Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Mother is a New Gardener

Woman Kneeling in Garden, Wearing Gloves, Working in Flower Bed

There is so much to learn when it comes to tending a home. There is also indoor and outdoor work. This includes the pleasant times of hanging laundry on the line to dry in the warm spring sun.   Or Sweeping front porches and walkways. These are the delicate aspects of outside work.

The hard part, for me, is learning to garden. . .  I have repeatedly described how to clean and keep a house; how to care for children; ideas for baking and cooking.  But I have no wisdom when it comes to gardening. So if you can imagine a new housewife, overwhelmed when looking at a messy house and not knowing what to do? Then imagine me outside, standing there, bewildered, wondering what to do with garden tools. (gentle smiles)

A few months ago, I bought a few little pots and some seeds. I also have a small set of gardening tools and some gloves.  I even bought a large indoor piece of furniture that is some kind of "greenhouse." It will be used for starter seeds. (Whatever that means.)

I do have hope, however. Years ago, when we lived in Massachusetts, We had rose bushes. I pruned them, and took excellent care of them.  I don't have any idea how I managed that, but they looked so pretty! They also came back, year-after-year.  Perhaps I should start with rose bushes, here at our Vermont Estate?

I would also love to make a few spring, gardening dresses. But I don't have the ambition or energy.  Maybe I am getting old and need to buy a sewing machine. (I have been hand-sewing, almost exclusively for decades.)

The last few days, here, have been unseasonably warm and pleasant. My gardening plans for today include sitting in a chair with a book, while my boys do some raking and begin preparing the land. Does that make me a passive gardener?

Mrs. White

Yearning for - The Romance of Home.

Lovely things to do - Domestic Occupations.

Remembering - Building a Strong Work Ethic in our Children.

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Mrs Sarah Coller said...

Ha! Yes, I am in the exact same boat! I'm comfortable with the homemaking thing---but gardening! Well, I guess since I spent my 20s learning to be a homemaker, maybe I can spend my 30s learning to be a gardener!

Have a great day!

Mrs. Sarah Coller

Rocky Mountain Homemaker said...

I am a gardener too, even here in northern Montana where it is a challenge. One of the most valuable resources I have found for gardeners is our local county extension office. I have taken a couple classes in gardening, canning and even crockpot cooking. If classes don't fit your time and energy level, perhaps a local extension office would offer a variety of pamphlets about growing plants in your area. If you don't have an extension office nearby, I would recommend contacting the horticulture department of your nearest university.
Blessings from........Denise

Illinois Lori said...

Dear Sharon,

I am a perennials gardener, primarily, like my mother...but she used to grow the hybrid tea roses (those LOVELY but VERY FUSSY ones), and I do not. I grow shrub roses instead...hybrid teas are grafted onto another hardy rootstock, but they are susceptible to all kinds of issues, and have to be covered and babied over the winter (I grew up in MI, so know what real winter is, LOL!)...shrub roses grow on their own rootstock, and you do not have to do anything to keep them alive through the winter, they just keep coming back year after year. They need a little trimming in the late spring/early summer, is all. There's a gorgeous one called "knockout" that I love. I plant mine along my brick patio wall, and at their feet, in front of them, I plant lavendar and lambs ear. It is an old-fashioned, "vintage" kind of combination, I think it would be lovely on your historic estate! I also use "carpet roses" where I want a low-growing, "ground cover" type of rose. You added "no URL's" to this comment area, so I can't give you the URL to my post of my garden photo tour where you can see my roses, but it's dated June 17th, 2011 and the category is "Friday Farm Girls". If I still have your email addy, I"ll send it to you that way :-) My dh does much of our garden work nowadays since my arthritis makes it difficult for me, but once everything is planted, the varieties we've chosen are not high maintenence, so that's a blessing!

Enjoy the early spring!

Deanna said...

Sweet Blessings to you!
You are one smart cookie to allow the children to do yardwork. It builds their character! Grins. It really is good for them to be a part of all that needs to be done around the estate.

I have plans to sit and enjoy the out of doors while the weather is milder. Haven't done enough of this through the years.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

I can't do a lot of gardening-at least not on the ground. That is why I like pots and even bushes!

Rose bushes sound like a lovely idea. Although I am particularly biased towards roses, I will say that it could also provide you with medicinal value if you grow them organically.

Roses are good for joint pain as they are a natural anti-inflammatory.

If you buy the kind that provide rose hips, then they also provide a great concentrated source of vitamin C.

Mrs. Grievous said...

About the only thing I know how to grow is tomatoes and cucumbers, and they're pretty hard to mess up. It's getting warm here and we were thinking of dressing up our rental house with a small herb garden and maybe a vine.

We're definitely starting small though! I'm sure you can do it. :)

Laura Lane said...

My husband has always been the gardener; but, his work has kept him too busy since the Joplin tornado.

So, I'm going to try this year. We shall see!

momma-lana said...

The library is full of gardening books. I read alot of them before I really began and there is alot of practical advice to be had from them. See if you can find one for your state or region specifically as that would be a big help. You learn by doing and watering! I find that so many beginning gardeners don't understand the importance of proper watering! There is nothing as theraputic as dirt under the fingernails. Soon as it warms up I have dirty fingernails and muddy shoes continually!

Elle said...

You could just do some herb gardening :) Then you could use what you grow in your cooking too...and lots of those can be grown in pots. Much easier!

Michelle Smith said...

Mrs. White,

I, too, am comfortable with all sorts of cooking and baking, and comfortable enough with housework (though with five children and homeschooling I do have some clutter issues).

Gardening is something that although I am not expert with, have gradually developed some small knowledge and skills, and I am sure you will as well.

Beans and cucumbers are especially easy to grow. The thing I have learned about cucumbers is that you should plant just a few plants, then perhaps another crop of a few a month or so later. Cucumbers will produce plentifully for about a month, then play out.

Beans are very easy. We found that it took about two packets of beans to produce enough to make a pot or two per week for a family of 7.

Tomatoes are fairly easy, but do require fertilizer. I highly recommend an heirloom variety of those, as the flavor is superior. We have had good experience with Brandywine for a full-sized tomato, or Yellow Pear for a small tomato.

From there, I recommend getting advice from someone in your area of the country, perhaps from your county extension service.

Terri said...

I came across your blog yesterday and shared the link with my FB friends! I love it. I have giggled and cried reading your posts. I have been blessed and convicted! Thank you for such gentle reminders! I am a housewife exclusively (nearly 15 years) We are past homeschoolers as well! Finding joy in the mundane home and garden chores from day to day is a given with a song in your heart!

Anonymous said...

Others have suggested contacting your extension office for gardening advice, & I agree. If they don't have the answers to your questions right away they are quite good about finding out & calling you back.

I'm all about perennials & vegetables here. I love the ease of a flowering plant that comes up each year, & asks only that I divide it periodically. As for the veggies....well, what can be nicer than getting to enjoy at the dinner table what you've labored over in your garden? :o)

My husband tills my gardens for me in the spring, & rakes the soil smooth. I do everything else from that point on.

All this talk of gardening (not to mention the warmer weather we've been experiencing) has really got me itching to get outside & play in the dirt!!

Best of luck to you-

Cathy said...

I call it playing in the dirt also. I love it. We live in a tidy suburban neighborhood, of 1/4 acre lots, so my gardening consists of keeping my shrub beds neat, and pruning a few roses. I have some pots of flowers, but I don't always keep up with them, so I have my son move them to an inconspicuous place when they aren't looking good. That's probably very different from your yard.

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