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A Glimpse Into My Therapeutic Garden

I recently made the decision to apply for the 2018 online Master Gardener cohort and then I started to think, “Why not horticultural therapy?” My husband and I first started a garden because, when we were struggling, buying produce was not top priority. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can use your SNAP (food stamp) benefits to purchase seeds and plants. We immediately found that home grown produce was much more flavorful than store bought. We started with tomatoes and peppers and expanded to other vegetables and eventually surrounded the garden with fruit trees.

I love when the cherry, peach, and pear trees are in bloom in the Spring. This is a shot of a peach tree before the leaves are affected by leaf curl. A local farmer told us to use Maxsea as a foliar spray, which resulted in a handful of fruit this year. A small improvement is still an improvement I suppose.

Without fail, we overplant zucchini and tomatoes each year. I end up canning tomatoes every other year. Luckily we have chickens that can consume what would normally go to waste and they product nice, orange yolks. This year, we planted a tomatillo plant and I look forward to making some green salsa in addition to pico de gallo.

In early March or so, I purchased this lilac and the petunias. I wish the petunias still looked as beautiful as they did before I scorched them. No matter how hard I try to avoid gardening casualties each year, I get too ambitious and something gets neglected.

On my back porch, I have a wheelbarrow with lettuce and kale. The lettuce has since bolted, but the kale is bountiful. I enjoy using it as I would spinach and kale chips are a healthy snack my daughter says “Yum!” to.

My all-time favorite flowers are lilies — of all kinds. I can’t wait until Fall when I can dig up the bulbs and plant double the flowers next year. Supposedly you can cut them back and leave them over the winter, but I suspect they’ll be a little crowded in the wine barrels in the Spring if I choose to do that. I’d like to add some Stargazers and Tigers next year for sure.

Lilies are probably the easiest flowers to grow, aside from sunflowers. Here’s mine. I planted a variety of sunflowers in this little patch with a zucchini, pumpkins, and watermelon. I cannot wait to see the Autumn Beauty and Velvet Queen flowers emerge.

Of course, no garden can be complete without roses. The pink roses were labeled as “Tropicana,” although I am not entirely convinced that it is accurate. The other rose is “Just Joey” and it’s award winning for obvious reasons. It’s GORGEOUS! I have a Joseph’s Coat climbing rose and a Don Juan climbing rose that is just starting out (they both came in a dinky four inch pot) that I cannot wait to train on an arbor.

Of course, a gardener’s home wouldn’t be complete without a few house plants. I have a Boston Fern, a polkadot plant, Philodendron, and this Dieffenbachia, which really makes a statement. My mom had dozens of plants in our house back in Korea (and probably even now in Texas), which she was immensely proud of. One of her Philodendrons were incredibly long and wrapped around almost the entire living room.

Someday, I would like our property to be fully landscaped, but we’re making improvements little by little. The vineyards make an incredible backdrop, minus the train that rumbles and honks obnoxiously twice a day. I want to create my own peaceful sanctuary. Perhaps a rose garden with a few benches and arbors strategically placed throughout, and grapes, and azaleas planted along the chain link fence, some blue clematis, a separate herb garden, and bountiful fruits and vegetables. My challenge right now is to keep the deer out of our yard.

There’s no denying the therapeutic value of beautiful things. Art is inspired by nature and living beings.

What does your sanctuary look like?

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