Thanks for joining us this summer on our garden tour! This week will be our last week showcasing gardeners and gardens here on the Sprout Dispatch and we’ll close out the tour with Renee’s garden in North Carolina. I’ve been following her blog for many years now and have seen her garden and family grow. I hope you enjoy!
+Where do you garden and what is your climate like?
I garden in the North Carolina Piedmont, just outside Charlotte. We’re 7b so I can sometimes find a spot in the yard and get away with planting zone 8 plants. I think we’ve got a pretty moderate climate, but those from the north would not agree…especially on summer days when the temperature hits the upper 90s. In the winter we get a dusting of snow once or twice, but rarely anything deep enough to close the public schools.
+When did you first start gardening? How long have you been gardening at your current residence?
I’ve been living in the same house since 2001; it’s the house my mom’s parents built for their family, the house I spent the majority of my childhood in, and now shelters my own family. I love the symbolism of fostering healthy roots in the soil there. I started obsessively gardening around the time I started my blog (circa 2005). Before that I had a few houseplants and some favorite outdoor flowers, but nothing I really took care of. In a series of fateful events I switched jobs from being a record store clerk to a secretary for my pops, which left me with a lot of free time to browse the Internet. One day I found You Grow Girl, immediately bought the book, and dove into the (now defunct) forums.
+Which plants have been your favorite to grow? Most difficult? Any major plant losses that have bummed you out?
Since I take a fairly lazy approach to gardening, I don’t take my plants too seriously and I’ve lost just about one of everything. If I really want to grow something, I’ll try again and switch the area or try to pay better attention to the plants needs. Of course, my favorite plants are edible and medicinal perennials or readily self-sowing annuals. I want the plants to turn my yard into a self-sustaining food jungle. I did lose a Meyer Lemon tree that was several years old. Scale got to it towards the end of my first pregnancy and I wasn’t in the mood to battle it. One of these days I’ll find another tree that’s a good size and doesn’t cost a fortune. Another favorite is my Satsuma Orange. It’s a couple years old and I can’t wait for it to produce fruit. I don’t really think it’s supposed to grow outside here, but so far it’s pretty happy!
+What plants would you like to have in your garden if you could?
I’d love more fruit trees and more native plants. Nothing specific comes to mind, usually my process of “wanting” starts when I hear about a cool property of a specific plant and I’ll obsess over it until I find it.
Right now I’m concentrating on making sure my 3 month old is growing, which is pretty exciting. Oh wait, you mean plants? Well…with a 3 month old and an almost 4 year old, my gardening isn’t too crazy. The things that excite me are the new plants that have stayed alive with minimal care! Everything else is maintenance and a few minutes of weeding as time permits.
+Have you grown any edibles and if so what has been your favorite?
I do grow edibles and I love anything that surprises me by thriving like asparagus and sorrel, two plants that just do their own thing but keep on growing, year after year. I give them compost and they give me food. Root crops like carrots and potatoes are always a thrill because you can’t really see if they’re doing okay, then you pull ’em out and blammo! Vegetables! Also onions…I’ve tried onions for 3 years and this is the first year I’ve actually gotten large, bulbous onions that are much bigger than the sets I planted to begin with.
+Share anything else exciting in the yard!
Though I haven’t been growing as many annual vegetables this season (and those are what take up the majority of my garden beds) I’ve been playing outside a lot. Some of the most exciting things have been finding cool looking bugs, wildflowers that are new to me, and all of the birds that visit our feeders. Each new find creates an opportunity to learn about that particular plant or animal and share that knowledge with Mabel, my daughter. Plus I like to think that all these new discoveries are a sign that I’m doing something right by adding to the biodiversity of our yard.
Thanks for participating Renee! Please drop by her blog and check out the rest of her photos and say hello! Thanks again for reading throughout the summer here at Sprout Dispatch, we hope you’ll stay and continue to see how our own gardens grow throughout the coming seasons!