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Archive for the ‘My garden journey begins’ Category

Creation comes from within the mind.  My garden is the beginning of something good, something real, something amazing.   It will be created by me, with all of my little horticultral brain cells running rampant in my mind.  Brainstorming sessions have begun.  My sketching pencils have touched the paper.  Creative mind be free, no limits, no fears….

Clematis and pink climbing rose will grow up the railing of the deck.  I definitely need some peonies for they are one of my most cherished flower.  They remind me of my mother when she was young, beautiful and healthy.  You see, for me, flowers carry memories, they carry time.  They mean something to me.  Perhaps this is how I connected with the world of plants at a very young age.  I used to pick black-eyed susans with my grandmother when I was a child.  I remember admiring those linear yellow petals with the brown eye.  I remember being intrigued by the small grains of pollen.  I remember the bees, the sunshine and the wind in my hair as I touched the flower.  To this very day, 20 years later, I am still intrigued. 

The future rock garden in front of my deck will be mottled with boulders, sedums, creeping thyme, pulsatilla, and small rock garden plants.  There is something special about a rock garden, that coarse texture of the rock against the smoothness of the vegetation. The Yin and the Yang. 

And of course, I need an herb garden.  Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil.  The four herbs I cannot live without.  There is nothing like the freshness of an herb, especially when using for cooking.  Sprinkle some rosemary on a roasted chicken  and it is so yummy.  Make some pesto sauce with basil. I do this every year.  I always seem to have SO MUCH basil at the end of the season.  So, I always make a nice pesto sauce.  Yum.  Yum. 

Garden ideas.  They come to me in the morning when I awake.  They come to me during my daydreaming sessions in the late afternoon.  They come to me at night.  My mind is always thinking and creating.  My mind is always connecting the creative dots.  My horticultural brain cells are always moving. If you are a passionate gardener/designer, you will know exactly how I feel.

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So, the winter snow and freezing cold has prevented me from taking measurements of the area for my garden BUT I have still been thinking about the garden.  I decided that I really would like to grow as much as I can from seed. Growing from seed is rewarding.  To take one look at such a small thing that turns into something so beautiful is truly quite amazing.  Growing from seed makes you just feel good.  There is this crazy rewarding feeling.  Like, wow!! I did that!!  How could that be possible?  It is a sense of wonder, of amazement.  In all the years I have been growing, I never lose that sense, ever.  It will be with me forever.  If you are a gardener, you will understand exactly what I am talking about.

As I look outside at the snow on the ground, the frozen hens and chicks on my porch (you know ,the plant!) and the glazed winter harbor, my mind is already fast-forwarding to spring.  I tend to rush winter and never fully appreciate it.  I just simply do not like the chill.  I love the outdoors and my time spent there diminishes greatly when the temperature is below 40 degrees.  I am a warm weather babe, what can I say?  I like the warmth of the sun, tank tops and flip flops, summer dresses, little clothing, tan skin.  I live for warm weather. 

The excitement of spring already runs in my mind, the fresh start, the first crocus bloom, knowing that warm weather is soon to follow.  It is already mid-January which means that March is not far away.  I was born in March and always look forward to the month. In like a lion, out like a lamb.  I love that saying because I was born at the end of March which is really a great time of year.  A time for renewal.  For me anyway…

So on this cold winter day, if you dislike the cold like me, think of spring that lies not too far away. It is something to look forward to.  Think of the crocus that will soon bloom and of the warmer days to follow.  Think of your hands that will soon be sinking into the soil.  Think that spring is near…

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I think of rain and I think of where it lands, on the leaves of trees, on the soil.  I imagine it soaking into the ground and into the roots of plants to help them grow.  I see the water percolating into the deep aquifers of our earth.  And then I learn that our aquifers are being depleted at an alarming rate. One never thinks of water in this way.  We constantly run our faucets, irrigate our plants and pave our roads and never think that some of these things actually have adverse effects on our environment. Well, if you think that water is an unlimited resource, it is not. It is a resource that is being depleted and if we do not educate ourselves and try to conserve and protect it, we may soon run out.  And how will we live without water as a resource?  It is a scary thought. 

How can we minimize our water use? 

There are sustainable ways to incorporate rainwater harvesting into our lives.  Especially if you have a garden to irrigate. Rainwater harvesting is actually an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years ago. And it is a technique that is really gaining popularity in garden design and landscape design. 

How does rainwater harvesting benefit us and our environment?

  • It conserves water usage
  • It contains no chemicals, unlike chlorine that is in tap water
  • It is basically free or low-cost
  • It is a sustainable landscape practice which will benefit our environment
  • It reduces a demand for water, which is especially beneficial in arid climates
  • It prevents stormwater runoff by capturing water before it runs into streams, harbors, oceans, etc..

The easiest way to harvest rainwater is in an outdoor tank or rain barrel.  I am not going to get into the more complex ways to harvest rainwater, like in underground storage tanks or underground cisterns.  Underground rainwater harvesting is really for farms or large-scale gardens.  I am focusing on smaller gardens or sites. 

Rainwater is usually captured from roof runoff.  The water is transported from a gutter or pipe into a barrel or storage tank.  This water is also know as grey water and is non-potable.  It is only to be used to irrigate the garden.  It is also very important to make sure that your roof is not treated with chemicals before you harvest the water. 

As for the barrel or storage tank, I prefer a wooden barrel.  It is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.   It is a better fit in the garden.  You can even plant some flowering vines near the base to grow around the barrel.  It will be a little more expensive, but worth it.  Now the rain barrel must be dark in color to block sunlight which will inhibit algae growth.  It must also have a cover to prevent mosquito breeding.  A spigot must be located at the bottom of the barrel to release the water.  And it has to have an overflow pipe in the event that the barrel overfills with water.  And this will happen!!   I have seen it. So make sure to divert the excess water away from the foundation of the house. 

In addition to rainwater harvesting, you can minimize water usage by using native plant material.  Native plants require minimal water, if any at all, depending on the ecological and enviormental requirements of the plant.  Check with your local nurseries or native plant societies to find out about plants that are native to your area. 

I am on the search for a rain barrel for my garden, so I will keep you posted on the progress…

Here are some useful links as well:

www.cleanairgardening.com

www.gardenwatersaver.com

http://www.gardengatemagazine.com/extras/52droughttolerant.php

Water is not an unlimited resource. Try to conserve a little bit.  Start small.  Try to harvest some rainwater for your garden. You will be doing something good for our environment. You will be doing something good for yourself.  Think of the aquifers that are depleting.  Think of water next time it rains. Think of it sustaining our lives, sustaining our environment, sustaining our earth…..

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My new cottage-ahhhh, a blank canvas for a new garden. How refreshing it is to start anew.  Especially when it comes to gardening.  My love of gardening goes way back to when I was a child.  I can remember picking black-eyed susans with my grandmother in the meadow near our home.  I remember the happiness I felt when I picked those flowers.  They were such beauty for my little green eyes, my little mind, my little soul.  My little gardening soul was born within me. And it still lives deep inside of me. 

I look at my small cottage in the deep of winter with creative thoughts in my mind.  I took some pictures this morning to show you that it really is a blank slate.  Nothing planted at all.  I cannot wait to see the progression of my new garden.  It actually is quite unattractive right now, especially in the dead of winter on a grey, cold morning.  Wait and see how I can turn this unattractive, barren soil into a beautiful garden.

This weekend I will begin measuring my little cottage and its surrounding bare soil where I will plant.  I will also begin some conceptual sketches of the garden.  What do I want  this garden to be?  I definitely want flowers and I definitely want some herbs and vegetables.  I would also like to start a living wall.  Please see my post on living walls to get an idea of what they are.  This garden will be beautiful, it will be created from my mind, my thoughts, my ideas.  What a sense of fullfillment I will have when it actually comes to fruition.  This is the most amazing part of gardening.  I mean, gardening never actually really ends. It is a continuous journey.  But one that changes, matures and evolves. 

This blank canvas that I have is the beginning of my garden, the beginning of my journey.  Stay with me as I go on this journey.  And please, if you have suggestions or comments, please give them.  It is always nice to hear from fellow gardeners.

 

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Side of cottage and shed-really needs some help!!!

 

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Front of the cottage-also really needs some help!!!

 

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Winter view to the Huntington harbor from my deck.

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I am finally living in a small studio cottage by the harbor of Huntington on Long Island. I am so excited that I have some space to garden. My cottage overlooks the Huntington harbor.  My dream to live near the water and to see the water when I awake has finally come true.  It is amazing how the small things in life always seem to just work out at some point.  It is amazing how important this is to me and how good it feels to have something that means something in my life.  Now it is time to start planning my garden.  A space of my own, designed by me, built by me, tended for by me….

I was living in apartments for years and have only been gardening in containers for years.  Which is quite surprising being that I am an avid gardener and horticulturalist.  Please follow me on my journey to start a new garden in my new little cottage.  Nothing exists around my little cottage.  It is bare soil, an empty palette for an artist such as myself.  I took one look at the soil and ideas were already flying around my little creative mind. Oh, I could plant some clematis here and oh, what about some climbing roses? And of course, I could plant some fall gourds that could climb up onto my decking and fencing.  And an herb garden, I definitely need herbs for cooking.  The entry definitely needs some attention. It is screaming for plants, for color, for texture. 

Follow me as I plan the garden, design the garden, plant the garden and tend to the garden. Watch how it evolves from bare soil and watch how it grows into something beautiful, something special, something meaningful.  This garden will also be practical and sustainable. It will provide me with fresh vegetables and herbs.  It will help me stay healthy.  See how it will become such an integral part of my life.

Gardens just have a special quality to them, no matter what the theme.  From small urban gardens to community gardens to large formal gardens to natures gardens, there is always something unique about each and every one.  They are special, they are alive.  They change with the season.   They have personality.  They are an outlet for creativity, for getting in touch with nature, for appreciating the uniqueness of a flower.  They bring a sense of fullfillment upon your first flower or harvest of a vegetable.  They help you to care for and nurture something other than yourself. 

It is a new year which means that spring is not far away.  This means that it is time for me to start planning and designing my new garden.  I invite you to go on this journey with me so I can teach you how to start a garden.  Have you ever wanted to start a garden?  Do you feel like you have no idea how to begin?  Let me show you for it is not harder than you think it is. It takes a little time, a little knowledge, a little love and care.  Give it a chance.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  Perhaps you will learn something, perhaps you will feel a sense of fullfillment, joy.  Take a chance.  Plan out a small plot. 

If you have questions, send me your questions.  Send me pictures of your garden.  I will help you if  you need the help. 

As for now, follow me on my journey to starting a new garden.  Stay tuned for pictures of my little cottage and all of the bare soil that will soon turn into a beautiful garden.

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