Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Growing Season

The ground up there was ready to turn this weekend. I say this like I know what I’m doing. There are some things you simply cannot assimilate from books. I delve into a garden book and there’s so much jargon I can’t last very long before my eyes glaze over. So many questions, so many terms to set aside in my mind if I plan to slog on through and get to the meat of the subject. This rides on that, that depends on something else, another factor to consider is this, and that all depends on where you are in relation to the sun, stars and moon. I'm feeling like it is going to take forever to do anything more than scratch the surface.  Time in the garden changes this idea.  I just have to get started and do it and learn. We learned some things from our neighbor last year, mainly that if you put plants in the ground, they might produce very nice tasting vegetables and fruit. And that if you give said fruit to your neighbors, it is good. It is a beginning.

Such luxury to sit and plot out how the garden will grow. I learned last year that things don’t sprout and bloom faster if you stare at them, so while my seeds are tucked and sprinkled appropriately into little starter plugs, I am free to dream a little bit. Like most of my projects, the story begins with my ultimate fantasy. I spend pleasurable hours working on drawings and imagining scenarios, working out my little garden wonderland down to the very last butterfly and chirping cricket, stories unwinding about what could happen as a matter of course if we planted things this way or that way, if we got the correct nutrients, companion plants balanced just so, etc. What I love about this part is the empty page of it, the infinite possibilities.

My dream was cut down to size this past weekend, with cold hard budgetary restraints, lack of physical resources, and lack of stock in the gardening shops. But seeds came from all directions. I took them last summer from things I loved and tucked them dried into envelopes along the way. It seems everyone in the town has seeds for this and that.  Mme Martinet sends cuttings from a bush I admired last spring, delivered by her son.  We have tons of these stone tiles we can use for paths and borders. From this we have plenty to do.

We are in this together. I hope Mother Nature shows us clemency. I feel that our garden is taking on more meaning with each wedge of earth I loosen, and each clod of roots that he shakes out, one step behind me, back and forth, as we remove last year’s field of flowers, remembering. The baby sleeps in the warmth of the pine paneled room at the top of the house while we work. We are preparing the land for the growing season.

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Anonymous sarah @ syrupandhoney said...

A wonderful read. I'm trying my hand at growing some herbs, tomatoes, and beans for the first time in my life. The small scale is forced by the patio I have to work with (It will be a container garden) as well as my novice. Here we go!

3:31 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Good luck, Sarah. I hope you have a great harvest. The lettuce sprouted this morning and it is very cute.

4:15 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger Katie Zeller said...

I'm just starting my garden plans for this house, this year. I love it... laying it all out, measuring, plotting and planning. I had huge gardens in the Vendee - fun, nice, but not necessary. Now I'm going for food with a little beauty thrown in. Just remember to plan for the years ahead as well - enough room between anything permanent for it to grow and for you to adjust and add.

4:15 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Having a huge garden was one of my favorite experiences. I cannot tell you how many books and articles I read and how many fruits and vegetables we planted. Many, to say the least. There were challenges, but the rewards far outweighed them. I miss it all now and hope to have at least some of it again one day. Enjoy!

4:22 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger Tea said...

This is so lovely, Lucy. I relate to it all. My mother recently bought a house here in Seattle on a neglected half acre (with a greenhouse), and we are starting to bring it back to life. So many plans, so much work, such hope and anticipation. My nieces are getting little garden plots as well, because there are few better places for children than a garden.

May yours bloom wonderfully, and teach you what you need to know.

5:43 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Isn't it great fun, Katie? I'm sure your garden is going to be wonderful. I'll definitely follow your advice.

Denise, now you're getting me excited. Although this year is not going to be anything huge, one day it will develop into something bigger.

Wow Tea, a greenhouse on a neglected half acre is something out of a storybook for me. Is she fixing it up completely to have her own little nursery at home? That is fabulous. I love the idea of each child having his or her own little garden too.

7:01 PM, March 23, 2010  
Anonymous Romney Steele said...

Another beautiful snippet into your life and the growing season. Have just sent to my friend Kate who lives on top of a mountain in Big Sur, CA with her own fabulous garden; I used to live there with my little babes tucked away as we went at it outside. Thanks for bringing back sweet memories.

8:04 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger racheld said...

I've always felt that few things in the world equal the anticipation factor of an empty page or an empty, waiting plot of earth.


Oh, dear. My word today is "venom." Let's all be careful out there.

9:06 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Romney, thanks. Just mentioning Big Sur brings back big memories for me. Your blog is great, I just subscribed.

Rachel dear, What do you plan to plant there? I'll be over for a visit soon. Maybe just the venom of the serpent coiled in the apple tree?

9:13 PM, March 23, 2010  
Blogger Maria Verivaki said...

there is plenty of time to muse when the garden is growing - it's more about perspiration rather than inspiration, which is why i am indebted to my husband's efforts (i am in the luxurious position of harvesting)

9:50 PM, March 23, 2010  
Anonymous GG Mora said...

I always have a good laugh when I think back to my first gardens. There is SO MUCH to learn, but the best advice I can give is: don't sweat it. Just plant it, nurture it, learn from your mistakes.

When I was just a few years in, I fretted out loud to a friend, a pragmatic fellow if there ever was one and a regular Mr. MacGregor in the garden. He said, "You know, plants really just want to grow. And they will, regardless of your input." Just remember that whenever you start to fret about it.

1:29 AM, March 24, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I struggle even keeping a kitchen counter herb garden alive! I admire your decision to simply "go for it." you are right, all you can do is plant seeds and learn. a good philosophy for life! looking forward to hearing about the results.

3:33 PM, March 24, 2010  
Blogger lisa said...

Lucy,Is that a napkin that you have drawn your garden plan on? Oooohh... the memories of wonders planned out on paper napkins. They do come to fruition.

11:57 AM, March 27, 2010  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Kiwi, happy harvest time! Enjoy.

GG, that's a very good sentiment to take into this project. Your garden always inspires me.

Blair, thanks. I hope your kitchen herb garden grows healthy and strong.

Lisa, it may as well be!

4:04 PM, March 27, 2010  
Blogger DominiqueinLyon said...

Hello, I have been following your blog for ages !
Is it OK if I put a link to your blog on a site where I advertise an apartment for short term rental ? We have a lot of American and Australian guests and I thought it would be nice to give them a "before" taste !
The apartment is near Les Halles as well so I think the link would be nice.

10:12 PM, March 29, 2010  
Blogger sharon parquette nimtz said...

Lucently lovely, Lucy.

2:01 AM, April 08, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am in the midst of planting a large garden, veggies surrounded by floral borders. i am excited to see everything one month, two months from now and well into the autumn as colors have been chosen and hoped for to run the seasons. it is the best time, this planning time when nothing has been hindered by unimagined problems. so many colors, smells, textures, the garden is a feast long before blooms happen.

12:52 AM, April 26, 2010  

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