Summer to fall

It’s August, the time of year virtually nothing blooms in my garden except the Baby Wing and Dragon Wing begonias and vinca I planted last spring in pots. I have pinched back the chrysanthemums all summer and now they are free to develop buds, but I don’t see any yet. The asters are almost gone. The hydrangeas got so burned in July that I only have a few flowers on the bushes to turn red and brown. The rest I cut early. So I’ll wait another few weeks to put out some “store bought” chrysanthemums and maybe pull up the exhausted pot plants and begin to think about violas. Every year I have to visit several garden centers to see what’s new in the way of violas. Some years I fancy those with faces and some years I go with solid color violas. It’s nice to change what you did the year before. I look forward to cooler weather, colored leaves and maybe getting out the sweaters.

Review of

From the Ground Up



From the Ground Up

The Gardener's Promise

Review of From the Ground Up by Amy Stewart by Janice A. Farringer

In early spring a succession of seed catalogues arrives in my mailbox, a signal to get my tea, snuggle down in the comforter and leisurely flip through looking for just the plants I need to challenge my clay soil and my patience next summer. For a brief but wonderful moment, everything seems possible. It is this same kind of content-but-anticipatory feeling that runs through Amy Stewart's new gardening book, From The Ground Up. This is heartwarming stuff that reminds old gardeners why they spread lime in February and promises new ones that there is wonder to be found in their own backyards.

 From The Ground Up is a gardener's coming of age story. Nice young woman moves from her home turf to a strange and wonderful city where she has, for the first time, a patch of dirt to call her own. But the land is recalcitrant and the plants finicky. She toils in the garden to make it her own and comes to understand that we are all stewards, not owners, and when we move on, the land will be different again and that's OK. We have left a mark not only there, but also on our hearts that is permanent. The inner gardener becomes as important as the dill we pick for the kitchen. It is a mindset and a dream of sorts. In her book, Stewart, a brand-new gardener, takes us along for her transformation.

A growing garden requires skill and attention, and I often wondered if I was up to the task. Maybe I wasn't watering enough. Maybe it needed more fertilizer. At night I sometimes woke up convinced that there were pests circling my house like enemy squadrons waiting to attack.