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My Love of Gardening

I have always thought that real gardening was a lot different from the romanticized version in books where ladies strolled their garden with lovely dresses, white gloves and just the right straw basket. And while we may have an opportunity to play the lady, in reality gardening is hard work.

I somehow return to the house after working in my yard with dirt in my hair which is not deemed to be ladylike. And gardening is somewhat like house work in that, if we are organized, we can plan and rotate the tasks so that it is not so overwhelming (but that assumes we are all that organized — and I am working to do just that).

I originally planted my perennial garden in 2000. Not having any experience, I had someone plan the garden and assist me in planting it.

And I thought, well, that would be the hard part. But as we all know, that was just the beginning.

I probably now have only about 50% of my original plants, as I began to see what was to my liking and what was high or low maintenance. One positive thing I did was to photograph the garden frequently to enjoy the progress and then realized that it was also a great tool. Now there are four books of photos which I enjoy and which, over time, have served to be a reminder of what the garden looked like in different seasons. It has also been a great tool to review these photos prior to any shopping or planning for next year's season - reminders of color, texture, height and what I may or may NOT need to plant.

The sharing experience of gardening has been another feature which brings a lot of satisfaction. I have been working with Julie Thostenson (dba Julie, The Gardner) since 2001 when Hurricane Isabelle brought down over 200 pine trees along our driveway. So, although I had not planned a woodland garden, I was faced with a lot of open spaces where once there had been a lovely stand of trees. Since that time, we have worked together in adding a variety of plants. Not only has her expertise made a huge difference in the area but we have enjoyed researching and creating this area together. Julie often takes things from my garden to others and brings me things that they have. It has really given me pleasure to see items and recognize that they had originated in another garden - somehow, it just makes them special.

Rappahannock Garden Club has provided an extensive opportunity for sharing plants and ideas. Seeing the horticulture and designs at meetings is not only a learning experience but an inspiration. The sharing is also why I accepted the opportunity to be on the ―Just Gardens tour in 2010. This was a joy, having almost 900 people come through and appreciate what nature has provided us and, of course, benefitting The Haven.

Of the six ―Just Garden venues scheduled in 2016, three of them are the gardens of Rappahannock Garden Club members - Bonnie Schaschek, Susan Edmonds and Deborah Brooks. I hope that everyone will take the time May 20 and 21, 2016, to support our fellow members, as well as The Haven.

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