The Garden That Nature Made

By Lee Anne Stark (threegardeners) on September 8, 2010

My first large garden was, by necessity, a most natural garden. Read on to find out why.

When I moved out here in 1992 the yard was a blank canvas. There was nothing remotely resembling a garden  except for a huge bed of ditch lilies up against one side of the house. I rented the front part of the house.

I used to sit on the front porch steps every morning and drink my coffee. Still do actually. I was missing gardens and gardening.

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One day, while taking a load to the dump, I found an old shovel and brought it home with me. Nothing's been the same since.

I started small, so as not to shock the poor landlord. I dug up the space between the front sidewalk and the house. They couldn't get the lawnmower up tight to the house anyways. Then, to be somewhat symmetrical, I dug a matching bed on the other side of the sidewalk. I planted some annuals and my tomatoes and beans the first years.

Gradually, over the next few years I expanded to include all along the front of the house. Then, of course, I had to join the sidewalk beds with the front beds. Pretty soon there was no lawn to cut at the front of the house.

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This old farmhouse had a huge side yard and pretty soon I was eyeing that too. I figured I could safely garden half way without bothering the people in back. I'd heard that the easiest way to make a huge garden bed was to cover the area with black plastic for season. I found me some black plastic, the dump is my friend :)) and covered an area in a big "L" shape across the rest of the front and halfway down the side toward the back. I settled back to let the sun do it's work while I planned all of the cool plants I'd put there the following spring.

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About 3 days later I came home from work to a surprise. One of my neighbors (RIP Donny St. John) had borrowed another neighbors tiller and tilled the entire bed up for me. He wandered over while I was staring open-mouthed at the huge expanse of freshly tilled soil. I wasn't at all prepared!! I had no plants, no money...yikes!! This was no small bed folks. This thing was 50 feet long and 6 feet wide!! Donny just chuckled and walked back across the road, leaving me still gawking like a fool at all of the bare soil.

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I did what I usually do when faced with such a situation. I made myself a cup of tea, got my lawnchair, sat under my tree, and stared at that bare soil looking for inspiration. A couple of cups of tea later and I was getting tired of staring at bare soil. My eyes started to wander to the fields around me. Then it struck me, like a hammer...I knew at that moment exactly what I was going to....and it would be spectacular!!

I threw my trusty shovel in the back of my truck and every day on the way to and from work I scanned. I scanned the fields and the ditches and the swamps. I dug up daisies, brown-eyed susans, viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare), buttercups and phlox. I dug Butter-and-Eggs (linaria vulgaris), globe thistles, birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), asters and mullein.

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I brought home all of those scraggly, nutrient starved plants and lovingly planted them in my wonderful new bed with a shot of fertilizer. They thrived!!

People would walk by and mention did I know I was planting my garden full of weeds. I didn't pay them any mind...I knew exactly what I was doing. After all, a "weed" is just a plant that grows where we don't want it.

The garden was beautiful that year. That one year before I started gathering old fashioned perennials. I wish I'd of had a camera then. With loving care and a bit of fertilizer those wild plants out did themselves. I knew it would work from the moment I thought of it. I knew in my heart that Mother Nature wouldn't let me down, and she didn't!!

About Lee Anne Stark
I'm an avid gardener and keeper of house plants (nearly 200 of them).
I'm servant to 7 cats and 3 dogs.
Addicted to Cubits since day one.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
I like it! Ridesredmule Jan 9, 2011 6:56 AM 7
Wonderful, with 2 cautions Lance Sep 10, 2010 3:03 AM 8
Untitled sassygranng Sep 9, 2010 8:12 PM 5

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