New beginnings in Baltimore

Hello, world!

I’m Emily, and this is my garden:

ZRecs is one of my favorite blogs. Since I don't have kids, I'm constantly sending their posts to my friends who do. (I know they really appreciate my ideas about how to do their jobs better.) I was so excited when Jeremiah and Jenni decided to share their gardening knowledge and experience with us in this new blog, and was thrilled when they asked me to participate.

Right now, though, like I said - that's all I've got. Well, okay, I also have this:

But that perennial bed, and our herb garden, both of which we've had for years, are extremely low-maintenance. When I have to remember to water, feed and tend plants, they often end up looking like this:

My husband Rob and I were forced to change our ways when we moved into our house in suburban Baltimore. We settled in in early March, when there was still snow on the ground. That spring, to our surprise, things started coming to life: hyacinth crowns poked out of the ground later that month, followed closely by daffodils and tulips. The tired azalea bushes and clouds of phlox were suddenly awash in bright fuschia and lavender. Climbing roses, peonies, and daylilies followed. At some point in June, we looked at each other and said, "I guess we'd better learn how to garden!"

We read a little, but mostly we learned the basics through experience: Weeding is a pain, mulching helps, watering keeps things from dying. We dug an herb garden right away, because we both love to cook with fresh herbs. We learned we were lucky, because our yard received long days of unfiltered sunlight that caused everything we planted to spring out of the earth at an alarming rate.

Our only real setback came when we tried to plant vegetables. Fresh tomatoes from the garden are one of my favorite childhood memories, so we put in a bunch of plants, as well as some jalapenos and eggplants. The latter two fared well, but most of the tomatoes were carried off by a pack of conniving squirrels. It was an epic battle. We tried everything: fences, nasty-smelling sprays made from garlic juice, scattering our cat's fur and parading her around when we thought they might be watching. Nothing helped. Every time I exited the house thinking, "I'd better pick that one before they do," I would find it deposited, half-eaten, on our doorstep. They were mocking us.

We were too disillusioned to try again. In the intervening years, however, our neighbor has cut down three large trees that we think were their main hangout spot. Meanwhile, Rob, an architect, has started a grad program in Landscape Design, and it seems a little embarrassing for us not to have a garden of our own. I'm reading Outwitting Squirrels, a hilarious book that was a gift from my parents. I'm making time to mourn the fallen fruits that have inspired me to try again, so that they will not have sacrificed themselves in vain.

So, here's to new beginnings: Squash, zucchini, onions, string beans, bell peppers, parsley, basil, nasturtiums, and yes, three kinds of tomatoes. Come on, little guys! There's a tough fight ahead.


MamaBird said...

Oooh, we are in DC. Those pesky rodents! Crazy pumpkin eating squirrels. We use something called RoPel, an organic bitter horrid tasting spray, to protect bulbs, but since I wouldn't want to eat it, the rats with fluffy tails made off with my tomatoes last summer too. Looking fwd to your solutions!