Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Rules... and a Personal Note or Two

For the past seven months I have written this blog as well as another one. In this one I planned to follow the progress of my garden in Central Virginia and try to offer insight and advice to newer gardeners. Altho I have only worked my current garden for ten years, and it is the first one that I have developed myself from scratch, I have worked for many years in other folks' gardens - my mother's, my grandmother's, my aunt's, and my father-in-law's. I have learned from all of them, but have enjoyed going my own way with this garden.

It was my intention that the other blog would be a place where I would comment on the world and current events, and whatever caught my fancy. Unfortunately, I have recently found that I have had extensive writer's block for the other blog ... absolutely nothing has caught my fancy! Altho I had plenty to say here, I have not posted in nearly two months because I was so consumed with trying to figure out what to do "over there". Finally, sanity prevailed. I realized that I truly enjoy writing this blog; that this one has the focus that the other has lacked. So, I have decided to let the other blog lie fallow for a while and work here.

Since it's the fall, with winter well on the way, it may be difficult, but it's the right decision. For the next few months we will look at more guest gardens when we can. I have a number of ideas for a "how to" series to help newer gardeners get ready for spring, or to just give basic information. I may do some surfing and see what's going on in the gardening world elsewhere. And, we can't forget the pond - it's an important part of the garden. In other words, I am not quite sure what I'll write about, but I know that it will be related to the garden. I am also committing to at least one post a week thru February. There may be more than that, but I promise at least one.

I hope you will enjoy this blog and will stay with me. If you are not interested, I understand. Gardening is not for everyone. But what I finally realized is that it is for me!

Guest Garden - Urban Style

It's a lovely, crisp fall day in downtown D.C. and nestled among government office buildings and national museums we found the perfect urban garden!

In one of the many triangles formed when "state" streets cross the numbered and lettered streets is a marvelous urban garden plot. The land is owned by the National Park Service and will someday be the home of a monument to Dwight David Eisenhower - president, general, and cold war leader - but for now it is the home of about twenty garden plots.

The lone gardener that morning was a lady who has held onto her plot for years, she told us, and who admitted that although she and a friend have the rights to two plots, she has squatted on half a dozen others as their "owners" have deserted them. Apparently it is difficult to locate the coordinator, so the plots don't turn over very efficiently. When an owner loses interest or gets too busy to keep up with the work, she takes a little piece here and a little piece there to plant a little something more.

On the morning we met she was pulling up veggies that had suffered from the frost last week, and clearing out the last of the summer weeds. She had already cleared most of her two "legal" plots where she grows mostly vegetables and a few summer annuals. In an adjacent space she has some peonies that are buried too deep and need some attention. In another plot she has some Brussels sprouts and in a fourth, winter greens. She showed us several of her neighbors' plots where we found everything from tomatoes to exotic greens and from roses to masses of overgrown.... whatever! Unfortunately, most of the whole plot was in the sort of disarray that happens in the fall when the gardener loses interest, or it gets too cold to get outside.

In some ways this is the Cadillac of garden plots. Much of it is fenced and there is water available. [The killer for so many urban gardens is the need to carry in water. Most people just can't bring in enough water often enough to keep gardens going in the heat of a city.] There are also a couple of lean-to sheds for storing small equipment.

We promised not to tell the exact location of this garden, since the gardener hopes to gather up some more space and doesn't want the competition! She also doesn't want the park service to get the money for the Eisenhower monument any time soon! It was a lovely place to spend a few minutes and to make a new acquaintance!