I have always found gardens beautiful and restorative places to visit, but I didn’t know how much I would love gardening until I owned a little piece of land with no garden at all. Mr Martini and I bought our house together just eighteen days after our wedding in very late fall and began to work in the garden the following spring – the large empty space called out desperately for plants.
My mother has always been a gardener but I never had cause to pick up a shovel until I had a garden of my own. When faced with so much space and no garden at all, I threw myself into the challenge of learning something new.
Being a book person, I started at the library. My love of words made the discovery of Latin plant words thrilling. I repeated their names like little poems to myself as I wandered the aisles at garden centres from one end of my city to the other. I still say them like chanted prayers as I dig them into the dirt and wish them well as they grow. (If it wasn’t for Mr. Martini, my first born may very well have been named Strelitzia, but that’s a story for another day.)
I learned a lot from my mother and father-in-law. They are both gifted plant people. My mother-in-law has been known to transport seeds thousands of kilometres in a sock for safe keeping; my father-in-law is a master grafter, once growing five kinds of apples on just one tree. They found my ignorance about the plant world they know so well to be a little bit amusing, but my curiosity and enthusiasm have almost won them over, and they have been generous with both advice and with plants over the years, so that my little garden has flourished into a wild and overgrown refuge for people an animals too – just the way I like it.
Do not think this means I am good at gardening. Just gleeful about it. The best part is the sheer joy that digging, planting, weeding and pruning can bring. I have found myself filthy, scratched, sweating and exhausted but grinning from ear to ear! The satisfied happy feeling of making/tending a garden is a gift in my life, and I am happy to share it with my own children. Playing in the dirt is now enjoyed by three generations of our family, and we are all the better for it!
A trip to the green house is a whole day affair. So many plants, so hard to choose! This is what we came home with today:
Early girl tomatoes, hot peppers, snap dragons, basil, strawberries, cosmos and heliotrope (because nothing smells better on a summer evening patio…). Pumpkins and zinnias were not ready – maybe next week. Now it’s time to excavate the shovels from their winter storage and dig in…
My children love to “help” in the garden. Making something grow is incredibly satisfying!
The words of the garden are a natural choice for poetic use… Thinking about poetry month – the Latin variety lends itself easily to an alphabet poem. Children love this style of poetry because the structure is concrete and simple to follow; the lines themselves can be as simple or complex as the writer would like.
Aquilegia, Buddleia, Cosmos, Dicentra, Echinops, Fritillaria, Geranium, Helianthemum, Impatiens, Jovibarba, Knautia, Lonicera, Muscari, Narcissus, Oenothera, Papaver, Quince, Ranunculus, Salvia, Trifolium, Utricularia, Veronica, Weigela, Xanthium, Yucca, Zinnia…
I hope your week is full of life and growth and inspiration. If nothing else works, get your hands dirty!