Hidden among the concrete and bricks of the city where I was brought up were neighborhoods filled with surprises on every corner. Every street had its own identity, a mixture of single family homes and multi family buildings as well. Space was and still remains a valued commodity, tucked away in many yards were gardens filled with beautiful flowers, often times roses that climbed high up the sides of the houses. Sweet smelling surprises, late season mums, flowering trees all poking out of chain link fences delighting this child. Even the public housing complex where I called home had a lovely lilac bush that bloomed in May with the most fragrant purple blossoms I have ever smelled.
As a child, I took delight asking a home owner to clip a rose here and there, snagging a few lilacs, picking a buttercup and holding it under my chin. I loved flowers, I loved looking at them , trying to draw them, smelling them but beyond that I never paid much attention to them. Flowers magically appeared in the spring, some like roses stayed all summer and as fall and winter came they went away. As a teen ager the only attention I paid to the flowers were if I had an attentive boyfriend who bought me a bouquet of carnations from a street vendor.
I grew up and moved into my home in the suburbs with my husband and there was a yard full of flowers awaiting me, only thing was the following year they did not magically appear back in the yard. I had no idea what to do to make them come back. The yard fell quickly into that state where the neighbors send disapproving glances your way and as time went on they eventually started to say things about the horrible condition of my yard.
I will be honest I had no clue what I was doing, the closest thing to gardening I had ever done was to pick dandelion out of the crack of the sidewalk but I knew I was ready to have a yard full of flowers. So I started reading magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, began to watch Martha Stewart and invested in good tools because due to all of my neglect in my yard there was a pretty serious weed problem. Actually worse than the weeds was the English Ivy…I hate the crap, you can not kill it ( a lesson learned the hard way)
I was a good student, I learned how to give my soil nutrients to bring it back to life . I was a mad scientist adding compost, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and cow manure to turn soil that was light brown and lifeless into gorgeous black fertile soil suitable to grow plants and vegetables alike. I pulled weeds, dug up roots, painfully made decisions to have cedar trees whose needle cause an acidity problem in the soil and killed my grass removed. Things were not pretty at first, however I discovered this was something I love to do. In my garden I found life and I found peace. Unruly forsythia bushes along a fence were removed to make way for hydrangea plants that have grown over the years to form a hedge. Roses that people find baffling seem to enjoy the soil and compost I give them and give off endless buds all summer. Different plants are grouped to bloom all spring and summer long filling my house with flowers.
My garden is the place where I go to work hard and to think hard. I write blog posts in my head as I yank weeds out of the soil or plant annuals amongst the perennials. I have my moments of zen amongst my flowers and vegetables. Nothing smells as sweet as fresh cut flowers, tomatoes right form the garden taste sun kissed. My garden is where this city child discovered her passion and her soul, there is something magical about all of this. I hope to share this and if you are really interested I have garden delights board on Pinterest