My old garden journal 2009 (for posterity’s sake…and next spring!)

I’ve decided to start a garden journal of sorts….to keep track of successes and failures this year, what I’ve learned, what’s blooming and what’s sadly not.  One of my favorite gardening passages comes from Thomas Jefferson’s letters:


“I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich sport of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden.  No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of a garden.  Such variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of one harvest, a continued one thro’ the year.  Under a total want of demand except for our family table, I am still devoted to the garden. But tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener.”

-letter to Charles Willson Peale, August 20, 1811


For me, it touches upon much of what I love about gardening…the perpetual cycle of seed to shoot, growth to bloom, the fading beauty of the parent plant, maturing seed heads falling unpretentiously to to the ground to begin the cycle all over again.  I find peace in the ebb and flow of plant life equal to the ebb and flow of the ocean.  The continual succession of life speaks to me of God’s grace over all life, His eye for beauty, intricate detail, and His desire to delight us with the majesty of His creation.  The cycle brings to mind all kinds of verse, one of which is:


“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  -Ecclesiastes 3:11


I do not understand all of God’s plans for my life, but often in my garden, I find a piece of what is eternal and lasting amid the “common plants.”

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June 15th

Cucumbers vining
Beans fully up
First yellow zucchini yesterday
First Pink Lady Grape Tomatoes
Eggplant small but looking less pitiful and pale
Pepper plants still sitting there, lots of leaf damage
Peas–pretty much spent
Lettuces–bolting all over the place
Strawberries–settling in

New insect knowledge:  cucumber beetles are yellow and black striped or dotted, elongated.  They like squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers of course–faster than the sluggish Mexican Bean Beetles–a worthy foe ; )

Horrible sunflower year….my plants keep getting eaten by slugs or withered by too much rain.  Others are stunted and blooming at about 1/3rd of their proper height.

My stevia plant and butterfly weed both got taken out in a single night…withered without explanation.

Blooming:  borage, yellow primrose, calendulas, nasturtiums, daylilies, mexican hyssop, lamb’s ear, thyme, lavender, yarrow, dwarf dahlia…

Up and coming: more dahlias, sunflowers, purple cone flower

Something I love about gardening:  The way you can smell the plants (especially the herbs) after a rain or after watering.  Especially fennel, lemon balm, oregano….

Something I dislike about gardening: trying to figure out how to control certain bugs without just dumping chemicals all over.  Plus, I am a live and let live kind of person…wish they would just be less destructive! ; )

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June 27th–harvested garlic.  Pretty good garlic year, though a few bulbs had rotten from rain.

Banana peppers are emerging, pickling cucumbers too.  No yellow grape tomatoes yet.  Green tomatoes on most of our big tomato plants

Squash and zucchini are producing (except for the plant that Rose pulled out of the ground while harvesting ; ))

Daliah (our neighbor) gave me some kale, stevia, a sample of  magenta lamb’s quarters (what a gorgeous leaf), and something called goldgelber (?) no clue what that is…must do research.

Inherited butternut squash, okra, and two Cherokee Purple tomatoes (my favorite) from Todd (other neighbor)..transplanted them out somewhere between 6/20- and 6/27

Lettuces, swiss chard, and beets still doing well

Mexican beetles and cucumber beetles are out–no Japanese beetles yet!

Blooming: gladiola, balloon flower, calendula, daliahs, cosmos, sayrana sunflower, indian princess rudbekia, black-eyed susans, blue shrimp plant, melampodium, echinacia….

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Last Week of June/first of July:

Harvested Garlic Patch
First Japanese Beetles on my Hollyhock
First Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar on Fennel
First Cucumbers
newly blooming:  Kiss me over the Garden Gate, Hollyhock, Allyssum

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”   -Emma Goldman

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July10th–ordered fall garden seeds from Pinetree seeds.  Ordered…Carrots, Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Beets, Radishes, and Brussel Sprouts (Briggs and Rose LOVE their Brussel Sprouts).

Can’t figure out if one of my “volunteers” is a yellow squash or crossed with a birdhouse gourd.  Are gourds edible?  Or more precisely, is a squash-gourd ok to eat?

Everyone else’s peppers and eggplant look better than ours…I have garden envy!  And my mother-in-law’s basil is gorgeous where mine patch is still tiny and desperate.

I put out our second batch of basil seedlings on Thursday in the rain.  Lovely muddy day–haven’t been that thoroughly soaked, muddy, and at peace in a long, long while.

Our sunflowers are growing, but are still pitiful… *sigh*  NOT a good sunflower year, particularly considering how much I have done for them!  Ungrateful plants! ; )

But l am grateful for new dreams of a perfectly verdant fall garden….
July 29th–

Beans, yellow squash, sun gold, pink lady, and regular tomatoes producing.  Some cucumbers, though they have been hit hard by the fungus.

Daliah (our gentle neighbor) is so sweet–she’s like a garden fairy who leaves me all kinds of gifts over the fence or on my pathway–fertilizer, organic fungus spray and sweet notes about this or that related to the plants.  I suspect she secretly frets about the bugs and fungus on my vegetable plants from over the fence.

The strawberries look parched and the beets wilt, and I haven’t made time to water or weed. The crab grass is frolicking through my perennial beds.  Gardening is no fun when it’s hot, especially in July when I also have to compete with the mosquitoes. Then the plants have to fight it out for and among themselves.

I’ve got a stash of fall seed packets neatly squared up by rubber bands, quietly waiting…

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August 14th 2009

*Fall garden seed still waiting….looks like it will have to wait until spring….

*bought some new perennials the other day—rudbekia “Irish Eyes,” knotweed, a red and yellow yarrow, swamp hibiscus, and ajuga for groundcover beneath the dogwoods.

*All of my gardens are like a train that jumped the track—they are spiraling out of control with morning glory, crabgrass, thistles, and brambles winning skirmishes all over.  It’s too hot and I’m too busy with other things to jump into the fray…

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September 17th

All is lost out there—-I must have squished a hundred larva in our bean patch today.  Amazingly, the beans are holey but putting out beans none-the-less.

Lately, my garden is a place that inspires guilt.  I walk by quickly and try not to look too closely.   Of course, the bees and butterfly have no such qualms—they hover and flit over the orange tithania with no regard for the chaos below.

I suspect God made winter because He knew we need a good excuse to clean the slate, to begin anew…