Letters to Gardening Friends: March 29, 2010

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

Did you ever feel like the days go by so quickly that you can hardly remember what you did from one day to the next? I feel like that sometimes, which is why I try to write down “important gardening news” in my 10 year garden journal.

For this past week, looking through my journal, I can report that yesterday (Sunday), was a gloomy, rainy, cold day and I did nothing in the garden except run out and take some crazy picture of the hyacinths all rowed up for my post yesterday.

On Saturday, I mowed the front yard for the first time. It barely needed to be mowed, but it was a nice day and I really, really wanted to mow again with that new Fiskars® Momentum™ Reel Mower, so I mowed anyway. So far so good. The reel mower does take a bit of getting used to. For one thing, it doesn’t cut grass when pulled backwards, like a gas powered mower does, so there’s no backing up over an area to cut where you might have missed. But I do like it and I’ll keep using it and trying it out each week, now that the mowing season has started.

The rest of the week is a bit of a blur and I just wrote in my gardening journal what the high and low temps were and if it was sunny or cloudy. I did write down that I planted lettuce seeds on Monday, and then came inside and sowed seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. But other than that, between work and weather and other activities, I didn’t have a chance to do much else in the garden.

Whenever I have a moment or two, I’ve been steadily reading through the book the Garden Designer left me, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. She was smart to leave me that book to read because with every page, I think of more that I want to change in my garden. I even want to change up the vegetable garden, which I had previously told her was fine “as is”. She’s returning this evening with her Partner in Digging to show me the plans and concepts she has so far. This evening!

This may seem silly, but the other day, when I was thinking about the garden design, and how much of the garden I’d like to change, I wondered if this is my midlife crisis. Doesn’t everyone go through some kind of midlife crisis at some point when they reach a “certain age”? I guess some people buy fancy sports cars, or quit their jobs and run off to Europe, or maybe put big ol’ swimming pools in their backyards. None of that appeals to me at all. If this is my midlife crisis, I’m happy that it is an overhaul of my garden.

And with that I'll close this letter before I start getting too deep into analysis, ala Dr. Hortfreud.

Hortifully yours,

P.S. The picture above is of some species tulips in my garden, I believe it is Tulipa biflora. I took a picture of its first open bloom on Saturday, but that came out all fuzzy. On Sunday, when I took this picture, none of the blooms were open… too cold and gloomy outside.

P.S.S.  I'm going to finally plant radishes and onion sets this week, since the moon is changing from waxing to waning.


  1. You reel mowing experience reminded me of the fact that you can't mow backwards. I wonder how long that would take me to remember - ha! I hope someone local gets on so I can try it out. Have fun tonight with the garden designer. I know how exciting this can be. H.

  2. Hmmmm - midlife crisis?... You mean like buying a 100 year old farmhouse 650 miles from home...sight unseen...so that we can leave the rule-regulation-permitting nightmares of the upscale suburbs and have a more independent, self-sufficient, sustainable, natural lifestyle?

    The thought never occured to me. :) Hope your garden planning goes well.

  3. Sounds like you did quite a bit to me between planting seeds, mowing and dreaming of the new design. Good luck with the garden designer. You're undertaking a huge job, but a fun one.

  4. If that's a mid-life crisis, it's the kind I want to have. I can't wait to see what your designer has in mind. Meanwhile, we'll just keep planting seeds and plants.~~Dee

  5. Greetings from the Chicago area.

    Found your blog while trying to discover where to buy an English push hoe. Browsed some more. Haven't read Toby Hemenway's book yet, but have been to his website where he has articles about permaculture at http://www.patternliteracy.com/

    My family has had a reel mower for some years and at first used it as a way to unplug our then teen aged son from the computer to get some outdoor exercise. Now we've shrunk our lawn, and a reel mower makes way more sense anyway, according to my personal theory of only using as much fossil-fuel powered technology as a job really needs--in this case, none.

  6. Way to go with the reel mower. We've conteplated getting one but I keep removing the lawn so we may just hang on to the mower we have until we don't even need to mow anymore and then get rid of it.

  7. That's my kind of midlife crisis. Who needs a sports car? You can't bring home a tree or a load of mulch in it.

  8. Carol ~ you inspired me to check out the farmers almanac moon gardening guide! I'm hoping it can guide me as this is my first veggie garden :)


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