Quality Time in the Garden

You’ve made your beds, planted your seeds, nurtured your seedlings through the perils of sprouthood and now you spend your time watering and feeding.  (My Arctic Amigos might be a bit behind on this schedule but think of what you have to look forward!!) You meticulously weed, prune and pinch and stand watch—for bugs and spots, all things that go bump in the night—all the normal stuff a gardener does throughout the growing season.

Ashley's beautiful garden

And what a fine gardener you’ve become!  You’re diligent, vigilant and looking forward to harvest.  But as you linger among the layers of leaves and sprays of bloom, your mind wanders, your longing builds, your connection to nature grows deeper.  Where you didn’t expect it, you’ve grown quite attached to your garden, lovingly caring for it as you would a child.  Why, if you could, you’d spend hours out here—days—toiling about the promise of produce.

Strolling down a row of squash, you notice a bright red ladybug busily traveling the expanse of the broad green leaves.  Bending near to watch her work, you get that tingly thrill of discovery.  Sure in the grand scheme of things, it’s a common bug doing a common job, but to you she’s incredible—beautiful!—and you revel in the miracle of nature (and she’s eating those bugs before they can do any more damage!)

ladybug in action!

Now if only there was a bench nearby.  You glance from one end of your garden to the other.  Boy, would that be handy right about now.  You could sit, relax and enjoy the wonders unfolding before you.  A pretty bench, one with an intricately carved iron frame supporting slatted teak strips. Better yet, one that rocks to and fro, gently keeping pace with the breeze. 

How about a shade topper?  Midday is a gorgeous time to be outside, but the sun can be strong.

Yes, I think we’re onto something here.  A bench, a little shade…  Maybe some chimes, too.  Nothing lifts the spirits like music and the soft tinkle of chimes would be a welcome addition. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in your garden, why not create a pleasant ambiance?

Invite some birds along by incorporating a lovely bath, perhaps a feeder, too.  Unless of course you have squirrels and then nix the feeder—those varmints can be downright pesky!  But a bath would be lovely and attract all kinds of wildlife, like dragonflies (to eat any mosquitoes that happen to breed in the standing water) as well as fanciful beneficials like butterflies and bees.

bees are swarming the broccoli

Which are important workers in the garden.  Did you know your plants need pollinators?  Without them, plants like cucumbers, melon and squash will not flourish.  You see, these plants have both male and female flowers and are dependent upon pollinators for fertilization (to come hither and do their business!) so by all means, encourage them with an enticing bath of water.

While you’re at it, plant flowers around the border.  Not only will they add a splash of color and cheer, if chosen correctly, they could repel all sorts of unwanted insects, bugs and flies and instead attract more butterflies and bees with a sweeping array of choice nectar.

rosemary lemonade

Consider creating some natural pathways of mulch, too.  This will encourage visitors to explore and digest all there is to see. Remember: gardening is a joy and should be treated as an indulgence, not a chore.  By adding benches, chimes and flowers, you’re nurturing this pleasure as you should.  Besides, that bench will come in handy when the neighbors stop by—and they will.  They heard you had a garden!

And trust me—you’ll be grateful for those pathways (they keep visitors on the right track and OFF your finely sifted beds of dirt).  Not everyone knows the ins and outs of a garden like you do.  But they’re eager to learn to which you’ll reply, by all means, have a seat and sit spell.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and there’s so much news to share about the garden!

Rosemary lemonade, anyone? (recipe can be found here)