The garden is starting to take shape. I have planted the flowers boxes out front, although they will not fill in for awhile yet. The planters on the deck are planted with hibiscus and cannas. The pots are starting to fill with home-grown begonias; saliva, more cannas, coleus, and an assortment of planters contain seeds waiting to sprout. Seed packets of more flowers and vegetables are on the kitchen counter, waiting for tomorrow. After a quick trip to the store for some soil amendments and a little work to finish prep, the veggie garden will be on its way. The bunnies know; I have already spotted one laying in wait at the edge of the vegetable plot.
This year I am taking more photos as I go along, a visual journal to supplement the written one I keep of successes and failures.
Gardening is in my blood. My mom and dad always had a huge garden. I spent many spring and summers following daddy as he tilled the soil and prepared it for planting. Following behind that small tractor I learned the smell of freshly turned earth. In my mind there is no sweeter smell. I learned what was and wasn't a weed while helping thin the rows. In that hot South Carolina sun, I learned about the cycles of the earth, early and late planting, the joys of a good harvest, and the needfulness of winter so the earth, plants, and humans could rest.
Mama had a pantry and freezer that she filled to capacity with frozen and canned fruits and vegetables from that garden. She made jams and jellies from berries I helped her pick. Wild strawberries grew in the lower pasture, blackberries and dewberries along the fence rows and edges of the woods.
Mama and daddy's garden was bigger than the lot our cottage sits on. It was in full sun and was blessed with rich soil. My garden encompasses the entire lot around the cottage. I don't call it a 'yard' anymore. It is just the garden. Here in the North Carolina Mountains, we are tucked into a north facing hillside and surrounded by very old, very large trees. The garden is a series of small beds, conforming with the terrain as much as possible to reduce erosion and optimizing the sunlight that does get through.
Below the garden, the joining property is wooded and is a flood plain. There lies the bottom of the garden and the domain of the fairies. There also is the slowly growing area where beloved pets and familiars lie at rest. There, on the north-east corner, below the Fairy Tree.
Tomorrow morning, while the mountain air is still crisp, I will walk the garden as I do every morning. But tomorrow I will be making the final, or nearly final, decisions on where things will go this year. And after that quick trip to the big box store, I will dig and smell that sweet smell of freshly turned earth and remember daddy and the things he taught me. And I will plant hope, for that is, when it comes down to it, what you do when you plant a seed.