Garden seed catalogs have already started arriving in the mail box. During the long and darker days of winter there is joy when the catalogs start arriving and you know it is time to start thinking about the upcoming garden year plans. I didn't garden last year so these are the photos from the previous year. We were gone a lot last summer and that just doesn't mix well with a garden that needs tended to and vegetables that need to be canned.
When I began planning an area for my garden I knew that I wanted to create a space that was inviting and wonderful to work in. My husband had access to the 4x4 posts and so I dug each hole to place the post in. The slates were created from the same kind of 4x4 post but I used a table saw to cut them into slates and then screwed them to the post.
My garden gate was created from an old door that I cut in half and then used hinges to attach to one of the fence posts. I am not sure what the arbor pieces used to be but I picked them up from a yard sale as three individual heavy metal pieces for $10.00. I then had my husband weld them together to create the arbor. I left the top arbor piece hanging over the edge so that I could hang bird feeders to watch the birds from the kitchen window as I done the dishes each day. Climbing roses were also planted at the edge of the arbor so that they would grow up and around it.
All of the seeds that I purchase for our vegetables and flowers are heirloom seeds that come from a company called Rare Seeds. I am in no way endorsed by them but I love to share companies that are doing something good for our food sources. They have the most beautiful catalog that I have ever seen and if you are anywhere near Mansfield, MO they are a place that you must stop. I would highly encourage you to drop over to their website and just view the amazing varieties they have for vegetables and flowers. I always have such a difficult time choosing which seeds I want to purchase and I have loved them all so far. I firmly believe in saving our seeds and they are a company that is working extremely hard to do that.
Having a somewhat small garden space means that I had to be creative in the layout and what seeds I planted to gain the most produce from the garden. To encourage a longer lettuce season we planted sunflowers to provide shade for the lettuce and in the fall the sunflowers fed the birds. I never realized that there was such a vast variety of sunflowers until I got my first seed catalog from Rare Seeds. Below is a photo of some of the different kinds of sunflowers that I have grown.
Planting a variety of flowers in and around the garden provides not only a beautiful space that I actually desire to work in but it helps with those pests as well. Certain plants will deter bugs while others will help bring in the ones that you want such as your pollinators. Choosing to grow flowers in the garden also means fresh flowers to enjoy inside the home.
I didn't realize how rewarding having a garden could be. Hot summer days were often started early in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand as I strolled through the rows looking at the current growth of plants. Spending time outside watering the plants, listening to the children play nearby and hearing the birds sing brought peace to my day. Having a garden filled with blooming flowers and vegetables created a space that was desirable to be in when the not so fun chore of pulling weeds needed to be done.
What are some ways that you can add beauty to your garden?
- Look for corners to tuck old items like smaller step ladders and bird houses. Step ladders are great for putting terracotta pots on that can be planted with herbs. They are also pretty with little concrete animals sitting on the ladder steps.
- Add in flowers along the edges of the garden or even expand the front part of your garden area to create a place to plant some beautiful flowers. This provides fresh cut flowers for your home and flowers have a way of creating a sense of calm.
- Add a bird bath. This not only provides a place for the birds to take a bath but it helps give the pollinators a place to drink. Place a rock in the water bath that will be a little higher than the water level. Butterflies and bees love to have a place to land near water.
- Be creative with cast out broken shovels and items like old mailboxes. I took a metal mailbox and deemed it the spot of those items like old broken shovels and garden tools. It creates a bit of whimsy in your space.
I enjoy living in an area where I get to experience the four different seasons and I never try to rush time. Instead I try to treasure what each season offers but I do enjoy the planning process for the season that is to come.