Monthly Archives: March 2011

Garden Clogs

My gardening purchases are starting to arrive! Today, I received a box of dirt (yes, you really can order it) – organic, soiless, germinating mix – wonderful for starting my seedlings. Which I would (and should) be doing tomorrow but my seeds have not yet arrived. That is my fault for dragging my feet in ordering them. Bet they show up on Monday… But, I did get two other “gifts” – one I ordered myself, and the other unexpected. A business associate sent me a copy of “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” as a Thank You and I am just about to crack it open and get lost for a while.

The other gift was from myself – a new pair of garden clogs. My old pair cracked to the point of pinching my instep whenever I stepped and had to be tossed. I spent the last two years in cheap versions of Crocks, virtually disposable after each season, and not recommended at all. The real deal gardening clogs, with the plaid insoles, have me so happy again that I am wearing them now for fun. Kind of like when I buy other shoes… Sure, shoes are an obsession, but in this case, the clogs are that special.

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2011

Unfortunately, nothing is yet blooming in my zone 6, southwestern Ohio garden other than the Crocuses. Even my Lenten Roses are behind – perhaps they know Easter is extra late this year? But, my Daffodils are about 4-6″ out of the ground and I can hardly wait! Over the years, I have planted 1000+ bulbs of many varieties – early, mid and late season bloomers so that the area we refer to as the Way Back (the last 1/6 of our 2 acres) is glorious for about 6 weeks and I can cut with abandon since they have multiplied over the years. My inspiration for this naturalized area is the nearby Cincinnati Nature Center (see http://www.cincynature.org) , the 175-acre wooded estate of Carl and Mary Krippendorf that is now open publically and offers a plethora of daffodils each spring.

Garden Planning

Finally got around to checking the seed inventory and going through seed catalogs. So, I am gearing up again – seed germinating soil, clogs, and seeds are on order, and I WILL clean up my workbench this week (STRONG note to self!), so I can start my seeds this weekend.
I even got the plans drawn for where things will be planted – putting all these things into Excel sure made it faster and easier this year. Just wish some garden elves would appear to clean that workbench – how does it get to be a dumping ground once the seeds move outside?!

“The Art of French Vegetable Gardening”

Curious thing – Donny and I went skiing in the Italian Alps about 15 years ago, and I came home fascinated with the cliff-hugging, terraced gardens I saw on the bus ride from Lake Como to Bormeo. So, I found a book on French gardens…

Actually, I am fascinated with both cultures – art, cooking, style, langauge and always thought I would see both countries more extensively than I have, by now. But, I married a man who told me we would “look” at things when we retire; until then, we would “do” them. So, Florence was never visited while I shushed down the training slopes of Italian Olympians.

How I made the leap from the envying the grape trellises of the Alps to wishing to copy the structure of Versailles is not clear, other than this beautiful book I ordered from one of my book clubs: “The Art of French Vegetable Gardening” by Louisa Jones.

It changed my view on how my garden should look; it changed it from a Midwestern row garden to a “potager”. It changed me as a gardener – in fact, I think it created me as a gardener.

The Spring following our return from Italy was spent redesigning the 18′ x 30′ vegetable garden of rows into the plotted, raised bed, perennial-bordered, 34′ x 41′ Big Garden.

It is both too big and not big enough, depending on my enthusiasm: too small in the planning stages for all I want to grow, too large in the creation and clean up stages, and again too small when the plants I could not restrain myself from growing overshoot their boundaries – something that happens no matter how carefully I plan. Actually, I will not take the blame for that – it has to be the wonderful soil I have cultivated.

At any rate, it is again time to inventory the seeds that can be resown from last year, plan the map, order more seeds, and start the babies on my garden shelves. I can’t wait – truly time to Spring Forward!