This is my first blog for Josie’s Garden; and I am very excited! I am not a gardening expert by any means. Although I’ve been gardening on and off since I was a kid, I still consider myself somewhat of a novice gardener, especially since I moved to Florida from Vermont 12 years ago. Gardening in Vermont vs. Florida is very different, so in some ways I feel as though I had to start over again when I moved here. I am learning all the time, sometimes by taking a class, asking those who are experts, or researching on the internet, but honestly, mostly by trial and error. I make a lot of boo boos, but that’s fine; I learn as I go. I’m not perfect, and neither is my garden. As I sit thinking about my garden, I acknowledge some things about it. It’s nothing fancy. It’s not large. It’s not even continuous; it’s scattered in various convenient spots throughout our yard. But it’s my sweet, little garden. I grew up surrounded by my mother’s side of the family. My grandparents were both from Italy, and as you can probably guess, had a big family that gathered and celebrated often. And every gathering centered around the FOOD! Lots and lots of FOOD! The thing is, a lot of that food came from the garden in the back yard. Up until her late 80’s, my grandmother always had a sizable garden. She grew all her own vegetables and herbs. She lived in Vermont, so the growing season was short. Every Memorial Day weekend she planted seeds and starter plants. Rows and rows and rows of them. It wasn’t a hobby; it was a way of life. All summer long we ate fresh salads, tomato sandwiches, fresh corn on the cob, homemade pasta with tomato sauce made from garden tomatoes and parsley and basil, and it goes on! We all helped when we could, from spring right on through the last fall harvest. Very little went to waste. She had 3 large freezers, so everything was cleaned, blanched, bagged, and frozen, to be eaten all thru the winter. This was where food came from. Sure, there were trips to the grocery for miscellaneous items, dairy, and meat, and to the farm to get fresh eggs. But a good chunk of the food needed to sustain her family came from her land. I think that is so awesome!
Oh, and I have a passion or two…
I love the idea and practice of self-sustainability. And I appreciate the idea in all aspects of life: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Whether it’s a child learning to tie his or her own shoes, activities and practices for self-care, finding courage to stand up to something that doesn’t feel right, or growing amazing, fresh, nutritious, delicious food right in the backyard! There is nothing like feeling that sense of independence and self-support. Of course, we live in a world with others where we love, care for, and support each other; and that is a beautiful thing. But I’m talking about being strong and functional and unshakeable from within ourselves…. and then entering our communities, ahhhh, yes, the cup runneth over!
I also LOVE fresh garden vegetables and herbs, especially ones I have grown and tended to myself. I love everything about them! The rainbow of vibrant colors! Ooh, the aromas! And the TASTE, so fresh and loaded with flavor! The CRUNCH! There is just NOTHING like the deliciousness of fresh picked vegetables and herbs, yum! Oh, and then there is that other thing about nutritional benefits too!
And what about flowers? Yes, I have been a flower lover since my earliest memories. Growing up in Vermont and New Hampshire gave us a short season for blooms. Spring and summer months were spectacular for annuals and perennials. One of my grandmothers had the gift for landscaping with annuals, perennials and shrubs. In April, her crocuses peeked out first, then daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips followed. May brought lilacs in whites, lavenders, and purples. June was all about the stunning peonies, one of my favorites. The violets, clover, dandelions, bluets, and johnny-jump-ups all grew wild in her lawn. And she planted annuals of zinnias, pansies, snapdragons, daisies, and black-eyed Susans. There are so many wonderful memories of her that come rushing back to me when I see the kinds of flowers that were part of the landscape she created in her yard.
Today I think I’ll plant some seeds! I really like planting seeds, and since I don’t have a very big yard. I also like to share with friends and clients. I am very fortunate to lease my office space in a business complex where the property is LOADED with flowers. The property owner also has a love of flowers, and a passion for planting flower seeds. As you can imagine, he is one of my favorite people to share with! Today I am planting some gaillardia seeds that I sprouted in a paper towel to share with him. I put the seeds in a moist paper towel 3 days ago, and most of them have sprouted and are ready to plant.
I’m putting the sprouted seeds into nursery pots and covering them with about ¼ inch soil. When the time comes, I’ll keep a couple of the seedlings to transplant into the ground our yard, and then share the rest. Notice my fancy popsicle sticks?!
Here’s a little something about Gaillardias:
- Also called Blanket Flowers
- Over two dozen species in North and South America
- In the sunflower family
- Heat tolerant
- Usually perennial in Zones 3-10
- Like full sun
- Flowers are 3-5 inches
- Not super picky about soil but do need good drainage
- Named after 18th French magistrate M. Gaillard de Charentonneau
- The spirit of the gaillardia flower is said to enhance healing by providing a sense of a safe, secure blanket covering oneself.
With a little luck, and some proper attention to these sprouted seeds that have been planted, flowers like these will be gracing our yard, and maybe the yard of a friend or two!
Just a closing thought, when I plant seeds, I always like to think about planting seeds of intention in my life. So today, as I close, I am planting some intentional seeds… about remembering to live in the moment and really savoring every sweet, little blessing of the day, and that this blog finds its way to grow, thrive, and nourish all who take the time to read it!
So, until next time… plant some seeds, tend to your garden, and watch it grow! Josie