Here is another story from my farm wife friend Gail. Vegetable garden or flower bed? I think many of us have a preference. Some growers really have an eye for color while others have a taste for fresh produce. I enjoy both, but am better with a vegetable garden. Here is Gail’s story…….
Okay vegetable gardeners, I must confess. In all honesty I am not a vegetable gardener. In fact I am pretty much horrible at it. What I have learned over the years is procrastination does not make for a great yield. My weeds were often shoulder-high, the rabbits grazed unafraid, the raccoons made a well-worn path through the sweet corn and a cow could almost hide in the high weeds that guarded the spindly tomatoes. So I am sure you get the picture. I finally said enough and mowed the garden off.
That worked just fine because lots of family still loved to garden and sharing their garden’s bounty. My yard? Well it was pretty boring. No color unless you consider the blooming thistles on the pasture side of the fence. Deep inside I felt this stirring of maybe; just maybe I could try my hand at flowers. Dare I try after all my disastrous attempt at vegetable gardening? A long time ago I vaguely remember my grandma saying, “If it can grow weeds, it can grow flowers.” If that is true, my weeds would qualify for the UW College of Agriculture research test plot.
I wish I had paid more attention to my grandma. Her gardens always flourished the entire growing season because of her technique she referred to as ‘Set a spell gardening.’
She would pull her old garden chair to one of her flower beds around her tiny Quonset house. She would just sit there looking at the space. Just sit there, yet making a mental list what would go where. At that time I was more interested in playing with my cousins than really taking time to learn from her. But as we played, she wiped the sweat from her brow with the corner of her apron and studied the flower bed before her. She understood each one and how to plant in shallow soil, rich soil, shade or sun. Her gardens always produced the prettiest colors because she always planted what the soil would allow to produce. Rarely was a flower misplaced. She filled her beds often with flower cuttings from the previous year or tiny seeds ordered from one of her many seed catalogs.
So later, I thought flower gardening couldn’t be any worse than the vegetable fiasco. I dug a small three-foot bed beside the front door and planted some yellow Prim Rose a friend was thinning out. They grew; they bloomed and for the first time were not choked out by weeds. My flower fever started to grow as perennials started to cover and fill many spots the mower had a hard time getting access too. The more I applied Grandma’s wisdom, the more the flowers grew. Now my largest flower bed be is over 95 feet long with 20 different varieties of flower. The gardens start blooming in spring and go to the last frost.
As I weeded and nurtured, I thought how things get planted in other places besides the flower bed. Grandma had deep faith and knew what God could do with a heart turned over to Him. She knew what once bore evil or hate could really become a place of beauty for love or forgiveness. When I look deep into my heart, I am pulling out the junk and replacing it instead with something good. Just like Grandma, expecting a harvest 30, 60, or 100 times more than I planted. Oh, yes for the record I do have four tomato plants, dill and chives growing so nicely next the peonies, sedum and lilies. So what do you think: are they weeds or flowers?