked like spring had sprung. Cue the hailstorm. Alas, only Basil Stag Hare survived.
We’ve been hit by the nasty little moths too – they’ve laid waste to the herb garden and brought the previously indestructible rhubarb to its knees. Still, at least we’ve got plenty of parsley. Everywhere…
(Shhh). Sneak some spring bulbs into the lawn. Crocus, squill, snowdrops or even daffodils and narcisis. They grow very happily in the grass and after blooming (with some time to grow and store energy for the next year) they mow down and the lawn is intact. Works for me.
Totally agree! My Dad did this in the front lawn of the house I grew up in and it looks gorgeous. Plus nobody sits tends to sit out on the lawn in the early spring…!
When we moved to Florida I was so excited to grow tomatoes, peppers and citrus but had an awful time… so now my planters are full of herbs, sweet alyssum and plants that pollinators love. My daughter has delighted in the fact that the monarch caterpillars have already eaten all of our milkweed, so I have found there is beauty in some of our more simple pursuits! Many blessings on your planter quest 😉
Your basil is growing gangbusters! Mine always develops some kind of blight about two months in and fails. I’m giving a windowsill mini-herb-garden a try this year–will see how that goes in maintaining fresh herbs longer! Midwestern winters make for very short growing seasons 🙁