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Spring has sprung, and that means it is time to plant something. I have been a home gardener much of my life, but since I can’t kneel and bend the way I used to,  I must do things a little differently. I thought it would be fun to put together a little photo story of this year’s gardening effort.

One of the best methods for a small garden is the raised garden, and another is the pot garden. Since my resources for building a garden are limited – space, materials, and physical strength – pot planting seemed the way to go.  So I gathered up all the miscellaneous pots I could find in and around the house and made a plan. Types of plants: foods I use most often and that give me a ready supply while I cook; plants that are “ready made,” that is, available in small pots at my local Big Blue Box Store. I don’t have the space, time, or talent for growing everything from seed, and most of all, I love plant shopping. If you’re a gardener, you know what I mean. Merely approaching the garden center puts a smile on my face. The hanging flower pots and trays of annuals, sun-loving or shade-loving, they are all gorgeous. And what of the vegetables? Where shall I go first?

This day I went directly to the herbs. This may not sound very exciting, but they truly are pleasurable on multiple levels: their fragrance, beautiful and artful appearance, and multiple uses. There are literally hundreds of usable herbs on the planet, but a dozen or so is all one needs for a useful and beautiful garden.

Next to the herbs were the tomatoes. Since these were on my shopping list, I perused the shelves and selected three types, all maturing at different times. Below you will see some of the items I bought. The plants I did not choose: sprawling vines such as cucumbers and squash. I don’t have room for these, plus these and many others are available in plentiful supply at local farm stands.

Next, I spent time strolling through the entire garden center, bought a bag of soil, and made mental notes on what I might want later on. I have learned over years of gardening that the old adage, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” applies here. You can do only so much planting, mulching, and organizing in one session, and you can always go back for more stuff. I spent $40 today – $32 on vegetables and herbs, and another $8 on the bag of soil for the flower garden. I will get this back in produce over the summer.

I found this photo on the Web. Now that’s a herb garden!

A garden growing medicinal herbs of Na Wa Publ...

A garden growing medicinal herbs of Na Wa Public hospital, Nakhon Phanom province, Thailand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It's mid-May, and I already have tomato blossoms.

Fajita Bell pepper, only slightly hot, so they say.

flat leaf Italian parsley

It’s mid-May, and I already have tomato blossoms. This compact variety was developed for growing in a pot on your deck.


                                                                                   sweet mint

The entire list: chives, basil, German oregano, flat Italian parsley, thyme, sweet mint, celantro; three tomato varieties; one fajita bell pepper.

Now on to the flower garden. There is a spot on the east side of the house that gets more than a half day of sun and where the soil has been worked in years past. This spot is also in dire need of more working and planting. A few sad-looking and low-growing perennials appear every spring, but this spot cries out for tall and colorful plants. In addition, I would like not to put in a lot of work in this spot year after year. Therefore, this will be the place for colorful perennials, with perhaps a few annuals blending in each year. As I write this, the only thing I have planned to include are some purple iris, and that is where the help comes in.

My daughter and I had arranged that yesterday would be the day that she would come over with her kids, along with their gardening tools and youthful energy, and dig up the old soil, remove the weeds, amend the soil with new, and generally loosen up the ground so that we could plant. I got a call from her telling me that my 11-year-old granddaughter was sick with a cold, so could we wait until Monday to work the garden. Of course I agreed, and I hope the weather will cooperate.

Meanwhile, I had prepared some refreshments for all of us, especially the kids, as a treat for after the work was finished. The cookies went into the freezer for next week, and this is what the spot still looks like. Since this project is a work in progress, and I intend to add more photos as we go, I have decided to post this now and edit and add photos along the way. That way you can keep up with the garden’s progress.