Monday, October 22, 2007

Gardening in Iraq

I have been blessed to live in many different countries around the world courtesy of my Army career. Among them are: Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and of course, the United States. I have visited many more and have always looked for gardens to visit while traveling. While in Iraq in 2003, all I thought about was going home to my family, and gardening. I was not looking for gardens to visit I can assure you. Most of Iraq looked like this picture above, but can you believe there are gardens in Iraq? I have not posted a picture because I want you to imagine fields of huge sunflowers growing in the sun in July. Arbors of grapes and rose bushes six feet high loaded with the most beautiful hybrid tea roses I have ever seen. All that sun and heat was very good for growing plants. I bet most people don't know this side of Iraq but there are (or were) gardens in Iraq.

According to some minor research on Iraq courtesy of, I found only 12 % of Iraq is arable. Arable means land that can be used for crops. I guess the northern part of Iraq, where I saw the sunflowers, roses and grapes was arable. I know the roses and grapes were not used for crops, but I am thinking the sunflowers were. For those of you from the west a field full of sunflowers is probably not all that special, but for this East Coast girl living in Iraq-a field full of sunflowers was heaven. Gardening transcends all boundaries.

in the garden....


  1. So what is that four legged thing growing in the garden? ha ha... I have been to many gardens but I am not going to ever see one in Iraq... No thank you! I am glad you were able to see the bright spots in a place that has been filled with such horror for so many years.

    I enjoyed the fields of sun flowers while in Germany. When we first moved into our house, a friend from Kansas sent us some sun flower seeds to plant. The darn squirrels dug them up and ate them! Last year we had one grow in the middle of one of my planters where a squirrel had buried it for a winter meal. It was as if they felt bad about taking my seeds so they gave me a flower filled with seeds in return. I left it for the birds to enjoy which they did!

    Someone plants a small garden of sunflowers near us every year. I make sure to drive that route often so I can check them out during their blooming season. I don’t know why, but sunflowers put a smile on my face…

  2. I am not sure what type of lizard this is, but it was harmless as I don't know of anyone being bitten by one. I never got close enough to these creatures to find out!

    I had forgotten about sunflowers in Germany. Thanks for reminding me! I love them in my garden because they attract birds. I usually do not purposely plant them (except the perennial type), but I sprinkle bird seed out in winter and hope they germinate come spring. A surprise like the squirrels leave for you.