I remember when my passion for gardening started. I was 17 or 18 years old and for my birthday one year my girlfriend gave me 6 packs of herb seeds and a book on herbs. That’s all it took! I bought seed trays and took over our kitchen table as the kitchen was the only room with ‘good light’. I even fashioned mini greenhouses with coat hangers and plastic wrap. Most of the seeds grew and as they grew they took up more space in the kitchen. Boy, my parents were very tolerant and I thank them for that. I wonder if they knew that gardening would grow to be one of my favourite hobbies.
Fast forward about 14 years - now married and pregnant with our first child and all moved in to our new home in the new subdivision. A blank canvas!
Once the grass was in it was time to think of the first garden. It was to be against the front of the house which faced north-west. In my mind’s eye I pictured a broad border informal garden. Some flowering shrubs as a foundation with perennials and annuals to compliment. I would also plant kitchen herbs there. As for colours, blues, purples and yellows caught my attention.
I asked my husband to dig out the garden for me. I used a garden hose to mark the shape and advised him to triple dig. He looked at me and asked what I meant. As the ground was clay I wanted him to lift off the turf and place it in a pile. Then he was to dig a spades depth of topsoil and place it in another pile. Finally, he was to dig a spades depth of clay and place it one last pile. It took him almost a day and near the end he kept commenting that when he dropped dead I was just to fill in the hole over him!
Well, he survived to fill in the garden bed – in reverse order! It was fall and by preparing the garden this way, the clay now being on top would break down over the winter and the turf layer would compost under the topsoil layer. Great for the root systems of any plant planted the following spring.
All I needed to do next was to choose the plants!