Plant-spiration: Volunteer Park Conservatory

bromeliad

Happy Friday garden friends! I just wanted to share a few recent photos from a rainy day trip to Volunteer Park Conservatory. If you’re ever looking for garden inspiration, this is the place to go. Lots of cool and unusual plant life draped from one end of the greenhouse to the other.

I left that day with big plans for my indoor houseplant collection, as well as my garden. Now that the daffodils are blooming and the sun has visited our corner of the Northwest, I’m finally getting into the swing of things. I bought some seeds today, and now I just need to dig up a new vegetable bed to plant them in.

We’ve finally gotten most of the ivy cleared out of our front yard, thanks to some help from friends and parents. Now I get to go in the back yard and start a vegetable garden. Can’t wait! Have you planted any vegetables yet? Peas, potatoes or other early crops? Or are you procrastinating like me?

If so, I hope these pictures get your inner gardener a-hoeing!

agaveeuphorb 3 correct sizepitcher plant ceiling pan prettycacti asstwhite flowerair plant heart

In which I acquire a yard!!!

vegetable bedcyclamen

2015 has been a year of transition so far. I left my part-time retail job, to make my part-time gardening job into a full business. My husband started a new job as well after graduating with a second degree in December. We spent months and months going back and forth over whether to stay in the lovely little city (Bellingham) where we’d moved so he could attend university or whether to go back to Seattle which put us a lot closer to both our respective families.

During that time, we decided to give up our community gardening plot in Bellingham. It seemed like an eminently practical decision, but we were both surprised by how much we missed it. We also had a P-Patch for years and years when we lived in Seattle. And so our community garden, in both cities, has been the center of our ‘community’ for a long time. We missed the people and grubbing around in our sweet little plot.

Mind you, we’re not exactly model community gardeners. We dash in after work or before work and do a little weeding. When we get overwhelmed with other projects, our garden is the first thing that seems to fall by the wayside. Despite our weeds, poppies and weird garden experiments I’ve always been amazed by the warmth, good humor and patience of our garden neighbors. We even had a trellis fall over on a neighbor’s plot once! She was still friendly with us, despite this episode and other mishaps. You just can’t beat a community garden when it comes to neighborliness.

We figured wherever we ended up, we would definitely have to sign up for another community garden plot in 2016. Luckily for us, because to be entirely honest, we were still dithering…one of our good friends set us up with a very nice rental in North Seattle. And the best part, is that it has a great big yard. We haven’t had a rental with a yard in several years. And though we didn’t miss it at the time, thanks to our community garden plot, we are so excited to have one now. Our landlord, has given us carte blanche to do what we like. And so we’ve been dreaming, and making lists, and Pinteresting, and just generally having a ridiculously good time thinking about what we will plant in our garden this year.

I hope that we can do some volunteering with our local community garden in 2016. Now that we have a yard, we certainly wouldn’t want to take a plot from someone else. But, as many of you know, there’s always lots to do in community gardens and we hope to be make that part of our routine in the months to come. Gardening has always been a big part of our relationship, something we do together, and we just wouldn’t feel at home unless we got to know our garden neighbors. We even got married at our old community garden in Ballard! It made sense. And it made that day even more special that some of our garden friends came to the wedding as well.

I wonder how many of my fellow garden tweeps/webbies have gardened in a local community garden? How did you first hear about your garden? What did you grow? Did you do much hardscaping? Did you have any garden events? Potlucks? (Nothing like a community garden potluck.) How many years have you been gardening there?

 

rock and yard

 

 

 

Summertime, Heat Waves, and that old Dirty Hose

August P-Patch Bounty

This year my garden has been thirsty, likely even a little parched. It’s been a bee-yoo-tiful summer. Hot, sunny, even a bit humid. At one point I wondered whether I was living on the west or the east coast. (Though I imagine those who’ve lived on that other coast wouldn’t confuse the two)

I hiked and camped and kayaked and swam and adventured to my heart’s content.  I watched sword ferns unfurl their deep-green fronds,  trilliums bloom and die back and devoured tangy, red huckleberries. I’ve been back and forth a great deal to Seattle (Emerald City I heart you). And in all of this rushing around, my community garden patch has not received the amount of water it should.

Let me rephrase that, as someone who’s been growing vegetables for over sixteen years, I can tell you most definitely that my garden did not get enough water throughout July and August.

AugustCollage

Tending a garden not located near your home, can be a challenge at times. However, gardening is a solitary activity for the most part. You’re at home, with your trowel and other tools playing in the dirt. Very relaxing.

But… gardening in a community patch I imagine is akin to how it felt living in a village 200 years ago. That friendly, spontaneous chat that happens just by running into your neighbors.

So I will be back at my garden this fall, kicking around, listening in and trading theories as to why my parsnips were remarkably forky or how my neighbor’s broccoli could have gone to seed so quickly. The best part of this summer’s mad rush to the garden to water and then bus back home for work or to put the cat out and such….is that my garden has been remarkably forgiving. As though it acknowledged the work we put in this spring and early summer. The double-dug compost, the seaweed, the re-seeding and sturdy fencing of tender vegetables.

The kale, artichokes, radicchio, peas, beets and generally bountiful harvest that we’ve reaped this summer, it’s as though my garden was saying, “Hey, I’ve missed you too. Let’s hang out more“.

And that’s the best part of gardening. Despite the bolted spring lettuce that really should have been harvested sooner (At least we got most of it in time), the beans that got overtaken by sweet peas, the strawberries struggling for air between great swathes of chickweed….despite the less than diligent care…every season is a learning experience and a new opportunity.

So, Hey Garden- thanks for sticking it out with me this summer. And thanks for the tasty carrots!

P-Patch at Dusk

Like to write about gardening? Consider joining the ‘Grow, Write Guild’. From the lady who brought us You Grow Girl and other fun gardening literature.

 

 

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