Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mom's Vegetable Garden

Don't let the hydrangea fool you! This post is about a vegetable garden-with some ornamentals. My grandmother was an avid gardener who planted this hydrangea. This hydrangea is the mama of my hydrangea down here in Tennessee, and just happens to grow in my mother's vegetable garden so that is why I included it in this post. It is just now blooming in Maine.

My grandmother initially planted this hydrangea many years ago. At that time the now vegetable garden was strictly an ornamental garden. And this garden has an ideal spot on the east side of my mother's home over the septic field. It is in a bed surrounded by natural stone and somewhat raised. The raised elevation could have something to do with my mother hauling in 7 yards of loam; which went a long way to get the vegetable garden on its way.

My mother is handicapped and can barely walk, so you all know what a chore making this garden had to have been. When I arrived in Maine it was so tidy, neat and beautiful. Radishes are huge, watermelons are growing, the marigolds add lots of color, and those cool pea stakes also add some color and whimsy. While checking out the garden my sister-"I don't know why ANYONE would ever want to garden!" informed me they had all saved the front perennial garden for me to fix up. No problem! Fortunately the ground in Maine was soft and loamy, despite not having rain in several weeks. The weeds came up easily and the new perennials went into the ground quickly. I also added some old perennials and planted another hydrangea for my mother in her new perennial garden. The recent rains my mother has received in her neck of the woods in Maine has probably helped all the plants along their merry way.

I did help out a bit in this garden too though. Here is a longer view of the garden. Isn't that loam lovely looking? And look-no weeds! They worked hard to get rid of the weeds before we arrived in Maine. Did it have something to do with me coming Mom? I picked up some hay bales for my mother, laid the newspapers and mulched the whole garden. Actually, I must confess, the Jimster did it all with a bit of supervision from me. He was so happy to help out! And that is really what this garden has represented. My sister-"I don't know why ANYONE would ever want to garden!" , my daughter and her boyfriend and numerous other family members have all contributed to making this garden successful and beautiful. I hope it gives my mother many years of pleasure-and lots of good healthy food! It has sure served to give the family a common goal and purpose.

in the garden....


  1. What a beautiful garden. And it's so nice that so many of your family has had a hand it it.

  2. Tina,

    I have wanted to see Jean's garden and I knew it would be lovely...It is. She is a fortunate mother to have you all as garden companions! I sort of knew it wasn't easy for your mom to get around but you can't tell from her garden! Wonderful, healthy looking and that loam! Sigh! Did you bring the loam back here for all of us with not so good Tennessee soil!

  3. Jean, you have a beautiful Garden! I love the way the family pitches in to help out. That is what family is all about! What a great family project. I bet even "I dont know why anyone would ever want to garden" nibbles a fresh veggie or two with those yummy lobsters. LOL...

  4. That's really a beautiful vegetable garden, Tina--and like Gail, I'm so jealous of that loam! Someday Salix and I will grow veggies again--but right now, I can't even keep the rabbits off my patio peppers (who says chili is a repellant?)

  5. I forgot to say, look at all those woods and you dont have a critter problem in the veggie garden???

  6. Wow 7 yards! That's a ton or two of work, but it must be worth it since the garden looks great. I'm with Gail, we could use some good loam instead of the clay!

  7. Good morning all! It is a positively splendido day in Tennessee today. No humidity and rather cool-heaven for gardening; which I must do. Just a few plants then onto painting the room.

    Cindy, Thanks! Considering how handicapped my mother is, she really does need family around creating those memories. It is nice.

    Gail, I should've taken a pic of her 20x20 honeysuckle tree with hostas ringing it. It was right full of berries. So beautiful. The veggie garden is just a small part. I had to be stingy with my pics while on vacation. I can't believe it lasted all that time and I did get more than I expected. Next time I will get more. That loam is truly the best!

    Skeeter, Oh yes! My sister who can't see why anyone would ever garden informed me she weeds so she gets to eat fresh veggies too. I took a picture of her house-not a plant in sight. What a sad sight!
    She planted a few irises to hide her well cap. They are great and I dug some for my garden. I will think of her when I do and how she STILL doesn't want to garden even with the beautiful irises in her front yard. I will let Mom answer you on the critters.

    Cosmo, That loam is awesome. No loam in VA? Yes, you two should do a veggie garden. Put a good rabbit fence up. I have one but the dogs do the trick too. Chili, you are always funny!

  8. Dave, Yes indeed! This loam was so soft that even without rain for several weeks I could dig in the soil. It is lovely and soft. Good drainage in Maine. The only thing 'Mainiacs' complain about is too many rocks, kind of like us a bit but the nice soil makes for it.

  9. Skeeter- My Mimi and I put the marigolds around the veggies to keep the critters out. I don't think she has had any issues since, but there are ALOT of snakes in the rock wall that surrounds the garden and you have to be careful walking through the part that is not yet really a part of the garden. Terri-Lynn may not like gardening, but she enjoys the time that it gives her with the rest of us out there working and she does it without to much complaint for her mother. Very nice of her. I myself love to garden and find it very relaxing. We laugh and tease alot when we are out there together. My boyfriend hand made all the tomato cages for my Mimi out of old wire fence, that was hard work and he had plenty of cuts from doing it, but his little girl loves going there so we all go when he has her and have a great time. I take all the radishes, though I have not eaten to many of them my guinea pigs love the greens if they aren't really big yet...
    Update Bella-Blood work showed nothing wrong in that arena. Told to watch for her to poop and make sure she ate...I was told to take her in two days if she doesn't poo for x-rays, but they feel she'll poo once she starts eating again.

  10. Christine, I have marigolds planted in my flower garden and spotted Peter/Paula nibbling on the yarrow right next to it! Maybe my bunny's nose does not work! LOL... I spotted another tiny snake while mowing the other day. It was a bit unnerving as I have never seen one like that before so need to find out if poisonous or not... Be careful even a safe snake can have a painful bite! Ouch...

    Glad to hear Bella is fine in the blood work department. But the not knowing can be so frustrating though. My cat Skeeter had issue with constipation in his older years. We had to give him Laxitone to ease things for him. I still miss my little boy. Hang in there and maybe you will be celebrating a poop soon!

  11. The garden looks great! It must be hard for your Mom not to be able to garden like she wants to. A lot of heavy lifting and bending that gets harder on all of us every year.

  12. Hi Tina --I love the hydrangea. They remind me of big fluffy snowballs --only with color:0) Your mom has a very nice garden and I like the fact that everyone helped out --I LOVE to include all my kiddos when I am doing outside work:) They might not always want to be there but with some encouragement they pull through. And, it is beautiful outside today --we just came back in from a morning outside. Guess I better get some work done --have a great day:0) Oh Skeeter --I won't tell Sidekick you found another snake --hahaha --he'll probably just leave home without me since I haven't taken him to see you, hehehe. Can you see him now --backpack on walking slowly down the road --on his way to Skeeters:0) To see her snakes, lizards, bugs and toads --and deer and bunnies too:0) Ciao!

  13. You are too funny Anonymous! I did not get a pic of that one. He was moving too quickly. I will pass along (email) a picture I snapped yesterday of two bunnies and the deer eating together! Not really Blog quality but the kiddos will enjoy and especially my future Biologist Bud Sidekick... LOL… I can see him now, stick on pole with pillow case full of cheese crackers and juice boxes! Critters will be following him as if he were the Pied-Piper! LOL

  14. Christine, Those marigolds were so pretty! Snakes in the garden are good too. No one has been bit. Jimmy sure liked the one he caught the day we were leaving. Silly guy thought he should bring it to Tennessee. We convinced him no.

    Skeeter, No poisonous snakes in Maine. That is a good thing. Be careful down there.

    Marnie, Gardening is so therapeutic and unfortunately we do get to a point it gets too hard. It is good to have family and friends to help out for sure.

    Anonymous, He can only go to the third mailbox.... I had p/b and jelly-the homemade strawberry kind you gave me. It was yummy! Very good!

  15. Beautiful veggie Garden Tina. I love the rich loamy soil she has in it. I am envious, because I have this horrible clay that takes a long time to amend and it still will never look that rich! Great job on helping her get her perennial bed going. I love those whimical pea stakes too.

  16. Tina your mom has a lovely garden. I haven't seen that loamy soil for a long time. Very sandy here. The marigolds look like they are shining, as glow in the dark. I love the beautiful blue hydrangea. Seems that color is more predominate. I am use to the all white "snow balls" when I was a kid.
    It sure is nice to have family being together & helping Mom. Parents always need that. Most kids seem to forget who fed, clothed, bathed & in general took care of them.

  17. Thanks everyone. It is not a great garden by all of your standards but in my shape I am happy with it. I even take my wheelchair in it. I used to garden and had a great perennial bed a a big veggie garden but gave it up over 10 years ago. However, since Tina started her blog and I also read others, I just had to have another garden!!! It does take a lot out of me but I also do have a LOT of help. Thank God for the fact that I do have great kids and grandkids!!!! Thanks all. I did do most of the planting myself
    and do get in it nearly every day for a while but all the hard work of getting the 7 yards of loam and spreading it was done by others. Thanks Jay, Christy and Terri-Lynn!!

    Thanks to Roses and Lilacs, Cindyc, Cosmo and Perennial Gardener, gardends and family is the best!!!! You all have much better gardens that I do so it really means a lot.

    Thanks Gail, you always know just the sweetest things to say.

    Skeeter, Terri-Lynn does like some of the veggies but no lobster for her. She does not eat much meat or fish. I did put the mariagolds there to help with critters as we do have many in the woods but as Christy said, no problem so far, knock on wood. I used to have deer eat the flowers of my phlox in the front yard. One time when I was still on the ambulance crew I had a call and was running across my lawn to the fire barn to get the ambulance and
    I was 20 feet from a deer muching away and did not even see it (I was just intent to get to the fire barn). Everyone in the house was yelling at me about the deer. In fact, if I remember right, you were home at that time Tina.

    Dave, the 7 yards was a lotta work and I am very grateful for the hard working crew that did it all and also very gratefull for the fact that we do have very good soil in Maine but I can tell you I will never buy it from the same guy again as it was not your usual good soil that is in Maine.

    Tina, I guess it had been several weeks since we had rain. IT HAD BEEN 4 MONTHS!!!!!! I have NEVER seen that happen before in Maine. Last week we got an inch and half and in the last 24 hours we got another inch and half so the garden is looking good now!!! Will be eating tomatoes before long and I can't wait. We do have a lotta rocks but they do help keep the soil warm also so you just get rid of what you do not want.

    Christy, Jay did work hard on the tomato cages and for the life of me I do not know what happened to the ones I had. You know me, I never get rid of any thing. But I think he worked a lot harder on moving all that loam!!!

    Anonymous, that is a lovely Hydrangea that my mother had planted years and years ago. She passed away over 20 years ago and it had been there a few years before that. I got up one morning and got a lovely surprise in the fact that Tina had picked 3 of the blooms and put them in a vase on my computer desk!! Was'nt that sweet of her?

    Thanks Lola. The Marigolds have done very well but I do need to deadhead them again. Family is the best!!!

  18. Hi guys,
    Moms garden does look really good, it was all done before I got there. I offered Christy to come do mine! HA! Nice pics of ME, fact I think one pic has a house we used to live in.

  19. PG, Loam is nice! I wish I had some instead of this dead ole clayey stuff.

    Mom, You wrote a book! You did a good job. I hate to break it to you, but those hydrangea blooms came from my new hydrangea. They were so heavy I cut them off so the plant would travel better coming south. Way more than three blooms too. I hope they dry nicely then you can give them to Dawn.

    Dawn, Good luck with Christy! She usually only comes in the winter when there is snow doesn't she? No gardening then. Too bad.

  20. Hello Tina, A great post on your Mother's garden. Jean your garden really looks nice. Tina's blog has motivated quite a few of us to get out and garden! For a few months I thought my back would keep me from ever doing anything in the yard again. I'm back to semi-normal and making a new garden! Thanks Tina for your professional advice, I got the soil prepared today.

    Hello to everyone! NINA

  21. Nina, Keep us posted on the status and I am glad to hear you got the soil prepared. Now comes the fun part! Planting!

  22. A beauuful garden and a loving family. Now that is a recipe for success. I love the hydranga. Billy's Mom has a lovley one in her front yard and I keep meaning to go by and get some cuttings. It should be carreid on now that she is not here to do it.
    I plant a lot of marigolds in my garden. I didn't have any pest this year but the stink bugs. They seem to atttack just my Creole tomato and left other things alone. I figured that was a good deal, so I let them have it. A trap plant, I guess you call it.
    I am sure you Mom appreciates tall the hard work and will spend many hours there.

  23. Eve, Thanks! Very nice comment and interesting on the stink bugs. Do take some cuttings. Hydrangeas are so easy to start from cuttings.

  24. Well the blooms sure were pretty Tina and I still have them and yes there was more that 3, there was 4 and I sure have enjoyed them.

    Thanks Nina and I know from all the pics Tina has showed us of your gardens that your grounds are very lovely so adding more will just make it even better!!

    Thanks Eve and I sure do appreciate all that my family has done to help me out and you really should get a cutting of mother in laws hydrangea. What a neat idea to have a trap plant!!!

  25. Nice rocks and loamy soil, they've got it made! ;)

  26. Hi Tina -another busy day -my friend is feeling a bit better but it will be awhile on recovery.

    Hi Skeeter --loved the pictures. Had all the crew getting giddy with delight over those deer and bunnies. I'm sure Sidekick would be pulling a wagon to put his collection of critters as he walked to Skeeters place, hahaha. He is somewhat of a Dennis the menace:0)

    Hi Jean --your family is great and I am so happy they are there for you. Your yard is great --and Tina is the best! I can only hope my kiddos turn out as great as she is:0) Don't be blushing Miss Tina --your our number one garden gal and a super friend. Glad you liked the strawberry jam --I prefer it over the blueberry:0)

    Hi Nina --glad to hear your out adding to your beautiful yard --it is encouraging when I read the blog and see all these beautiful yards everyone has --the weeding part --well, I'm still not so good at that, hahaha. Night y'all

  27. Wow, that is a beautiful garden. So neat too!

  28. Hey Mom, Dave and DP!

    Anonymous, You are too funny girlfriend. Thanks for your very high praise and I am glad you are my friend! Glad your neighbor is feeling better. You are a saint to care for her!

  29. Nina glad your back is letting you garden again. Isn't it nice to be out side & getting your hands dirty?
    Eve I have stink bugs all over my whole garden. Is there something I can do? Tina? Anyone? They are eating everything.
    I agree Dave, loam & rocks go together.
    Anonymous sidekick needs to be here with my 2 Dennis the Meanaces. They sure like to dig in the dirt. Haul it from one place to another with toy trucks. Sure glad your neighbor is better.
    Hi dp.

  30. Lola, I have no idea how to rid the garden of stink bugs. We haven't had problems with them here but if I did I think I would handpick them into a bucket of soapy water since they are eating everything. Seven dust might work too. They will move on quickly. I did get your pictures. I am not on my computer so will not be able to do anything with them until I get back on my computer-but will!