One summer day about 20 some years ago, while visiting my Dad, he was showing me his gardens and what he had planted that year. He loved his flower gardens and had a vegetable garden at the home I grew up in and tried at the home he and my stepmom bought after they married, but it was too shady for too much success. As we walked around from bed to bed, tucked between a couple of large azaleas, spilling blossoms from pots was a tipped wooden wheelbarrow. I loved it and commented on it to learn that he had made it himself. Fast forward a couple of years, and we had just sold the house that we had owned in Virginia Beach in preparation for the construction of this home in the mountains and we had moved into a rental house. He showed up in early summer, maybe around Mother’s Day with a wooden wheelbarrow he had made for me.
I followed his example and a similar idea seen in a magazine, spilling a partial bag of potting soil from the tipped barrow with potted blooming plants cascading out and filling the remaining space. The barrow was used in that spot for two years, and then it was time to divide and move. Much of the furniture was moved with me to an apartment in the mountains, the rest to an apartment for younger son and his Dad in Virginia Beach until his retirement and move here with me. The outdoor items and gardening tools moved to the barn on the site of our current home. The barrow got broken as smaller items were wedged in the truck. It was 15 months before I got into the new house and fall and winter were looming, so the little barrow sat in the barn, mostly forgotten and in need of repair. It was finally brought down to the house, and repaired, but my repairs were not strong enough to last but a couple of years. Last year, a better, sturdier repair was made and it was moved up on the front sheltered porch and held the houseplants summering out along with a pot of a flowering something.
We had finished re-staining the porch surfaces and putting down mats to prevent the pups nails from marring the newly re-painted porch.
Yesterday, the year’s dust was hosed off the floor and wooden porch furniture and the summering plants put out on one of the folding wooden shelf units by the front door. The little barrow was wheeled off the porch with the plan to again fill it will flowers to help dress up the front that took a beating this past winter between the cold, wind, and scratching hens. All of the Nandina bushes looked like they had died. All are beginning to show some new leafing out but mostly are brown masses of sticks. This evening, we stopped at Lowes and purchased a flat of red and one of while impatiens and a flat of the trailing sweet potato vines. When we got home, all of the empty terracotta pots and a left over hanging basket pot from last year were potted up and the little barrow again filled with flowers.
It is going to take some TLC while they settle in and grow to fill the pots and trail over the edges, but it brings back fond memories of my Dad and his gardens.
The morning in the vegetable garden yielded a harvest of radishes and asparagus. The 7 remaining hens are providing 3 or 4 eggs a day and as long as they do, daughter and I will be okay.
As there was already a bag of asparagus in the refrigerator, these and enough of the refrigerated ones were cut to quart jar length and the first seasonal preserve started, a jar of fermented asparagus pickles.
While out mowing yesterday afternoon, baby apples and baby Asian pears look plentiful. Unfortunately, there will be no peaches, plums, or figs. The peach and plum trees are leafed out, but their blooms came out just with a freeze. The fig bush just did not survive the winter at all. Figs not in a greenhouse are very iffy in this planting zone. I nursed it along for 4 years and got fruit for one.
We are looking at contouring the beds in front of the north facing porch, adding more shrubs while hoping the Nandinas come back and covering with a good layer of mulch. For 16 years we have discussed a walkway from the front stoop to the driveway, so that too is being considered. We may have to recruit a couple of strong grandsons to help get it done.