High on my list of 'favorite things' is time spent with my family including gardening with the grandchildren. Those of you who follow this blog have met Jon who assists me with my entries for the West End Fair, but were you aware that he has been my gardening helpmate since he could walk? That's Jon pushing the wheelbarrow, 'helping' Pappy and brother, Harry, plant a tomato. Two of my dear blogger friends write about their best loved things: Jo at Through the Keyhole in England compiles a monthly post she calls 'Raindrops on Roses', and Beth from Plant Postings in Southern Wisconsin writes an annual list with one favorite thing for each month of the year. Thank you Jo and Beth. Here are ten favorites that I picked:
1. My family
|Jon making a miniature garden (top and bottom right). Picking red beets (bottom left)|
|Clockwise from top right: First 'Best of Show.' Jon's baking entry for the Fair. Handsome teenager|
Although Jon is now a teenager, nearly 15 (where did the years go?), he assures me he will continue to help. I am truly blessed.
2. Early morning in my garden
During the growing seasons, I go outside as the sun is rising and stroll around my gardens, to see what is growing. It's the best time to harvest vegetables and pick flowers for indoor arrangements. I make note of tasks for the day. I choose a favorite seat in one of the gardens to meditate and read. I feel both tranquil and energized.
|Love the garden bathed in the golden glow of the rising sun.|
|The swing in the Serenity Garden is a great place to start the day.|
3. My favorite plant
My favorite plant depends on the day and the season. Some flowers, such as the daffodils in spring, the giant allium, 'Globemaster' that spans spring and summer, the 'Peace' rose in June, and hollihocks in mid-summer are perennial faves. New favorites last year were foxglove 'Foxlight Plum Gold' and anemone 'Honorine Jobert.' I wonder what new love 2018 will bring.
4. Garden critters
My garden is a wildlife habitat and I welcome many critters: birds, bees, butterflies and all pollinators, of course. I'm not too fond of the black bears because I'm afraid, but I tolerate deer and other 'destructive' animals. They have to survive too. Let's not forget my best gardening buddies, Dude the miniature horse, and Billy the goat.
5. Flower shows, country fairs, and other people's gardens
Every year I try to visit as many gardens as possible. My favorites are the cottage gardens in England. However, we have wonderful gardens in the US, too, and in 2017 I took every garden tour I could. Some of the best public gardens are in the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia is within driving distance, so H.H. and I travel there frequently. In 2017, we also went to a couple of country fairs and two amazing flower shows.
|Grafton Cottage, an iconic cottage garden in England|
|Top: Northview Gardens, b. left: Philly Flower Show, right:White Flower Farms|
6. A new garden book
I have well-over 100 gardening books in my home library. There's something special about holding a new book for the first time, anticipating the wonderful illustrations and beautiful words within. For Christmas, my son gave me A Natural History of English Gardening by Mark Laird. It is a beautiful and informative addition to my library.
7. Writing about gardening
I have written a monthly gardening column for the Pocono Record for nearly three years now. I've published a blog entry every couple of weeks for ten years. I've been writing a book forever -- I sometimes think I enjoy the process too much and just need to let go of it. This year, I promise.
|My favorite writing spot|
8. Learning about gardening
Being a master gardener, I am required by Penn State to take a minimum of ten hours of continuing education each year. I would do it even if it wasn't compulsory as it is definitely one of my favorite things. I love to attend conferences and gardening programs. This year I am anticipating the Garden Writers Convention in Chicago and the Penn State Master Gardeners' Conference in Pittsburg. Much of the joy is meeting with like-minded gardening friends from around the country.
|Jenny Rose Carey showing how to make a roof garden|
9. Garden photography
I love taking pictures even though I sometimes feel I'll never get the hang of my DSL camera. I use a Cannon Rebel. This time of year, my garden photography focuses (pardon the pun) on backyard birds.
10. My potting shed
Finally, I LOVE my potting shed, especially with the coldframe that was added this year. The shed is the focal point of the kitchen garden and my sanctuary. Inside I have gardening books, a rocking chair, my hedgehog and other collections, and a large potting bench, as well as tools and gardening essentials. It's a bit crowded in there, but that's OK.
What are your favorite things?
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