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Quote of the Day: Bunny Williams

February 14th, 2016

“All gardens need time, and part of the great pleasure of gardening, it seems to me, is watching them mature. I’ve waited five years for my Hydrangea petiolaris to decide whether or not to climb. This year it has, with reckless abandon. And because I had to wait for it, the reward has been especially sweet.”

Bunny Williams in Bunny Williams On Garden Style

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I’ve been thinking about this quote as I start tiny cherry trees from seed, take starts of plants in other garden, and start perennials from seed. Sure, I could have an instant garden if I purchase large trees, shrubs, and perennials at a greenhouse (and I do purchase a few here and there), but there’s so much satisfaction in the process of gardening. Nurturing tiny trees, knowing your climbing hydrangea is the offspring of a plant that is growing in a friend’s garden. Sometimes I have to remind myself that gardening is a process. When I dream about what my garden will be, I have to remember that it’s the journey of getting there that is gardening, not the end product. Anyone can make a garden, not everyone is a gardener.

What’s your favorite part of being a gardener?


April 2nd, 2014

Today for our 5×5 Challenge Garden feature, I figured patience was a timely topic as I wait for my garden to thaw. Patience is a valuable thing to learn if you want to be a good gardener. It makes gardening much more enjoyable and increases your likelihood of success.
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It seems like more often than not, as gardener, we’re waiting for something in the garden. In the spring we wait for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw so we can plant hardy things. We also have to wait until after last frost to plant for our tender plants. If we jump the gun too much we can end up losing them to a last frost or freeze.
We wait for seeds to germinate, we wait to plants to be big enough to transplant then we wait for flowers to form. We wait to for things to ripen so we can harvest them. The good thing about gardening is that you’re not just sitting around twiddling your thumbs while you’re doing all this waiting, there are plenty of things that can be done, mostly weeding.
Learning to be patience in spring is key, don’t plant things too early. You might get lucky some year, but you’ll be sorely disappointed in others.

Do you have trouble waiting for things in the garden?

Quote of the Day: David Culp

January 27th, 2013

“I need to add that patience is truly a virtue, because time is one of a gardener’s greatest allies. With the passage of time, plants grow and our instincts and abilities as gardeners mature and improve. Nothing happens in an instant in the garden; beautiful moments always unfold on their own schedule, in their own sweet time. We may savor the sweetness and remember it for the rest of our lives. But for anyone who loves gardens, it also helps to love being a gardener, since it is only the continuum of the day-to-day work that makes those moments possible”

David Culp in The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage
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Lately, Mr Chiots and I have been talking a lot about patience when it comes to gardening. It’s especially important when you have a new and exciting space and lots of ideas. We know we want to put in a small orchard here, with pears, apples, plums and maybe a few other types of fruit. Eventually, there will be long hedgerows filled with native and beneficial species. There will be a pond for the ducks and a greenhouse for the winter.
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Mr Chiots and I are, by nature, jump in with both feet kind of people. Hard work doesn’t scare us and neither does failure. While that is often a very good trait, it needs to be tempered with patience in some situations, this is one of those cases. Through much deliberation, we decided to wait at least a year to embark on any major garden plantings and changes.
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We’ll spend this next year watching the gardens unfold, noting varieties of plants, the movement of the sun, the flow of the water. Care will be taken in improving and remineralizing the soil in the areas we think the orchard might fit. Being patient will benefit us in the long run, our trees will grow faster and stronger if we take time to choose the perfect spot, the right varieties and work diligently at improving the soil.

Have you learned patience through gardening?

Friday Favorites: Finding Secondhand Items

February 17th, 2012

After many requests to start them back up again,
Friday Favorites are back!

This past Sunday I showed you what our closet looked like after we installed a new organization system. In that post, I mentioned that I despise plastic items; Daisy commented that I needed wooden hangers so I could do away with the plastic ones. The funny thing is, I’ve been looking at them on-line but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money to replace the ones I had which were still OK (though they’re starting to break in increasing numbers). When it comes to purchasing items, I prefer to find them used because they’re cheaper and usually things made even 10 years ago are higher quality than those made today.

Luckily, I received an email from my local outdoor outfitter store that they were having a sale on wooden hangers. 50 cents each, 5 for $2.25 or 50 for $20. WHAT A GREAT DEAL.

The only thing is, they’re branded, which is quite funny if you know me and know how much I dislike branding. We grabbed a box full and spent some time removing all the old plastic hangers from my closet yesterday. Thankfully, I don’t have many clothes so for $25 I got 60 hangers and I have plenty for all our hanging clothes, coats and other items. I even have 23 empty ones for future expansion (though we try to get rid of items when we buy new so we probably won’t need these).

Another reason I like to buy secondhand is because it’s kind of like a game. It’s no fun to simply run out and buy what you want whenever you want it. I have a list in the back of my mind of things I’d like to have if ever find them for a good price. Mr Chiots and I like to stop at little antique & second hand stores while we’re traveling and we’ve found some wonderful things this way. It’s even better when you can find an item you’ve been searching for in a small store while driving through Virginia on our way to Monticello. Stumbling across something you’ve been wanting to buy for a couple years in a random little shop is such a joy!

Do you like to buy used items? Found any great used items recently that you’ve been patiently waiting for?

One Step at a Time

April 25th, 2011

Now that I have an extra quarter acre of land to work this I’m excited about the possibilities. I’ve been planning my new garden in my mind for years, just waiting to have a space with enough sunlight. There are a few things about this new garden space that aren’t perfect. It’s not a level lot and it slopes westward, not a southern slope as gardeners usually want. It’s also covered in saplings, trees and lots of brambles of blackberry, multiflora rose and wild black raspberries. There is also some damage from the first owner, the main one being a driveway area that was cleared and bulldozed so he could drive in to collect wood.

We had a professional tree remover come to take down a few HUGE trees that we didn’t want to deal with. We did cut down a few smaller multi-stem poplars and a few other trees ourselves. We’ve been working on clearing out all the saplings, pulling them with a tool we purchased called the Weed Wrench. I have to admit, it’s a fabulous tool for the job and we’re happy we made the investment in it! We also borrowed a vintage come-along from a friend’s dad. Our friend Shaun came over a few days and lent his muscles to help clear out some of the bigger saplings.

All of this is a lot of work, especially since we’re doing most of it ourselves and by hand. We’ve been spending a few hours each evening clearing out the lot, sawing, digging, raking and carrying all the debris to the compost piles in the back.

Now that a section is cleared I’ve been working on the amending the soil, clearing away all the weeds, brush and picking out all the rocks. I have been able to clear a small area and build a small 4 x 10 ft bed for onions. I used some logs to surround it to help with erosion. I’m currently working on another bed that will be roughly 4 x 15 for potatoes. I’ll keep working my way back towards the house on the top half of the lot. At least I’m able to grow a few crops this year.
I have to keep telling myself that gardening is about the process not the final product. One step at a time will lead me to a beautiful potager in a few years, I just have to be patient and enjoy the journey!

What stage would you say your garden is in: infancy, teenager, middle age, or mature?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.