Our Summer Garden in the Shenandoah Valley


pink bee balmFlowers bloom and veges grow in a riot of beauty, despite the heat, humidity, and rampant weeds I make efforts to contain. Feeble efforts compared to the power of Mother Nature. My goal is to have more veges and flowers than weeds, but the pretty weeds stay. Even the marginally pretty ones. Beds stretch like islands in our yard, filled with reseeding heirloom flowers, wildflowers, and perennials that return from bulbs and roots. Herbs are interspersed throughout. We also grow heirloom vegetables.

Salad garden.

Being an organic gardener means we have a lot of bugs, good and bad. Occasionally, I spray organic brews around to discourage rampant bugs and leaf fungus’s, but the cats were licking seaweed/fish emulsion fertilizer off the leaves. Not a good idea when it’s mixed with the brew. So I’ve quit using fish based fertilizer.. We also have our own farm compost to put around plants to mulch and nourish them. Worms are a gardener’s friend and they thrive in it.

flowers near garden

Our goal is to have a wildlife sanctuary. Butterflies flutter from blossom to blossom and we have bees. Not as many bees as we used to have, but some murmur on a summer’s day. Bumble bees buzz happily and hummers dart. Our resident fairy expert, my niece, Cailin, says the flowers fairies love our garden(s). So do the kitties, both the inside cats gazing out windows and the outside felines stalking around like miniature jungle cats.  Gold finches sing and eat seeds from the sunflowers that reseed each year. Most birds survive, despite the cats. Maybe because I feed the kitties, and they’re on the lazy side.

Siamese tabby mix cat in the window

This spring the local cat rescue people humane trapped and spayed our barn kitties, many of whom were dumped on us, and then reproduced. They fixed and returned 19 cats of various ages, and found homes for the kittens. Some cats claim the old red barn as their domain. Others love the garden and eat from the bowel outside the back door. I mix lysine with their food to boost their immune systems. They’re much healthier now. I’m also buying little cat houses to provide extra shelter in bad weather. Cats hide among the garden plants and shrubs, but when winter comes, they will need more cover. They love the kitty houses.

I think the secret to enjoying the garden, is to not let the failures outweigh the many joys found in the beauty amid the imperfections. ~

Siamese barn kitty in herb bed

“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897 (Thanks, Jessica)

“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” ~Hugh Johnson

“I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them. I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master. I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.” ~Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Barn with wild flowers

“Let nature be in your yard.” ~Greg Peterson, www.urbanfarm.org

“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” ~May Sarton

“I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day.” ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Cone flower

“Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.” ~Thomas Fuller,Gnomologia, 1732

“Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.” ~Michael P. Garofalo

***This is true. Nature improvises all over the place here.

Sunfower in back garden

Images taken by my daughter Elise. Pink Bee balm, Queen Anne’s Lace, Purple cone flower, heirloom lettuce, marigolds, zinnias, daylilies, coreopsis tinctoria, parsley, sunflowers, Siamese tabby mix cats.

7 responses to “Our Summer Garden in the Shenandoah Valley

  1. I love my Queen Anne’s Lace, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The photos are stunning, Beth 🙂 And I love the cats 🙂 Your gardens are definitely a labor of love! I enjoyed reading the quotes, especially the one written by, F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace. Thanks for sharing with us. What a lovely post, as always 🙂

    Like

  3. Just love seeing your gardens. They are so beautiful.
    Sue B

    Liked by 1 person

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