The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

A Gardener in the Making

11 Comments

I began this blog as a means of journaling the progress of my “garden in the making.” (Oh, and to “vent” my obsession with gardening so that friends and family would no longer have to hear my continuous gardening blabber – though I still blabber away.) Three years later, I am reflecting on how my garden has evolved.

As I reflect and plan, I realize that maybe

I am not making the garden so much as the garden is making me.

For instance, I decided I was going to use only organic means to create and grow my garden. So, now I am composting and this one process has led to more sustainable processes. Now I am recycling religiously and viewing each “object de trash” in a landfill. I have stopped buying sandwich bags and only use glass containers for storing food. I have stopped buying paper napkins and now use cloth – much more elegant at dinner I have to say. Even dryer lint is saved for nesting materials for the birds. And if I won’t use chemicals to treat my garden and lawn, why should I continue to use them in my household? Now I am using only vinegar, baking soda and essential oils to clean and maintain my house. I make my own laundry detergent. And why wouldn’t I use only natural ingredients on my face, skin, hair? Now I make my own shampoo. Now I rarely wear make-up. Now I only buy beauty products that are organic and preferably from a company with an enlightened business plan.

I decided that I was going to focus on native plantings as sources of food and shelter for wildlife and insects. Now I am a citizen scientist. I watch the birds. I watch the bees. Now I am a supportive member of Wild Ones and consider leading a new Wild Ones chapter right here in my town. Now my yard is a certified wildlife habitat. Now birds not only eat from my feeders but from my garden (which will be comforting if I decide to migrate south with some of the others come winter!). Now I have bees nesting in my garden. I never tire reading about, learning about, and observing these plants and creatures. It is so rewarding to take what I have learned and witness all these natural processes right in my own backyard!

And now I am writing about it here on my blog. Now I am taking more pictures than I ever have in my life. Now I am interested in photography and cameras and taking better pictures.

I decided to really practice watercolor painting and my growing garden is becoming my main subject … buds, blades, petals, leaves, berries, feathers, wings.

I decided to expand my gardening horizon and grow some of my own food. Now I am in love with my potager and homegrown, unbelievably fresh food. When I cannot harvest my own, I consciously purchase organic foods. Now my eggs are bought from the Amish farm, meat from the local farmers. Now I read every food label. Now I bake and cook most of my own foods. Now I am interested in prolonging the harvest with a hoop house, sprouting, preserving and canning.

Perhaps a better summary of my blog would be  

“A colorful tale of a garden and gardener in the making” 

You may see more posts on the making of the gardener as well as the garden in the future.

What about you? How has gardening changed you?

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

11 thoughts on “A Gardener in the Making

  1. Dear Violet Fern, I so relate to your words "I am not making the garden so much as the garden is making me." It is an ongoing journey of discovery. Growing as many native plants as possible and your food too . . . it is a way of life. The Good Life! ;>) One drawback to it all is that one feels as though one could never leave the land . . . as if ones roots have merged and entwined with the ones beneath the crusty earth. They are firmly attached to the heart and have widen the grower/gardener's way of seeing and being in nature. It is a deep and lasting connection. My life is richer for it . . . for as I have cultivated the land . . . the land has cultivated my soul. Thank you for all your sharings of your tender connection to your garden. Kindred spirits give in ways a garden cannot. ;>)

  2. Your grandmother had a beautiful name – how wonderful that you named your blog for her. Like you, when I think of how my garden has evolved I realize that I have been evolving, too – especially in a spiritual sense.

  3. Wish you every success with your new Wild Ones chapter. Birds will be glad if they can eat next door too!

  4. That was lovely, congratulations. In this part of the world it is easy to say but very difficult to do, and when you see someone without any thought or concern for the environment, you seem like going to do something bad to him/her! Meaning you see a lot of them, and plastics are used everywhere, which i also do because it is in the system. At least i conserve water, electricity and recycle a bit, though not fully. I hope many in the advance countries do like you, especially in cutting fossil fuel use mainly responsible for climate change, which actually is shared in bigger percentage by advanced countries. Let us save the planet!

  5. You wrote a beautiful post with very worthwhile aspirations and gardening goals that everyone should look into and follow in one way or another.

  6. Happy new year to you! I like your phrase "a gardener in the making". Though I have been gardening for years, that is exactly how I feel as well. I recycle relentlessly and compost all food waste. I wish my neighbors were more like me. So many of them do not have any blue bins on the curb come garbage day. It boggles my mind how they can continue to be so disrespectful of the environment. I like your vision board project. I lack space but I do have a vision binder labeled "ideas" where I file all my inspirational clippings.

  7. I can really relate to what you have said. I am proud to say that I now have a compost bin and use it faithfully. I even put out a clothes line. I am more of my natural world than ever before. I am amazed by all the birds that stop by our yard everyday. I am striving to be better and be more aware of my impact to the environment. Thanks for your inspiring words. I am your neighbor here in the north country by way of Watertown.

  8. I think it's a combination of the gardening and the writing about the gardening that tends to remake us. Thank you for sharing your journey; you're an inspiration!Eleanor

  9. Thank you so much for your inspiration! I am so glad to hear from others who enjoy and nurture the earth. We can change.

  10. I missed this post when you first published it, but I'm glad I came across it today! I congratulate you on the positive changes you have made in your garden and in your home. A healthier world can be made one gardener at a time! You are an inspiration to me, and I am sure to others as well.

  11. An update! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology does not recommend offering dryer lint as nesting material for birds: "Dryer lint from synthetic fibers becomes crumbly after it's rained on and dries. Some laundry detergents and fabric softeners may leave harmful residues. We don’t recommend offering dryer lint."Even though I use an organic, natural detergent I will not do this any longer. Instead I will add my dryer lint to the compost pile even though it may contain minor synthetic materials.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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