God has given us an absolutely amazing world!
Genesis 1:11 ESV…And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
I have been blessed to live here in the United States of America, and life has moved us several times. We have lived in a few different climates with a number of different growing conditions.
My journey started in northern Indiana. As a kid I tried my hand at vegetable gardening and had some success… and alas, some failures; but everything is a learning experience! And of course I did a science fair project for school which involved plants and the affect different music has on them.
When I got married (thankfully to a man who also enjoys gardening!) we bought a small house with a LOT of river rock around everything. The first thing we did was plant a garden behind our garage. It did very well!
We proceeded to move rock and put in flower beds and an herb garden. To become more knowledgeable about gardening, I went through classes and became a certified Master Gardener. I learned a lot in those classes and volunteered with the ‘Hot Line’ and ended up writing up some of their newsletters. My husband and I also became members of the Rose Society in Indiana. Sticking with the whole ‘flower theme’ I then attended the American Floral Art School in Chicago, so that I could become a floral designer. My first job was in Illinois, but then soon after that we ended up moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The town we lived near was pretty small (@2,000) and I was blessed to find a job at the flower shop, owned by folks who became like a second family to us. We bought property there in the U.P. and cleared enough trees to have a small home built. It was a blank canvas for my landscaping pleasure!
Rhododendron ‘Nova Zemba’
Thankfully, where we lived was tempered for the North and we were able to grow a type of hardy rhododendron and some holly. The growing season there was still only about three months, so our vegetable gardening was always a challenge. I must say, we concentrated more on the flowers and landscape plants while living in the U.P. We lived and gardened there for 12 years, then moved all the way out to Oregon!
Oregon is a different world compared to Indiana or Upper Michigan! It is a wonderful world for gardening! The weather in Oregon where we lived was almost bone dry in the summer and rainy all winter, but spring was like nowhere else…it started in February and things bloomed all year long in Oregon. We planted a camellia that bloomed every Christmas! We started a vegetable garden again and it was wonderful. There are so many options for landscaping and flowers in Oregon-hey, rhododendrons grow wild in the woods there! In fact lots of the plants I bought and planted in Michigan grew wild in Oregon! Oregon is also where our son, Josh, first started becoming interested in gardening.
Our first little pond
After living in Oregon for about 5 years, we ended up having to move to Georgia and lived there for 11 months. Georgia got rain all year. It got rain so hard sometimes I’d never seen anything like it before! We never planted a vegetable garden in Georgia, but we did some minor landscaping changes. Probably the best part of Georgia is all the Crape Myrtles-they’re beautiful! I also was able to grow gardenias which were amazing! Georgia is a LOT more hot and humid than anything we were used to.
We moved back to Oregon for a year, and then my husband’s job situation took us to northern Wisconsin. Our house here in Wisconsin was three years old with trees and grass, so basically I had another blank slate to work with but at least this time I also had a lawn.
We’ve enjoyed doing some raised bed gardening and lots of landscaping! I was also able to do something I’ve wanted to do for years… I got my yard certified by National Wildlife as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat!
Our son met his wife here in Wisconsin, and Yay! …she also likes to garden! We had their wedding in our yard, which led to us putting in a small waterfall/stream and pond…a new and fun gardening experience!
So, for me, gardening started with vegetables, then houseplants, then landscape plants and flowers, and finally landscaping for wildlife-especially the birds. I guess you could say it’s been a growing experience! And of course, you’re never done learning and growing! I’m no expert, but I love God’s creations and am thankful to Him for every day!