Hostas, Ghost Gardens, and Favorite Gardening Things
My smallest garden was a three-foot area under the back porch at an apartment. I planted impatiens and they bloomed all summer. The landlord was a gardener and understood my need for soil and plants. He offered an area of his garden where I could bring some plants from my former garden. This was very meaningful as so many of my garden plants came from the centennial home of my childhood. To save a few brought me joy. My favorite thing about gardening is the memories recalled when the plants bloom.
When I was four years old; my older brother sent cereal box tops in for some double begonias. When they arrived he dug up a shaded area near my playhouse and we planted them together. He also split some stones and made a stone walk.
Now, my gardens include a herb garden, a green and white garden, a lily garden, Victorian garden, shade gardens and two perennial gardens that cover approximately 2500 square feet, and surround a forty-foot arbor with grapes, honeysuckle, clematis and Cardinal vines.
Our trees include a Tri color Beech, Hickory nut, Black Walnut, Catalpa, two Mulberry Trees, Tulip Tree, Red Maple, Cherry Tree, Ginkgo tree, Japanese Zelkova, two yellow maples, two Linden trees and assorted flowering bushes. We enjoy the fruit of the mulberry trees, red currant bush, blackberries and red raspberries bushes. Our vegetable garden flourishes in the former barnyard with rain fun off from our centennial barn. We have enjoyed participating in two local garden walks. For refreshments we served our guests tea and homemade mulberry tarts with lemon curd.
My favorite spot in the garden is where ever I happen to be weeding. I prefer to work on my knees. I pray and thank God for the physical ability to enjoy the smell and feel of the earth. I am a farmer’s daughter. I work out personal concerns, develop characters for my historical novels and create short stories that I present at storytelling events and speaking engagements. Much of my writing is done before I approach my computer.
My favorite plants are variegated green and white plants with leaves of various textures and design, i.e. Hosta, ferns, and astilbe, white Bleeding heart. One garden I am still working to create is a green and white garden. This came after reading the quote by Lady Alice M. Martineau, 1924, she writes of the current fashion of Ghost gardens where “water lilies are placed in a marble basin sunk into the cool green turf, the water reflecting the early moonbeams, for no one walks in a ghost garden except in the evening”
My favorite gardening book was a gift from my husband’s daughter Karen, a signed copy of Deborah Kellaway’s book “The Virago Book of Women Gardeners”. I have spent many hours reading and rereading this lovely book. In Winter or Summer, I can prepare a cup of tea and enjoy time with these ‘friends’ of soil and seed.
Nelle Cooper has been gardening and writing stories all her life. Her favorite thing about gardening is the memories recalled when the plants bloom. When she’s not gardening she’s a spinner of fibers and a weaver of stories. You can connect with Nelle at http://nellecooper.com/