Seasons In The Studio

Nature, and the things it inspires..........

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Garden Matters

As a kid, I had a little garden right outside the back door of our house in North Carolina.  I grew flowers from seeds.  Packages of seeds didn't cost much, and my parents didn't mind my experimental garden.  I never used any chemicals, or even fertilizer, I just planted seeds and watched to see what would happen.

When I was about 11, I asked my father to order some plant books for me.  My favorite was a sophisticated plant physiology book with lots of scientific illustrations.  I spent hours reading the book, looking at those drawings, and wishing I could make pictures like that.  As an adult, I got the chance to go to art school and learn how to draw well, this was a dream come true.  My fascination with plants has been there as long as I can remember.

Gardening is part of my creative process.  It gives me time outdoors, a little exercise, and space to clear my head.  My husband, now retired, has become interested in gardening also.  His attitude is so different from mine.  While I fret over bugs, and fungus and invading feral cats, he is such an optimist, and finds pleasure in seeing things grow.  He reminds me of me, when I grew things for the pure joy of it.  I truly need his perspective!

Last year for Christmas, the kids gave us a large box of vegetable and herb seeds.  My son thought it might be a white elephant gift, until he came to visit in early July and saw what we had done with it.  Our yard is small, but is almost all gardens, and we got creative with where we planted all those veggies.  Tomatoes entwined with the chocolate vine, no problem.  Squash in the flower beds, well, they DO have flowers.  And so it went.  I harvested more than 100 plum tomatoes, and was still picking eggplant in November.

We had decent success with the flowers too.  Turns out, almost nothing attacks ornamental sage.  We planted it in every color.  The biggest problem ended up being that the plants got enormous!  I really didn't need 5 flats of the stuff......The moonflower vines that I worried about not growing well initially, ended up swallowing the fence.  The fragrance was amazing in the evening.

Now that it's cold, there is little to do outdoors but enjoy the flowers of the camellias and dream about next season.  I'm looking forward to spending more time in the studio, but even in winter the gardener doesn't sleep, even if the garden does.  The orchids on the windowsill are just starting to send up flower spikes, and I'm wondering if lettuce can be grown in an unheated porch.........