Winter Garden


I have always wanted a garden. When I was growing up, my grandfather had an orchard and a vegetable garden where he grew the best tomatoes I've ever had. My father's nearly always had a garden, from hillsides he covered with bulbs and wildflowers in the mountains where I grew up, to the vegetable and herb garden he had just last year. My gardening experience has consisted primarily of succulents, flowers, and herbs grown on the windowsill- but I've always wanted a proper garden. Right now, the husband and I are trying to save up for a house so maybe, if we're lucky, we'll be able to have a real garden in a little while.

 But for now, we've decided to try and do something that I for one, am not very good about: making the most of what we have right now. I tend to be one of those people who can dream to the moon and back, but who waits until circumstances are perfect to start bringing those dreams to life- which, as we all know, isn't the wisest course of action if one actually wants to get things done. Thus, I have been trying lately to work with the raw materials that already exist in my life to bring to life some of the various daydreams that have been floating around in my head for quite some time now- hence the birth of these monthly to dos, inspiration and encouragement to start living here and now, rather than in some indistinct future.

The reality of my life is that I do not have acres of fertile land waiting to be tilled- I do however, have a fairly sizeable balcony on which I am able to grow some things in containers, and frankly, that's better than nothing, right? That's what I thought, too, and thanks to the fabulous book Sugar Snaps and Strawberries by Andrea Bellamy a fire was kindled in my little heart and a monthly to do was born to create a small winter garden working the things I do have. 

our lettuces- they're still kind of a mystery to me, especially those nameless little guys on the bottom right, but the mesculin mix has been doing pretty well.

Last week then, armed with said Sugar Snaps and Strawberries, the husband and I headed off to the nursery in search of plants and a little wisdom- we found both- and a small fortune later, the winter garden was born. Acutally, the plants were really reasonable, the small fortune was spent on fertilizer/food, soil, and containers- that was the expensive part! But very much worth it, I think.

mustard greens

Since the birth of our little garden, I have been out there pretty much every day, checking for pests, watering when needed, and generally putzing about in it. In fact, I'm pretty enamored of it, sitting at the dining table and staring out at it just about every chance I get. I fret over it and caress my plants lovingly, which is a little creepy, I suppose, but I can't help it because I'm just so fascinated by them, by how they change and grow, and by how beautiful they are.

redbor kale

We chose as many of our favorite edibles as we could, including lots of leafy greens- kale, chard, mustard greens, and even the cabbage, which I technically don't have the space for, but figured I'd give a go anyway.

bright lights chard

climbing spinach

golden acre cabbage

My husband ended up falling in love with the a columnar basil which we got a deal on because the nursery wasn't sure if he'd make it or not- but with all of the love and attention my husband has been giving it, it really looks like it might! It just keeps getting taller and taller and quite a bit of pruning is leading him to get fuller, too, which makes it really lovely to look at. The bottom part is still filling in since that's where a lot of his damaged leaves were, but he's still pretty impressive!

the beloved columnar basil


And last but not least, we added a couple of other herbs: another one of my husband's favorites- sage, and a garlic chive which is delicious and helps to repel some of the pests (such wisdom is gleaned from Ms. Bellamy's awesome book!) that would otherwise try to prey on all of my yummy leafy greens. Eventually, I'd still like to add some rosemary, an onion chive, and some mint to the garden, but this is a good beginning, I think.

sage and garlic chive


So while this isn't necessarily the dream garden I've had in mind all of these years, it is my garden, the one I have now, and I love it for that- because this is the thing that I have been learning this year, that it's not about having the perfect anything, it's about learning to let everything be perfect, as it is, and simply beginning.

work with what you've got

1 comment:

Amber Lee said...

Love it! We have but a windowsill with sunlight... Luckily it's enough for a few houseplants :) I love your little winter garden, and I'm so excited for you to have it!