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The Dutch have a special word to describe “cosiness”, “comfort”, but it’s also something that goes a little beyond that. “Gezellig”. Pronounced correctly, it kinda sounds like you’re clearing your throat, but this blog explores its meaning by documenting experiences that make life richer and deeper; through food, family, and the making of a home.

Garden this past year

by amanda on October 9, 2013

Have been reflecting on the status of our garden this year (mind the dog).
garden1The home’s previous owners’ son had worked at the local nursery and over the years they lived here, he brought home all kinds of beautiful things. Problem was, they landed in a garden bed far from the house, where we never spend any time. As a result, the poor plants got choked down with weeds and anyway, whatever did well went unappreciated because it couldn’t be seen. When we built our addition, we rescued a large majority of them (mainly the perennial bushes and trees) and were able to arrange them in a new bed that surrounds the outside porch. By “we” I really mean hubby and father-in-law because at the time, I did not possess any kind of green thumb whatsoever and was on-my-knees grateful that they had the inclination and passion for doing it.

garden2Over time, this has changed. With the guys laying a basic structure down for the garden, I’ve been learning a lot about gardening by filling in the gaps myself. When I say “learn”, I really mean that I take out yet another plant from the old garden and plonk it into the new one, and then stand by and see what happens. I don’t feel too much pressure to make sure the plant is kept alive because I didn’t pay for it and as a result, I’m a lot more bolder than I would otherwise be to try things out. I even put in a whole bed of hostas in the front of the house (again, with my father-in-law in the cheering section). Just dig a section out of an existing one; make your new hole; and put in the new one! Water generously. It is really this easy? How come no one ever told me before? Why did I always think of it as some kind of black art that only the worthy ones could do?

garden3Now that the garden has filled in, I’ve been happy with the result. It’s small enough that I can maintain it without feeling like it’s taking up too much of my time. I wouldn’t say my green thumb has grown much larger, because I view it more like a design problem rather than work on it like it’s a passion. Does it have the right scale? Right balance of texture and colour? Admittedly, the latter is the one thing that still needs more work: some flowering plants for late-summer is likely what I’ll introduce next year. Some of the plants I’m thinking of adding (note that I intend to keep more or less to a trichromatic palette of burgundy, chartreuse and yellow, which seems to suit the house colours. I’m thinking Gaillardias, native grasses, and dahlias or black-eyed-susans, respectively.palette_flowers

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