Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Garden At Work

This is the season when growth in the garden accelerates. At our old house on Belmont, I had a sizeable vegetable garden for a few years. I finally gave it up, figuring it wasn't really cost effective. Moneywise, I'd do better just to shop for fresh produce at the weekly farmers market. When we moved to our current home, I resorted to flower gardening instead of vegetables. This type of gardening is creative work, a chance to express. In 1990, I became a "Master Gardener." This is a 12-week, 60 hour volunteer WSU Extention Program where university instructors teach and provide science-based information concerning horticulture and gardening practices. There's a fee for the supplies. Every Wednesday from 9:00-4:00, I would attend classes. During sessions, there are lectures on various topics given by experts, as well as hands-on demonstrations. There are also many organized activities including field trips (nurseries, gardens, farms, greenhouses...). Once you've completed the program, you agree to volunteer a certain amount of hours per year. One year I served my time at the SW Washington Fair at the Master Gardener's booth answering people's questions. Another year I donated my time at Jefferson Lincoln Elementary School, sprucing up a plot of land that had been neglected. This lasted a couple of years, then I gradually pulled away. Most of what I learned, I'm afraid I've forgotten. A few things stuck with me and I have the resource materials for reference. Now mind you, I'm not the lady gardener who knows every flower name, including the Latin. Nor am I one who keeps a detailed garden journal and uses graph paper to plot out elaborate landscape plans. No, digging in dirt, watering plants, pulling weeds, pruning, and deadheading give my mind a chance to relax and not worry about anything. Then later on, I get to reap the rewards of abundant growth. During the summer, I go outside and cut flowers to display inside the house. I get intoxicated by flowers, both by their scent and beauty. You might not have a garden space, but you can plant in pots and make a window box, patio, deck, or balcony absolutely breathtaking. I've planted tomatoes and strawberries this way. You might wonder why gardening is suddenly on my mind so much. Well, yesterday my husband and I took a "day trip" to the annual Tulip Festival in Skagit County. Wow, the colors were gorgeous! We had a great time. We took lots of photos. Soon, I'll post them for you to see. As they say, you've got to stop and smell the roses. Another saying, "Bloom where you are planted."

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