This summer of 2020 has not been the usual fun in the sun.We have all had to find ways to cope with the containment, and stress of living in a pandemic. Myself, I am gardening in pots on a deck. I am in a different growing region now, and have limited experience gardening here. I can say COVID- 19 combined with Quarantine, has given me lots of time to get into it! One of the great things I have come to enjoy gardening this way is being able to move things around easily.Sitting at my computer working on the deck, being able to rearrange the pots, is a creative way for me take a break.
A completely different arrangement of color and texture a living canvas. The birds, bees, and butterflies seem to have no complaints to my rearranging and we all coexist pleasantly.
Nature helps me manage my stress. I have always gardened. It started with my small rock lined marigold gardens that my Mom helped me with and seemed to just keep growing. Every Spring I do some kind of planting. I have had three huge gardens with fruit, vegetables and perennials . One was in the country and was large enough to feed the family all year. Others have been in various towns and cities. I recently attempted to naturalize a city lot with wild flowers so that I did not have to maintain a lawn. Everything I had learned about perennials and the local wildflowers allowed me to do a pretty good job. Cities can be tricky when you choose this approach, as some neighbors think you are just growing “weeds”. It is hard to think of beautiful flowering plants as weeds, but a lot of people are very attached to seeing grass. And a green lawn lovely to look at ,takes a lot of water and time, while doing nothing for the bees, dragon flies, butterflies, and other essential insects and birds that are buzzing around looking for nectar.
I have always grown pots with annuals. Petunias with lobelia found their way to my patio or front porch in big pots. Currently I am in a living situation with no ground to plant in at all and a nice deck.
Pots are the only way I can garden. One of the problems with pots and decks is drainage. You have to make sure every pot is off the wood on legs or on a stand so that the deck does not rot. We have a lot of heavy rain in Maryland and the humidity can make it difficult for things to dry out. I have used terra cotta “pot feet” and they have been very useful here. One of the good surprises from last year was that all of my herbs grew back after a cold winter in pots on the deck. I did not know that would happen. Also my lavender and roses returned. The hibiscus and lemon verbena I brought inside as house plants for the winter have done just fine going outside again. Basil has loved the hot sun and I have had a great crop. Last year I did not harvest in time and it molded . I have kept a better watch on it this year .The basil crop has provided lots of dried and frozen fresh basil and several jars of pesto.
A great Tip: If you have an abundance of fresh basil. Pick and clean the leaves and allow to dry. Put individual leaves on a tray that will fit into your freezer and quick freeze. It will take only about 30 minutes. Take the tray out and put the frozen leaves into ziplock and put back in the freezer. In the winter when you want the fresh taste of basil add the individual leaves and enjoy.
If you have a chance next summer go wild on your deck and plant lots of pots for the bees and butterflies and your peace of mind. This project has helped to kept me sane during this very stressful summer, and provided some respite for my partner. I hope you can enjoy some outdoor space and sunshine. Thanks for the visit.
When the heat of summer finally hits, it is an adjustment for folks here in the Northwest. We want to swim in the lake and just kick back. But regular life has a way of sticking around and you now have to do everything in very HOT dry weather. I remembered that my car air conditioner was broken just about the time I was ready for work and the inside of my car was 101! Everybody wants water and cool drinks and a place to get out of the heat. Birds gather around the sprinkler and the cat lays on the cement patio stretched out on a wet area of shade. These are the days we all dream about during the dark and cold winter. Hot days come on quickly and seem to only last until you are getting used to the new routine. Closing all windows and drawing the curtains keeps out the heat.
The garden grows so fast you can hardly keep up. It is too hot to cook, so you nosh on fruit, eating as many cherries, strawberries and raspberries as you can. Hot meals seem to be part of winter. I salute the glorious heat, and revel in the majesty of the butterflies, dragonflies, bees, flowers and an abundance of fresh food! With Gratitude in my heart, I count my blessings and post this to my blog!