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Archive for the ‘Master Gardening’ Category

As many of you, my faithful readers, know-I wrote a book, entitled “A Year in My New England Garden”, a few years ago.  This is the story of how that came to happen.

Gardening has been an important part of my life since I was a kid living on Staten Island, one of the 5 boroughs of NYC.  It began when my mother decided she was going to become a “gardener”!

Her first venture was to plant some daffodils.  daffodils-1399483She knew they should be planted pretty deep in the ground, but she overextended that a bit, and when the flowers came up, the blooms were resting with their “chins” on the ground!  They had stretched about as far as they could and it didn’t allow them to get their blossoms farther than the soil surface.  It was pretty funny.  My mother NEVER made that mistake again (and neither did I!).

Her zeal to learn about how to do it right, brought her to membership into three different garden clubs.  She loved them…and boy!  Did she learn about gardening!

We had a very small plot of land around our house on Staten Island, but she filled it with beautiful, aromatic, and even tasty plants, although her passion was really for flowers.  There were climbing June roses, whose odor still bring me right back to my youth when I smell them today.  There were prize winning chrysanthemums, as well as proper daffodils, and other blooming bulbs, and perennials, etc.

She had my Dad build a pergola for her, that was a groaning board for honey-suckle vines.  We ate out there all summer long, right by the birdbath, surrounded by lovely plants of all sorts (and a TON of bees, I might add!).

Her garden clubs titilated her artistic bent and she soon began to make floral arrangements.  Those arrangements were so good that they were not only entered into the NY Flower Show, but she actually won prizes there for her endeavors.  We were very proud, but didn’t fully recognize the awesomeness of her talent until we were much older and realized just what she had accomplished!

She generated in me a life-long romance with flowering plants and anything having to do with them.  I, however, was never a “garden clubber”.  I have always found them to be more social than practical.  Perhaps that was just because where I lived tended to attract gardeners who cared more for the condition of their fingernails, than the soil those nails encountered!-7

At any rate, when I learned about the Master Gardener Programs available all over this country, I felt I  had found my calling!  I became a Master Gardener in Connecticut, where we lived at this point, and found my niche in helping new, or struggling gardeners be able to plant their daffodils right, the first time!

When my husband and I  retired to New Hampshire, I looked for a gardening “hot line” in vain.  At the time I arrived, they didn’t have one of those in my area (the boonies!)  So, I began a BLOG!

I worked on that blog for years, until we made the move to the Pacific Northwest, where we are closer to our daughter and her family, after years of living close to our sons.  (Don’t even ask why our kids all live a continent apart!)  I enjoyed the blog, and started a new one more appropriate for our new area.  I struggled with how I should approach it’s direction.

While struggling with that, I thought perhaps I should put some of my accumulated knowledge into a book, which is what I did.-1

It is essentially a collection of gardening vignettes followed by a gardening calendar.  It does tell about my New England garden, but a daffodil has the same needs in Seattle as it does in North Haverhill, NH and Wethersfield, CT.  Pruning is the same and the birds select their seed and backyards the same way.  Judging when to water depends on the plant, not the location in which you live!  So, although the book talks about a New England Garden…(I wish I had given it a different name.)  It really applies to ANY garden, and the stories are there for your enjoyment.  I’m hoping perhaps you give it a “look see”.  Perhaps you, or a gardener you know, might enjoy an inexpensive, yet information packed, gardening tome.

“A YEAR IN MY NEW ENGLAND GARDEN”

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I had a question from Marilyn, one of our gardeners here at Horizon House.img_3631  Her question was:

“Have you considered giving us your thoughts on what “gardening” means for you irrespective of you physical contact with plants, soil, and digging.”

That’s interesting.  No longer do I get my fingers in the dirt (or very rarely).  So, how can I consider myself a “gardener”?

Once I became a Master Gardener, I immediately began to help folks less knowledgeable than I, with their gardening questions.  At that time I was still gardening A LOT!  But, I manned a gardening Hot Line.  It was fun and I learned a ton more that way.  I looked up MANY questions, because I just didn’t know the answers.  I have learned that I will NEVER know enough!  Not only that, it changes!

I wrote a monthly gardening column in the Wethersfield Post, in Connecticut  where we lived at the time.  When we moved to New Hampshire, in 1992, I started writing a gardening blog  and have been doing that ever since.

I began to teach gardening courses for ILEAD (Institute for Lifelong Education At Dartmouth) in New Hampshire.  (ILEAD has now joined OSHER.)

Finally, I wrote a book entitled: “A Year in My New England Garden”.  It is for gardeners Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.29.58 AMeverywhere.  It has a gardening calendar, as well as fun gardening vignettes, that I accumulated over all those years of blogging and gardening.

So, I would have to say that my gardening is now a venture in helping gardeners everywhere.  Here at Horizon House, I have taken on the responsibility of Chair of the Gardening Committee, which has it’s challenges, but I truly enjoy…because I am still helping gardeners!

I hope that answered your question Marilyn!

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