Stuff I haven’t killed, yet

I started gardening the spring after I moved into my home. My Nana is an avid gardener and has been all of my life. In our hot, Southern summers, I have spent so many early mornings and twilight hours walking through and around her botanical paradise. I didn’t even realize how much I knew about plants and flowers until I started gardening myself.  It’s amazing what you pick up and retain. I knew the names of plants and in some cases, I already knew whether they were sun or shade-lovers. I still had (and still have) alot to learn, but I knew quickly that gardening was not just another hobby I would pick up.  It was a destiny that I had to fulfill.

Now, I now that using a word like destiny sounds a little melodramatic. But that’s me, and that’s how it felt. There are other words that might be more appropriate in your mind. But, this is my blog. And gardening is my destiny. You might know how I feel if you’ve ever looked out across your yard after reading through one of those Southern gardens coffee table books.  Destiny.

We always plant a sprinkling of vegetables with very little real success.  My first year trying, I had a bumper crop of cucumbers and a few tomatoes. That was the best year I’ve ever had.  I’ve tried starting from seed and from plants, heirloom varieties and hybrids, composting, mulching, growing in hay, watering, not watering, dumping eggshells and coffee grounds.  If it sounds crazy, but mildly plausible, I’ve tried it.  And I’m trying again despite meager results from gardens past.  This year, we’re off to a good start.  Not wanting to expend a ton of money, we’re starting (mostly) from seed.  And they’re just about all up.

summer squash seedlings

bush beans and cucumbers

bush beans and cucumbers

swiss chard

swiss chard seedlings

Then there are the little lovelies.  The flowers that make me squeal every time they come back to life in the Spring. This is a very pure joy for me. Every summer I watch them suffer as our heat-soaked days of drought suck the life out of them (and everyone else).  This year, this clematis has bloomed bigger and more prolifically than it ever has before – and true to rules of thumb – this is year three for this plant in its current space.

I’ve tried and failed with about 4 other bleeding heart plants, but this year, I had two of last year’s hopes come back.  One with blooms.  I wish I could name these sweet little flowers.  With their soft, hand-like leaves, I kind of think of them as the tea-sipping ladies of Spring.

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