There is a beauty in plants and flowers. It varies by the day and the light and the growth. The old saying “Stop and smell the roses” carries much wisdom. To take time to not only smell but appreciate with the eyes and touch with the hands brings a special peace. I believe it relaxes and heals. Nature is amazing like that.
I think I’ve always been attracted to botanicals. When I was a baby my parents liked to place me on their veranda for some fresh air. The veranda was home to potted plants and flowers and apparently one day I decided to grab some coleus leaves for a snack. Luckily they caught me! Growing up I admired my Dad’s green thumb. We always had a fair variety of blooming annuals and perennials including roses, hydrangea, and tulips despite the fact that our yard was teensy-tiny. We even had a peach tree that gave us juicy sweet peaches every summer.
I inherited my Dad’s propensity for beautifying my outdoor space with flowers and foliage. When we moved to beautiful Hunterdon County, NJ over twenty years ago my plant-able outdoor space grew astronomically. Over the years countless flowers, shrubs, trees and ornamental grasses have been planted on our property. In the flowerbeds, pots on our deck, along the perimeters of our property line, near our mailbox at the driveway entrance. We grew two peach trees from peach pits from my Dad’s original tree as well as two varieties of apple trees. And as my husband loves trees, we added a purple plum tree (not fruit bearing), oaks, maples, pines and more recently tulip tree saplings to add to the pre-existing multitude of native trees that were already on the property.
This year we finally established a proper vegetable garden. Previously we’ve grown potted tomatoes, peppers and herbs. One year we grew potatoes as a result of our older son’s science experiment testing the effect of various music styles on plant growth (he discovered they seemed to respond best to classical music). But hubby has long wanted a real bona-fide and properly enclosed vegetable garden. I’ve resisted the endeavor fearing it would amount to a frustrating fight with critters, which we have many here in Hunterdon County…deer, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossum not to mention the countless insects and plant diseases to fend off. Finally I gave in. Since he’s now semi-retired I thought it would give him something to do, plus the neighbors next door have a flourishing vegetable garden so it was getting harder to fend him off!
Well he built it. He prepped it, he planted it and he watered it. I helped here and there. And it’s definitely been a learning experience but overall it’s been good. I’ve been perplexed and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. One thing that wowed me was when the squash plants bloomed. And later the eggplant. They both had gorgeous flowers. Who knew?! The tomatoes and peppers I’d previously grown bloom with tiny flowers, nothing to get excited about. I had no idea that vegetable plants can do more than feed you. Very pleasant discovery and another reminder of how amazing nature can be, which of course points to how gracious its Creator is.
So our rookie year has been good to us. We were even blessed with a good peach harvest, which we haven’t had in many years due to the afore-mentioned critters. Not sure if it was thanks to a reduced squirrel population or the bird-scaring reflective rods I hung up as a “nothing to lose” attempt. But we got peaches, as juicy and sweet as we used to have years ago. Very grateful.