Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some Frugal Gardening at the Farmhouse

When we first moved into the farmhouse, I quickly realized that there were many treasures waiting beneath the soil, as plants slowly began to emerge. Each new plant that appears is a little gift to me from the past. One of my greatest joys is discovering a new plant in the yard and then trying to identify it by name. I am particularly enjoying a book I borrowed from the library called, "Pass Along Plants". This book is full of information about old fashioned plants, especially Southern plants that are hard to find any more, and are often passed along to friends and relatives by way of cuttings and divisions. I just so happen to have several of these hard to find plants in my new yard.

One of my duties at work is to do land title searches, so of course I have researched the past owners of the farmhouse. By looking at the history of the house by checking old deed records, I discovered that at least three different ladies have had a hand in this yard.

This is the herb garden that I have been told was planted by an older southern lady named Ms. Albertha. In fact, in doing my research, which also includes death records, I saw that Ms. Albertha died at home in the farmhouse. When I am working in this herb garden, I can't help thinking about her and feeling some kind of connection. I would have liked to have known her. I think that instead of calling it the herb garden, I will call it Ms. Albertha's garden.

Now, mind you, this garden was grown up with weeds and it has taken a lot of work to clean it up and get into the condition that these pictures show. I purchased a few more herbs and some shade loving plants to add to the herbs that were already there. I also transplanted some plants from my previous home and planted some seeds, so I hope that all of these plants will grow and fill in making it a beautiful place to sit on the bench and just "be".

The frugal aspects of this garden are that many of the plants are perennials or are annuals that simply reseeded themselves. Already growing were Onions, Garlic, Mint and Sweet Cecily. The fern-like plants with the garden fairy in the middle are the Sweet Cecily. I have already been using the garlic in my cooking.

All of the big rocks were a legacy of Ms. Albertha. Some of them look like rocks from the mountains of North Carolina and are huge. The stepping stones came with me from my old home and since I needed one more, I used some nice bricks found on the property. In the South, it seems there are always bricks laying around somewhere if you live out in the country.

The Hostas and Spiderwort were brought with me from my previous home and will do great here in the shade. The Spiderwort is definitely a pass along plant, as it was a plant found in our family graveyard, divided and now this is the second home it has found a way to.

In this picture you can see the little rolling seat that I use when working with plants on the ground. Helps my knees immensely!

These two pots contain tiny plants that reseeded themselves from last year at my previous home. If you know what to look for and water the pots gently, usually you will see some tiny plants emerging that you recognize. The secret is to know the difference between weeds and plants and also to remember what was in a certain pot or bed the year before.

These tiny seedlings are Moss Rose (Portulaca). I had some of these plants in this same pot last year. There are so many that I will transplant some of them into other pots or beds by scooping them out with a spoon and transferring them to their new home.

These are impatiens. These will grow to fill this pot up and should thrive in this shade.

So as you can see most of the plants in this garden didn't cost ANYTHING! I did purchase a few small herbs and bedding plants, as well as a couple of seed packets.

I like to think that I am leaving my mark for some future southern belle to enjoy, when the new plants I am planting, as well as the plants from the past, start to emerge in early Spring. Maybe someone will name a garden in the yard "Ms. Debbie's Garden".

I am linking this post to Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer HERE and Whatcha Working on Wednesday at My Country Home HERE.


Lyn said...

Debbie, you did such a nice job on this garden space! I'm sure you've been working really hard on it. I love the fact that you are able to know some of the history of the previous owners, what a blessing to have that information. I love how you are making it your own space now.

Not sure if you have ever grown mint before - it can be very invasive, so you might want to keep an eye on it. I think mint has a mind of its own! It is wonderful for tea though, and you'll just love having all those herbs on hand. Hope you enjoy!

Debbie J said...

Thanks Lyn!

I had read that mint could be invasive. The few pieces that came up are thin and spindly. We'll see what they do! Probably not enough sun for some of those herbs.

How do you use the mint in Tea? Just cut a sprig and put it in the glass?


Alexandra said...

Ms. Albertha's garden - precious!

We have quite a bit of mint, mostly lemon mint. I take about five leaves, bruise them gently, and then put them in my hot tea. It takes more than one or two leaves per cup to taste the mint. I haven't made iced sweet tea yet, but I should - it's hot here.

We have catnip mint as well - boy, does that ever work for making you sleepy!

Pen Pen said...

Oh Debbie... the little garden area is so pretty. Maybe you can make a small sign with "Mrs Albertha's" name on it to tuck inside the garden. I love that you are into the history of your place. Our old house was owned by one family and I was forever finding things that I thought "Mr. Levi" did. I love your new old home!

Beansieleigh said...

Hi Debbie! Your garden looks wonderful! It can be hard work, but most times I find a garden is more a heavenly escape to a place of solace and beauty! I love that you appreciate the history behind it too! Enjoy! ~tina

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