My Kitchen Garden with sound effects!
It wasn’t very long after learning I had a passion for cooking that I planted my first kitchen garden. It might have even happened at the same time. Cooking and gardening go together; gathering herbs and vegetables at their peak of flavor, putting them in a basket, bringing them to the kitchen, fresh-picked and unsprayed from our own small garden has been a giant plus for our “cottage of content.” ♥
I had always dreamed of having a garden with a gate, surrounded by a picket fence. So one day Joe dug a spot out of our lawn, and I went shopping for plants! I didn’t want or need a garden any bigger than I could take care of myself. I just wanted a fragrant path; a place I could go to listen to the bees while digging in the dirt.
I was so excited while Joe was building this, I had it all planted before the gate was on. Lined in marigolds to help keep pests away (not to mention looking good), I planted mostly things for salad: lettuces, tomatoes, radishes, basil, garlic, chives, mint, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, camomile, nasturtiums, peppers, lemon cucumbers and lavender. Oh, and strawberries! So I can gather a few for our breakfast! These things are always in our garden. But sometimes I plant purple potatoes too, and sometimes we plant watermelon or pumpkins, for fun.
The next year, Joe put in raised beds with a path that goes all the way around. I added lots of flowers! Many flowers, all the roses and berries, and some of the herbs, like the chives and thyme, are perennials and come back every year. This is how our garden would look today if this was June!
These are flowers from our garden I dried last year, between the pages of a huge dictionary. I put them in my diaries and in letters.
But I’m showing you this now so in case you’d like to have a picket-fence kitchen garden of your own this year, you’ll have plenty of time to plan. A few years back, we were spending half our time out in California, so we bought this big, weed-infested, gopher conservation area (or so it seemed since there were easily one billion of them on this property). When it came time to plant the lawn, we realized we had to have another kitchen garden. So Joe took his shovel out to contemplate the spot we’d chosen for it.
Oh yes, he can dig it.
Only this time he did it with a tractor. Men building gardens is a well-known aphrodisiac, don’t you think? Need I even say that my favorite Village Person was the guy wearing the tool belt? Probably not.
He practically had to dig a swimming pool to get the hole deep enough — so that he could line it in hardware cloth to keep the gophers out, and then refill it with dirt. He is my hero.
And who is the happiest girl? Me.
And in a very short time, with a little sunshine, fresh air, and water, it looked like this. A garden is about as close to heaven as you can get on earth. It’s like church. Breezes blowing, birds singing, sun shining, bee’s buzzing, butterflies fluttering, hummingbirds humming, tomatoes ripening, roses emitting, all done in perfect quiet.
The fence hides the mess inside, because sometimes it’s a wreck in there; there have also been years when we’ve been traveling that I haven’t planted at all. But the perennials keep it looking nice no matter what.
March is when I like to start planning. I get out my old garden books and my diary, to see what I did last year. I look at old photos. I call my garden “My Toy” because it’s like a toy. I play with it, redecorate with different flowers every year, try out new things.
This is last year’s basket of bulbs and seeds to plant. I love gladiolus against a picket fence; I put them in every year. When I was younger, I lived in second floor apartment that had no garden. I hung a window box outside the window in the kitchen eating area, and filled it with garden soil. With a tiny kid’s trowel; I planted a little salad garden that included nasturtiums, lemon thyme, three heads of leaf lettuce (I picked one leaf at a time and left the rest growing); and pansies for the little vase on the table. That’s all there was room for but it was just enough; I could open my window, and voila! There was my garden, practically in the kitchen!
Picket fences also look very nice in the snow.
We don’t cut everything back on purpose, because even stick-dead things look pretty with snow on them!
So if you have a garden like this in mind, here’s the plan:
You can find this drawing on page ten of the Summer Book, if you need it. And one last little tidbit of information: Paint your fence with white stain rather than using oil based paint. Your paint job will last much longer; when it gets old, it will fade rather than chip and you’ll be able to repaint a lot easier.
From my art table, this is the view I have of the garden. I was just looking out there, through the storm windows, past trees with no leaves, and I can picture it just like this, soon, rhododendrons in bloom and May breezes fluttering the curtains. My toy is gearing up for the season! OK girls, have a wonderful day! ♥