The small house where I’ve lived for 22 years has a compact yard, front and back, in which I’ve created a garden that I love. I have very little lawn, but lots of perennials.
I’ve been thinking recently that I might write a blog about my garden and then I found a book at the Saskatoon Public Library (love libraries) called, The Writer’s Garden (How gardens inspired our best-loved authors).
The book has wonderful photographs of the English gardens of such writers as Rudyard Kipling, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Beatrix Potter, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and others. Most of these writers were personally involved in designing and/or working at least parts of their gardens. Many of them fell in love with the houses they bought, some lived there as children. Many of the writers had special huts or rooms in or looking out over their gardens where they did their writing. Most of the locations are now taken care of by foundations or trusts and available for public tours.
My own garden provides pleasure for much of the year. In early spring I wait for the first shoots and blooms.
Various birds show up at different times, though I no longer put out as much bird seed as I used to because, particularly in the fall and spring, it seems to encourage mice that want to make their homes in my house!
My Siberian irises have finished blooming now, and it’s the turn of peonies – pink, white, red. I love to cut and bring a few of these into the house for their flamboyance and subtle scent. My roses are blooming as well, hardy bush roses developed in Canada. I generally avoid the more delicate tea roses, which have to be pampered to survive.
Every garden should have a few places to relax, and I have those, too – a place to read and write, to have a cup of tea or even a meal, and share with friends.
Each year I make some changes – add a few new plants (I mostly prefer hardy perennials, but I always pot a few annuals), thin and move other perennials.
There’s a lot of work to a garden, but I love it. Some people plan very carefully, designing beds and colours and determining when things bloom, mixing textures. I have done a little of that sort of thing, but mostly I try things and see how they work. The next year I may change it. Basically, though, my garden has retained its current form for some time.
I do take some time every spring to look through my books about prarie gardens - perennials and annuals - to choose what seeds I may try this year or what new plants I may buy. Then it's off to the various garden centres in the area to see what may inspire me there.
I also like to have food from my garden, so there are the berry bushes as well as a small vegetable area, which mostly has greens for salads, tomatoes, carrots, and herbs. I`ve even tried corn, potatoes, and egg plant. Though the latter required starting the plants indoors in January and then I only got one tiny egg plant to eat.
Still it’s wonderful to go out in the morning and pick a few strawberries or raspberries to put in my cereal (that will come later this summer).
And there are the cacti that I keep indoors all winter and put on the deck when danger of frost is past. A couple of these my mother gave to me and they are more than 30 years old. If it gets hot enough the fish hook cactus will bloom spectacularly.
Today is a rainy day, so I am mostly enjoying my garden from indoors, but that’s OK, too. So much to look at, so much to wait and look forward to.
There are asters blooming, and moonflower vines have come up. A few sweet peas are survived the attacks of birds and I hope they`ll bloom eventually.
Later on there will be lilies of all kinds.
Working in my yard and garden is a wonderful way to think about writing, be inspired, and just relax.