Garden Journal 5/12/95
My garden started out of a love for strawberries. The fruit, so rich with flavor, the sweetness of its juice almost overwhelming, it is perfect. I wanted to have strawberries whenever I desired them. So we bought some little ever-bearing strawberry plants, and Tim planted them in an old wooden box with open slats. We kept this on the little front porch next to the peat pots of cucumbers and peppers, and watered and cared for all of them through that first summer.
We were amply rewarded, for once everything went into the ground, they grew lush and our harvest was good. Then I thought it would be great to have those expensive snow peas growing in our yard, so popped some into the ground. Tim put up a little string for them to climb up and they were happy. They were prolific and I was delirious, mad with power! I felt like I had the Midas touch, anything I planted would grow, and grow abundantly. The rest is gardening history. That summer I grew vegetables, flowers, and my very own plum tree which gave me fruit after three years! At that point I was so enamored with gardening, plants, trees, and flowers that they became real to me in the sense that I named them, bestowing gender upon them, each with a carefully chosen name at planting time.
I was truly amazed at how that little garden appeared so lush and green, growing almost effortlessly. The secret was the soil, for Tim had been amending it for six years before I came on the scene. I had daydreams of bringing the garden 'in', to enjoy it by creating kind of a lanai which I pictured running alongside the side of the house. I began to do pencil sketches of room additions, huge glass windows lining the front room, with a walled-in garden of glass just off the bedrooms, each bedroom having access, kind of a private access to the main garden. I penciled in names of the plants I would have, their location in this tropical garden, and worked the floor plan of the little house in the woods around this garden of dreams.
This was exciting! At this late stage of my life, I had found a new passion. I must have spent all summer working on that sketch, erasing, reworking, changing perspectives, putting it down, taking it up again. Chalia would help me with it whenever she visited. I learned much about flower types, their needs, what would grow there, what to look for, and discovered more and more about this fantastic world of gardening. From there I began to visualize garden paths, I wanted to create 'rooms', different plant environments, using age-old secrets to encourage them to bloom and survive in our yard. I still have those sketches today and they are some of my most treasured items. For they changed my life.
We moved from that little house on one quarter of an acre to a small cottage with vaulted, knotty pine ceilings and almost five acres. The land is gently sloped, wooded with pine trees, oaks, English walnut and fruit trees, apples and plums. The earth is clay and rock. The atmosphere created in this wonderful location is magical. I am slowly creating gardens that I love, in my mind's eye, pathways which will take me to my secret gardens with a happy profusion of plants and flowers, butterflies and humming birds, dragonflies and bees --a true cottage garden.