I’ve had three ‘real’ gardens, if you define a real garden as plants in the ground. Two of those have been at homes I own, the current one Portland and my previous house in Spokane. The third was in borrowed soil, while living in an apartment close to my grandparent’s house. My grandpa was a vegetable gardener and spent his life enriching the soil. After he died my grandma continued to grow a few tomatoes and zucchini each summer, but there was a lot of empty space. The year I moved back to Spokane, from Seattle, I really wanted to get my hands in the soil and plant. My grandma offered the garden and I happily took her up on it. At the time the garden was the point, but now that she’s gone it’s the memories of spending that time with her that are most valuable.
I have also tended two container gardens, when I lived in urban apartments. My first garden, shown in these photographs, was in the windows of a small apartment on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. I made a window shelf for container plants on the south facing window ledge (shown above) and on a weekend visit, back to Spokane, my dad and I built window boxes for the east windows.
The other night I ran across a garden journal from back then, how the heck did I manage to hang on to it all this time?! That was 13 years and 5 moves ago! On the first page was a sort of introduction. It’s odd to read something you wrote so many years ago. From that page:
“…since my days with a ‘real’ garden are in the future this will serve as a record of my urban apartment garden experience. Maybe some day when I am overwhelmed with watering, weeding, pruning & such I will reflect on the pages of this journal & remember to feel lucky to have a ‘real’ garden after all…”
Yep. I do sometimes feel overwhelmed, it’s spring and there is so much to do! And I do feel lucky, everyday that I spend in the garden. My taste in plants has certainly changed, and I no longer keep a garden journal. No time and I am just not the journal type any longer. I do keep the plant tags; they go in a book along with a note about the plants location in the garden. Sometimes I actually even make a second entry if the plant dies or I move it. Mainly I use the book as a reference for cold hardiness, the ‘proper’ name, or a question about size. In the old journal I made multiple entries about the weather, how the seeds and plants were doing on any given day and even pasted in inspiring images from magazines along with these pictures. Container gardening requires less time for weeding and more time for observing!