Since I began this particular garden, as part of the creation process what I have had as one of my goals is simple: to create a four-sided, four-season garden. I want to be able to look at a garden from every window, and I want a garden that has interest four seasons of the year.
Basically, creating a garden is a layering process, as well as trial and error. From daffodils in spring, to lush summer color, to the panorama of fall, and the garden in winter, it is about layering. There is nothing instant about a good garden. It takes years, and constantly evolves as you figure out what works, what doesn’t, what you like, what you don’t like.
I am getting to the point where I am four seasons. I research what I am looking to achieve and scope out the plants. The colors I choose are complimentary for the most part, and I will group and mass plantings for a more uniform and flowing effect.
This garden was in part inspired by the bones of the garden of the former owner of our home, the garden of my childhood, and gardens I have created for myself and others over the years.
The first garden I remember was the garden my father created in the walled in back yard of our then house in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. I remember him planning it, and he laid out the curves of the brick patio and the flower beds with a string and a compass. It was like a secret garden come to life and he planted trees, shrubs, a John F. Kennedy white rose, annuals and perennials.
There was a shady side garden, and then the main part of the garden was quite sunny. The general idea of the garden my father planted still exists in parts today. I recently stumbled upon a realtor listing for our first home. It was kind of weird to look at the listing photos and see the house inside and out after all of these years, but it was also marvelous to see how these people loved the house over the years. Definitely a far cry from the home my parents sold in August, 1975, it still had the basic bones of my father’s original garden. I am guessing they really aren’t gardening folk because while the trees are still there, far less in the way of flowers and shrubs exist in that garden today. And it looks like an addition swallowed a good bit of the side yard and piazza. But it stopped being our garden decades ago.
The garden I remember will always be in my memory. And that garden of my early childhood fostered my love of gardening as an adult. As a child I helped my father plant that garden with his father. I know most kids don’t like to garden as it equals work, but I did. And watching what you plant grow and even bloom is still almost indescribably cool.
People have happy places in their life where they like to go. One of those places to me is my garden. My garden today has bits and pieces of every garden I have ever had or helped create. It also has where my creative side has taken me, and will continue to grow.
I learn from reading and talking to horticulturists and plants people, and also looking at the gardens of others for inspiration. Taunton’s Fine Gardening is one of my favorite resources. The magazine and the website are very helpful, as well as contain many beautiful things to look at.
I also found a web article on four season garden planning recently I found helpful. It is on a website called Gardening Know How. I do have quite a collection of gardening books I refer to, and among them are a few from Rodale which are basic and helpful. As a matter of fact, Rodale Institute has a pretty cool website. I also love the books written by garden writer Suzy Bales. She also has many gardening articles still available on Huffington Post . She also used to have a website.
As of this summer, my garden has become four-sided. As I keep planting it I strive now to make it four-season. I want to be able to look at something no matter what the season. Even the sparseness of winter should be beautiful.
What are your plans for your garden? What inspires you in your garden? Tell me in a comment!
Thanks for stopping by today. I am off to find more Caladryl Clear to put on the side of my arm to combat the reaction I am having to whatever stung me in the garden yesterday.
This salad couldn’t be more simple to make! It is my own recipe, and it is inspired in part by the spicy green beans you can order hot at my friends the Foos’ restaurant called HuNan in Ardmore, PA.
I had bought a quart size container of fresh green beans at the farmers market. I blanched them in a couple of inches of boiling and salted water so they were still crisp, yet had a pleasing bright green color. When I am blanching vegetables like fresh green or string beans, I not only dunk them in cold water to cool, I put them in a bowl of ice after I finish cooking as well.
I put my beans aside in their own bowl (drained and de-ice cubed) and took another bowl out to prepare the dressing:
- first I minced fine a long hot pepper from my own garden. I believe it is a cayenne pepper it’s a little over an inch and a half long. I allowed some of the seeds to get into the bowl but a lot of them I removed.
- next I chopped fine a third of a good sized sweet onion
- step number three is to finely minced two cloves of fresh garlic
- step number four was grating the four small, young carrots that my friend Elizabeth gave me out of her vegetable garden. I ended up with about three quarters of a cup of grated carrots.
To these vegetables I added equal parts seasoned rice wine vinegar I purchased at a local Asian market, regular red wine vinegar, juice of one fresh lemon, and a few tablespoons of olive oil. To that I added some fresh salt-and-pepper and whisked together. It is not a lot of liquid in the salad dressing, we are talking a few tablespoons of each liquid ingredient. The idea is to coat the vegetables not immerse them completely in liquid.
Next I tossed everything together with the beans and put in the refrigerator to chill. Because I’m working with fresh garlic and onion here, I use a bowl with a lid that seals.
What you have in the end, is a very nice summer salad of fresh vegetables that many people have in their garden this time of year, or can purchase from a local farmers market!
Kept refrigerated, the salad will last few days.
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by today!