National Gardening Week starts on June 2 and I, for one, will celebrate by staring obsessively at the Grandpa Ott morning glories that I planted a few weeks ago. Grandpa Ott is a gorgeous deep-purple flower with a magenta pink center. It is accompanied by a fast-growing leafy vine that can climb trellises, pergolas, or in my case, a chain-linked fence. I’ve been looking for an economically sound way to make that fence visually appealing while offering more privacy for a dog that loves to bark at anything that moves and his Mom (me) who sometimes wants to hang out in the yard unnoticed.
Morning glories are fairly easy to grow, but you have to take special care of the seeds before putting them into the ground. I soaked them in a small container for about 24 hours. Then, I scarified each seed by scraping them on piece of sandpaper. This process helps the plant find its way out of the hard shell. I measured the distance between each group of seeds by hand, and bought fresh new soil to cover them up. Each day that it doesn’t rain, you can find me hunched along the fence studying each seedling that has emerged from the ground and comparing them to the seedlings on either side. As the days have gone on, I have monitored the height and width of each stalk and taking note of where the vine has begun to grow as it curls its way around the links of the fence. The man that cuts our grass for us is VERY sweet and I made sure to reel in my neurotic nature when politely asking him to avoid going anywhere near my glories. DO. NOT. TOUCH. THEM. Pretty please?
As the days go on, I’ve taken pride in seeing how they are growing. I am also sure to give myself a pat on the back with every inch they get taller.
I think that is why gardening is so rewarding. Not to be a hippie about it, but it gives you a chance to connect with the earth and the dirt, by putting care and attention to creating something beautiful.
Right now, I’m into planting flowers and vines. One day, I will become a bit braver and be like my mother-in-law. She has a plot with Brussel sprouts, watermelons, peppers and more!
Here are some books to check out if you want to get into the gardening spirit as well:
For the kids:
Lola Plants a Garden written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
How does your garden grow? Book-loving Lola is inspired by a collection of garden poems that she reads with her mommy. She wants to plant her own garden of beautiful flowers, so she and Mommy go to the library to check out books about gardening. They choose their flowers and buy their seeds. They dig and plant. And then they wait. Lola finds it hard to wait for her flowers to grow, but she spends the time creating her own flower book. Soon she has a garden full of sunflowers and invites all of her friends for cakes and punch and a story amongst the flowers.
For the novice green-thumb:
Beginner Gardening Step by Step: A Visual Guide to Yard and Garden Basics by The Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain
Is your lawn full of weeds? Are your fruits and vegetables diseased? Is your flower bed forlorn? Do you long to create an outdoor space you can enjoy with friends--or even a garden you can show off with pride? Provides the basics you need to get your green space under control and keep it that way. Plus lots of simple garden ideas you can do yourself. With step-by-step photographs. From planting decorative climbers to growing your own tomatoes, these easy steps will make a big difference in how your garden and landscape look and feel. Take the anxiety out of planting, potting, and pruning and enjoy your lush lawn, beautiful landscape, and bountiful garden.
I recognize that this one is completely ridiculous, but I had to share. I happen to love garden gnomes, but apparently they are out to get us. Stay vigilant!
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will) by Chuck Sambuchino
There’s a new threat in town—and it’s only twelve inches tall. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack is the only comprehensive survival guide that will help you prevent, prepare for, and ward off an imminent home invasion by the common garden gnome. Once thought of as harmless yard decorations, evidence is mounting that these smiling lawn statues are poised and ready to wreck havoc. The danger is real. And it’s here.
An oldie but a goodie—originally from 1929!
The Gardener's Bed-Book: Short and Long Pieces to Be Read in Bed by Those Who Love Green Growing Things by Richardson Wright
First published in 1929, this book is a much beloved gardening classic by the renowned editor of House & Garden magazine in the 1920s and ’30s. Each of its 365 perfectly sized little essays is meant to be read in bed at night after a long day’s work, either real or imagined, in the garden. A charming and mischievously funny companion to curl up with, Wright ranges comfortably—and lyrically—from giving gardening advice to meditating on such topics as antique collecting and travel, great literature and architecture. Written in language that is as timeless as it is seductive, The Gardener’s Bed-Book will appeal to gardening experts and armchair enthusiasts alike.