Photos ~ Ben’s Garden 2011

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The Garden

I’m a city-boy, very new to gardening, even though my parents and grandparents loved to garden, and my grandparents going back for generations were farmers. My grandmother loved to garden, both flowers and vegetables, and always kept her yard beautifully.

Flowers and Decorative Plants

Roses from the previous homeowner. “Granada” Roses from my mom. Aloe vera formerly from my grandmother and divided from the mother plant, the largest one you see. Christmas cactus store-bought or from a friend. Rieger Begonia. Kalanchoe. Hydrangeas, now lavender. Wandering Jew (purple hanging basket) from my grandmother. Diefenbachia, the variegated broad-leaf plant, but be careful not to let your pets nibble on it, as it’s poisonous to them.

In the front yard are White Azaleas from the previous homeowner and (if they survive the year) Judge Solomon Azaleas purchased early this spring, before the drought.

Vegetables and Fruits

This spring, I felt confident enough to try growing some vegetables. Well, that, and a need to save on the grocery bill, I like to cook, and my grandmother always was big on fresh food. I was even brave enough to start from seed, but I planted too late. I figure any success I get is worth the experience. I’m experimenting, which is freeing me from worrying over it.

I planted tomatoes and have given away two nice plants and repotted the others as they’ve grown. They’re now ready to stake or put in wire/mesh. I’m very happy with two of them. The other two are struggling. One of those is a baby that just volunteered separately. I’ve forgotten the variety, but they are a popular one.

I planted green onions (scallions) and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t seem to be growing, thickening their stems…until I discovered Goober (one of my cats) nibbling on the stems. Mmmm, tasty! I’ll attempt more next year.

There is one vegetable I planted but can’t recall. It may be the radishes; I don’t think it’s the bell peppers. One or the other of those did’t make it, either over- or under-watering, plus the drought and spring/summer heat. I’ve been babying all the new plants, but again, I lack experience.

How Now, Brown Thumb, Green Cow?

I’m really enjoying this new gardening hobby. It’s meditative. It gets me out in nature, as much as one can be in the middle of a major city. It’s satisfying to see the slow progress and dig in the dirt. There’s something very basic and primal, instinctive, to it. As a kid, teen, and young adult, I was never really interested in gardening. But time (and tight budget) have changed that. I like gardening, I’ve found.

A good gardener friend says I will be lucky if I get any tomatoes, because I planted too late. I’ll keep them over the winter and we’ll try again, either way. If I do get tomatoes, it’ll be a bonus.

What else do I want to grow next year? Basil. Onions. Bell Peppers. Garlic. Carrots, maybe. Green Onions. Radishes. Hey, I like Tex-Mex and all sorts of other cooking styles.

I also plan to ask my uncle and aunt for a cedar sapling. I want to get another Granada Rose.

Notice you aren’t seeing my front yard or side yard or flower beds. That’s because the drought has all but killed the grass. The flower beds are naturalized and hardy, but not very pretty right now. Once the drought ends, I’ll have to make a concerted effort to rescue the yard. But by then, maybe I’ll actually know what I’m doing!