If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I wage a chronic battle with my perfectionism. Perfectionism and gardening don't mix, because at least half of the charm of a garden is its unpredictability, its determination to do its own thing. A garden can be encouraged, and nurtured, but it can't be controlled.
Maybe, finally, in Year 4 of my life as a gardener, those lessons are starting to sink in. Maybe somewhere in my psyche a little controlling part of me is throwing in the towel and giving in. Because this year, for some reason, I am really enjoying my garden.
I should qualify that: I mean my vegetable garden. The perennial beds around the house are still a bit problematic for me. But every time I walk through the gate into the vegetable garden I stop for a moment to take it all in and I feel a distinct sense of peace and joy and satisfaction.
Not because the vegetable garden is so orderly this year, but because I have allowed it to be less so, and somehow the beauty of it is enough. It feels to me like my garden is full of happy, relaxed plants doing their thing instead of being continually fussed with. And because I have done more companion planting this year, each bed is a lovely co-mingling between flowers, herbs and vegetables.
So here's a quick tour of what's making me happy in the vegetable garden these days.
The last few fennel plants that didn't get eaten are going to seed in a sea of softly waving fronds.
The pink popcorn plants are producing tassels...
...and the Leaning Tower of Hollyhock looks like it's dancing.
The deep purple clematis and bright red poppies in the centre of the garden are looking more muted but just as beautiful, in a different way.
The onions, planted in Eliot Coleman's groups of four, are close to being ready to harvest.
The most recent additions to the garden, the melon and cucumber plants, are beginning to flower, and there are even two small melons. This thrills me, since my previous attempts to grow melons never made it past the seedling stage.
Kim was working in the vicinity the day I moved the melons and cucumbers from the greenhouse into the garden, and helped problem-solve the issue of a trellis. Instead of constructing something new, we decided to experiment with using already made structures, in this case a large chicken cage with doors removed, and the lid of the brooder box Kim had constructed for the broody hens in the chicken coop.
So far, so good, although we'll see what happens when the plants get larger!
Want to add some happiness to your garden? Plant bee balm, especially a double-decker variety like this.
Pure joy. Guaranteed.