Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I have always liked the idea of gardening with native plants, so when we attended the native plant sale at the nature center this spring it reminded me of all my grand plans. And something inside me clicked. I got a couple plants at the sale and then promptly went home and engineered a (nearly) complete garden plan for the large spot of bare dirt and weeds outside our living room window. Making that garden plan awakened an obsession with gardening that has been hiding away inside of me all these years.

Granted, I am still happy to let Clay plan out most of the vegetable gardening, but I have found a growing appreciation for organizing flower beds and the therapeutic work of playing in dirt. Someday this may include filling our entire huge vegetable garden area and canning (or at least freezing) and making jams, etc. At least, that's the hopeful plan - or else maybe one of our kids will take over that area of our country living.

Perhaps some of this new found interest is just what happens when I come up with a new project and throw myself into it headfirst. Once I get a grand idea I feel compelled to carry it out at once. Everything else fades into the background while I try to finish the whole project as quickly as possible and with as much talent and expertise as my limited experience can give me. I have heard that I may get this trait from my father, which is possible. Clay has a bit of it too... hence all of the constant house and landscaping projects. Our budget keeps us in check and teaches us patience and self discipline. But I digress...

And it can't all be due to that factor because, for instance, I felt that inner driving urge when I reupholstered our furniture but I can't say that I actually loved all that ripping, cutting, stapling and sewing. It was all about the finished product. Yesterday, for one of the first times, I really enjoyed working in my garden, and wasn't sitting there weeding and wishing I was doing something else. Of course I was only able to focus on it for an extended period of time because the kids were at Grandma's, and I made sure I played with Chico first. But the weather was beautiful (a wonderful change from all this cloudy & rainy weather we've been having...I thought I moved out of Portland?), the birds were fluttering around, the weeds were practically flying out of the wet dirt, and my hands were entirely brown and dirty. It was glorious. I still have dirt under my fingernails. I guess I should have worn gloves.

It made me look forward to the day when the kids can home-school themselves, and help me with meals, and I can spend all day playing with horses and working in the garden. Because that will be soon, right? Well, I at least can't wait until they can do those activities with me. I think horse training and gardening can be incorporated into our kid's educational schedule.

So without further ado, here it is... the up and coming beautiful native flower garden.

Geared towards attracting birds and butterflies. My backyard garden and the fence lines are for all of the showier, engineered flowers and bushes. This spot is designated for native Missourians.

Don't pay any attention to the irises growing in the background - those will be moved to along the fence line. And the non-native quince in the corner. This entire patch of ground was brambles, poison ivy, and quince when we moved in. I let the quince retain a small corner, at least for now, for old time's sake. The poison ivy & brambles didn't get that chance.

For now I am using small wire stakes with masking tape & marker labels so I can keep track of the plants. I'm not sure how well these will hold up, but we'll see. Anyone else have any brilliant, cheap plant tag methods?


  1. Hi Elissa!
    I love that pic of Margaret and your dog. That one's a keeper!

  2. This post makes me want to be out in the garden with grubby knees & dirt under my fingernails! When I lived in Ottawa I was fortunate to be the only one in my townhouse with an interest in the small garden plot out front, so I planted a few plants to bring colour to the place. In our current place, I'm still waiting to see if our landlady will get out in her gardens this summer, otherwise I may sneak outside to do some weeding on sunny days! I can't wait to have our own place one day where I can indulge in designing flowerbeds and visiting all the garden centres around! I really enjoyed learning of your interest in native flowers; there's something almost mystical about that...