Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

How Does Your Garden Grow?

on February 25, 2011

Back in mid 1999, my family life was a bit of a mess. My parents were in the middle of a divorce and I was trying to find a job for the summer, as well as a place to live for my senior year of college.  I was a bit stressed. I found a job as a lighting intern with the professional theatre in residence during the summer, but I needed some sort of outlet to de-stress. I decide to try my hand at gardening.

Morning Glories, NJ, 2004

Here it is, nearly 12 years later and I have never actually planted anything in the ground. Every garden I have had has been completely in containers. That first garden was a collection of about 6-8 pots with various veggies – tomatoes (3 kinds), peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and herbs.  The biggest garden I has was when I lived in New Jersey – 41 plants on a 17’x10′ balcony.  It was fantastic.  I had morning glories climbing up the side of the deck, and a variety of other flowers and veggies spread around. I even had a nice set of chairs and a table from my great-grandmother. I would sit out there on a warm summer evening, watching my Datura open at dusk, enjoying the summer.


Datura opening at dusk

I have also dabbled in water gardens. It’s quite a pain when you are doing it on a balcony – all of the water comes from the kitchen sink and has to be carted out to the balcony.  I only really had one good year – one beautiful lily formed and stayed for quite awhile. Other than that, the water garden was largely unsuccessful and a pain in the butt. I was constantly worried about mosquitoes laying their eggs and keeping the water clean.  Then, once I had my dog, I was trying to keep him out of what he saw as a huge water bowl on the deck.

Water Lily

So, here it is February, and I’m itching to start gardening again.  One nice thing about the Pacific Northwest is the length of the growing season – there are already buds on the trees and the first daffodils and crocuses are starting to push their heads through the soil.  Even so, it’s hard to get too excited when there are several inches of snow on the ground.  Thank goodness for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at the convention center. I plan to go this afternoon and this will be my fourth year in attendance.

Garden Show 2009

There are two parts to the show – the display gardens and the vendors.  The display gardens are amazing, built by professionals around the region. This year’s theme is “Once Upon a Time” and is based on literature.  The vendor side is a gardener’s dream – all kinds of great plants, tools, and miscellaneous housegoods that I never knew I couldn’t live without.  The only thing that saves me is that I take the bus down and back – it’s very difficult to take a tree or other large item on the bus!

So, while it’s only a month until Spring officially begins, I’m already planning and plotting what I will be planting this year.  Anyone have any suggestions?


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