The Tree Recycled

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The crews cutting up the huge oak tree that fell on our neighbor’s house over the weekend kindly let us have a load of wood chips for our garden. The pile is plenty big and we are happily sharing with other neighbors, but it was so nice to cover our garden walkways and surround our garden boxes with the last of the old oak. A fitting tribute to a great old tree that we will miss.

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Summer’s End

end-of-summer-garden

End-of-Summer garden

It’s been awhile since I last posted anything on this blog although I’ve taken many photos of the garden during the weeks away from writing and posting. I’d like to fill in that blogging gap with those photos and some stories of things that have happened in the garden, so I’ll be doing some catch-up posts today.

This morning, as I write, it is gray and rainy outside–very Fall-like. Summer is definitely over, but October always has many pretty days to enjoy, and I look forward to my fall activities in the garden. Reflecting on my summer in the garden… I learned a lot this growing season and enjoyed my gardening time! Among my successes was my Triangle Garden full of Zinnias. Many people passing by have stopped to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed it. One admirer was a little girl walking by with her mother. She got so excited when she saw all the flowers, and her excitement was the best compliment I could imagine, so I clipped a handful of zinnias for her to carry home. We were both thrilled!

Another success this summer was my tomato garden box. In April, I took a gardening class at Farmington Gardens on planting a vegetable garden. I put to use the things I learned in that class about tomatoes, and I had a much better tomato crop this year than last. I had to chuckle as I sat in class taking notes and realizing that I had done everything wrong last year with planting and caring for my tomatoes, which was why I had such a poor crop. But I still got tomatoes last year, so I was excited to try again, with my new knowledge, and see what happened. I wasn’t disappointed! There are still tomatoes on the vines, although they’re slower to ripen at this point because there’s not as much light and warmth, but we’ve enjoyed the variety of tomatoes and other veggies in our summer salads.

Saying goodbye to Summer was harder for me this year because it was such a nice summer! But I love Autumn, and will enjoy my seasonal gardening tasks of cleaning up, planting cover crops and fall veggies.

On Loving Summer!

Our kitchen garden...

Our kitchen garden…

SUMMER! This summer our yard has lots of flowers blooming, tomatoes happening, yummy peppers to add to salads, little cucumbers promising! And I will say something that I’ve rarely said before: I am loving this Summer! That’s very unusual for me. I’ve always had a lot of trouble with the heat, so summer has never been my favorite season. But this summer is different!

Black&Blue Salvia

Black & Blue Salvia

There are two main reasons for this change in my attitude and enjoyment of SUMMER. One, is that Hubby and I planted a serious garden this year, and the old maxim is absolutely true: “one who plants a garden, plants happiness!”  I love making tomato sandwiches for lunch with our own homegrown tomatoes! I love picking sweet pea blooms and putting them in a little mug in our kitchen window. I love watching the hummingbirds that frequent our Black & Blue Salvia! But the other important reason that I am loving this summer is that I am now more physically able to spend time outside and better able to handle the heat challenges of the season.

At age 67, I am becoming an athlete.  Last year, when I became an official senior citizen, I signed up for an exercise program 3 days a week at the gym down the street.  That exercise class has been a life changer for me in that I am so much more active and fit than I’ve been in years and years.  2nd PlaceThen, 6 months ago I found a “running buddy.” Actually, my buddy runs and I walk fast. “Power walking,” I call it. I’m not trained as a true speed walker, but I’ve always enjoyed walking and I have long legs and can set a pretty fast pace. My running buddy is an 81 year old athlete and former marathon runner, and is a wonderful, inspiring mentor. We run/walk together 2 mornings a week, and it’s become a great partnership! We signed up for 5 different 5k races this summer, and our “training” for those races has been very successful. So when I describe myself as “becoming an athlete,”  I say that with a lot of pride and a growing sense of accomplishment at my efforts to become more fit.

So both gardening and exercise have brought a lot of happiness into my life this year and made this summer one of the nicest in years and years.

My running buddy and me!

My running buddy (on the right) and me!

 

From December to March

From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.
~ Katherine S. White

It has been a number of months since I wrote anything on this blog. I tend to cocoon in the wintertime, wrapped in my books and my knitting. Garden blogging is set aside while I winter over.

The quote above, however, describes perfectly my own December to March with my “three gardens.” There was so much rain this winter that we set new records. The outdoor garden was an absolute swamp! Indoors, some of my window garden plants gave up the ghost while others flourished. Not sure why. And the garden of my mind’s eye was inspired by the gardening books I read this winter and by the two online gardening courses I enjoyed on those rainy days.

But now I am happy to get back outdoors to start our spring gardening. Husband is focusing on the important structural aspects of our vegetable garden … putting in the pathways and preparing to install an irrigation system. Daughter has started some seeds indoors and we are happy to see them sprouting. Son and Grandboy are deciding on some seeds for their garden box. And I am cleaning off the front porch, getting ready to plant the porch pots soon, preparing the raised beds in the vegetable garden, getting ready to plant the veggies and herbs. Last weekend, Hubby and I bought 5 new barrels and planted some blueberry bushes in them.

So Spring is here and it is simply delightful to be able to get outdoors again and putter around in the sunshine after a long, wet winter!

Back to the Garden

Mom and me sitting on Dad's memorial bench.

Mom and me sitting on Dad’s memorial bench.

Red Butte Garden, in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a place of pilgrimage for my family. It is a beautiful botanical garden located on the mountainside near the University of Utah. In 1994, it was a very young garden, and when my father died in May of that year our family decided to place a memorial bench there. Dad was a professor at the University of Utah for many years, and he loved gardens, so it seemed a perfect way and place to remember him.

So, almost every time we return to Salt Lake City, my family goes to the Garden. It’s a lovely visit, no matter what time of year, and a happy place to spend time soaking up the surrounding beauty and remembering a very wise and gentle man.

Last week, while all together, we made our pilgrimage again and enjoyed the sunshine and warmth, the beautiful roses and fall-flowering plants. We sat on my Dad’s memorial bench and talked and laughed and reminisced. He would have loved sitting on that bench in the rose garden and sharing that beautiful day with his family.