Archive for June 2008




Why Plant a Garden?

This cottontail rabbit took up residence under our champagne grapevine this Spring.

This baby cottontail rabbit took up residence under our champagne grapevine this Spring.

I can think of at least a hundred reasons to plant a garden. Here are three for starters:

1. Gardens bring us closer to nature.

Gardens are soothing to the much-stressed human heart, literally. Studies show that gardens, like our pets, lower blood pressure in humans. One evening as we strolled through our yard, we spotted this baby cottontail under our champagne grapevine. He was there everyday for nearly two weeks until he felt brave enough to explore more of our yard. There’s just something restful about a garden. A few minutes a day tending to the well-being of the plants in your garden can relax you and help you focus more clearly on your day.

2. Gardens, especially fruit and vegetable gardens, are healthy and delicious.

What better way to have dessert after your evening meal than by wandering through your garden? You can pick some grapes, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries and eat them by the handful right off the vine or add them to ice cream topped off with a sprig of mint.

Cherry blossoms Spring 2008

Cherry blossoms Spring 2008

3. Gardens are fun, especially when they’re in bloom.
There’s so much to see in a garden and so much that you can use. Lettuces for your dinner salad, vegetables for soups, stews, and side dishes, herbs for seasoning, beans for main dishes (can you tell I’m a vegetarian?), berries and other fruits, along with mint for your desserts. You can even have a family picnic in your garden.

So Why Plant a Garden?
I guess it’s in my genes. I come from a long line of gardeners. I’ve been gardening almost since before I could walk. It’s not summer for me without a garden.
“What’s this?” was my favorite question for my grandmother who had the largest garden of anyone I’ve ever known. She would patiently answer my endless questions as she gently tended the many flowers and shrubs in her front yard. Then we’d go into her back yard where she had her vegetable garden. She taught me how to grow flowers, fruit, and vegetables

I was especially fascinated with the fruits and vegetables. Today, I tell my landscape consulting clients, if you can eat it, I can grow it. I love it when one of my clients wants a vegetable garden tucked into their yard. But back to my grandmother and the reason for my love of gardening.

Love Is Eating Something From the Garden
Throughout the summer months and well into the winter, my grandmother fed everyone in our family, including many friends and neighbors. As summer slid into late August and early Autumn, my grandmother’s kitchen was a flurry of activity: we pickled and canned and froze nearly everything she grew. We made jams and jellies. We made wine and fruit juices and pies. We prepared entire meals and froze them for our winter dinners. All year long, not a month went by that we didn’t enjoy some delicacy that my grandmother had grown in her garden. And it all tasted so much better than the store bought.

From childhood, I knew that one day I was going to have a garden like my grandmother’s. I was going to feed everyone I cared about. After we purchased our home, it took three years for our garden to produce enough additional crops that I could share them in abundance. Yet, from our first year, I shared tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries. When our garden began to produce its fruits in abundance, it felt so good to be able to bring a basket of apples or tomatoes to work or to a friend or neighbor’s house.

I felt like I had finally arrived. I had finally ‘made it.’ I was successful because I could share the bounty of our garden with others. Gardeners understand what I mean. The satisfaction of growing something with your own two hands and by the sweat of your brow, knowing that you can feed yourself and your family and others is both a humbling and empowering experience.

Our garden continues to grow more satisfying each year as it produces more bountiful yields. I took a walk around our yard this morning to see how everything is doing during our week-long heat wave (90+ degrees with hot, drying winds). I also wanted to see what’s growing, what’s set fruit, and if anything is ripe yet and ready to be picked.

This year, we have apples, pears, raspberries (white and red), grapes (3 varieties), strawberries (everbearing, several varieties), blueberries, mulberries (red and purple), spearmint, chocolate mint (yes, chocolate!), onion chives, garlic chives, oregano, basil, savory, garlic (the real thing!), onions, Texas tarragon, tomatoes (Sweet 100s, Early Girl, and Grape, and Beefmaster, which is my all-time favorite), eggplant (Japanese, Black Beauty, white, and a small round eggplant that looks like a large, striped marble), peppers (red, organe, green, and jalapeƱo), tomatillos, dark green zucchini, straightneck yellow squash, and light green speckled zucchini, potatoes, asparagus, and lettuces. More about the bounty of our garden in future posts.

In future posts, I’ll also share gardening tips, suggestions for working smarter, not harder in your garden, and information about various plants and planting techniques.
To Your Gardening Abundance!

Cara

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Add comment June 30, 2008

Welcome to Cara’s Heavenly Gardens

Peach blossoms on our tree May 2008

Peach blossoms on our tree May 2008

Welcome Gardeners Everywhere!

Heavenly Gardens is a new blog for gardeners. I’ll share articles, gardening tips, and talk about various plants and types of gardening here.

The first day of summer just passed and avid gardeners everywhere are spending every spare moment in their yards. I can get lost in my yard to the point that time seems to stop and I forget the world exists, only realizing time has passed when it gets too dark to see clearly. Yes, I’m addicted to gardening. If I had my druthers, I’d spend all day in the garden.

It’s not summer for me without a vegetable garden. So, even when I lived in apartments, I always had a garden. One year, I planted corn in containers, along with zucchini, eggplants, and tomatoes. Friends laughed and said it wouldn’t work. I was the last one laughing that year when I harvested corn, zucchini, eggplants, and tomatoes from my container garden on our balcony.

Now that we live in a house with a large yard, each year, I marvel at the increased abundance my garden produces. I’ve even ventured into previously unknown territory, planting flowers, shrubs, and a variety of ground cover plants. I’ll share my journey from vegetable gardener to landscape gardener in future posts.

My love of gardening led to me leaving my high-tech job and starting a landscape consulting business. I cannot begin to tell you how much happier I feel working with plants and my clients who want beautiful gardens to escape to at the end of the day. More about that in later posts. Ah, so much to tell.

For now, welcome, fellow gardeners. Thank you for visiting.

I look forward to writing for you and hearing from you.

To Your Gardening Success!

Cara

Add comment June 26, 2008

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