Summertime is garden time in our family: fireflies and fairies live in the garden. We go out to the garden to pick tomatoes for salads and mint for mohitos, to lounge and drink cold home-brewed beer on warm evenings, to watch the bluejays and cardinals and finches and woodpeckers. The girls are learning to identify the flowers and birds; they pick fistfuls of pansies and Sweet William and we fill tiny vases and shotglasses for centerpieces at the kitchen table and their picnic table.
I started gardening in Iowa, the summer I moved into the adorable shack. While the tiny house was less than ideal in severe weather, it had a pretty (if neglected) perennial garden with an old-fashioned climbing rose, and a large space for a vegetable garden. I had almost zero experience gardening. My mom plants loads of pretty annuals every spring, sometimes she grew tomatoes in pots on the deck, and one year as part of a school science project we grew tomatoes from seeds that had been in space. But the Iowa garden was the first space that was really my own, and it was Iowa, after all: didn’t corn basically leap out of the earth in Iowa? Surely not much expertise would be needed to grow a few tomato plants in such rich, Midwestern earth.
This may have been my only assumption about Iowa that was absolutely correct: our gardens there were gorgeous, lush, with enormous tomatoes and fabulous lettuces and overflowing containers of pretty annuals. When T and I began house shopping after moving back to Michigan, we were hooked: space to garden was a must. Our gardens here have been through a variety of reincarnations; the latest version includes the fairy garden, of course, and a sitting area nestled in between raised beds with trellises for hops. My gardening style tends toward what I might call “crowded cottage garden:” I like my plants tucked in close to one another, leaves and blossoms overlapping.
I thought it would be fun to chronicle summer in the garden—here’s what’s blooming today: (photos after the jump)