Last summer, I attended a Lavender + Wildflower Festival near my home and it made me realize one thing: I love flowers.
This wasn't a new revelation per se, but seeing the flowers sitting high on their stalks and swaying in the wind gave me a greater appreciation for them than I had previously. I loved how all of the blooms started from seed and that something beautiful grew out of nothing.
And at the same time, I realized I needed a hobby that would keep me consistently busy. I have many interests and hobbies, but it can be difficult to turn off the "work" switch and rest. I love my work, I love creating art, but I wanted to find something that would allow me to have a greater work balance in my life. Flowers presented themselves as the perfect solution.
I live on five acres of land, so there were a few options for where to put the flower garden. I ended up choosing a spot slightly behind the house, nestled in between trees, that feels a little bit secluded and quiet. I mapped out a 30 foot x 70 foot area for the garden. Is it a little large for a first-time flower gardener? Yes, probably so. However, there were so many flowers I wanted to plant and try! Why not try them all at once?
The first step to preparing the garden was to fence the area. We have lots of deer and other critters that love to eat everything. Fencing seemed like a safe option. We hammered T-Posts into the ground (a very tiring activity) and wrapped wire fencing around them. My mom also surprised me with a gate arbor for the entrance, which made the whole thing feel complete.
After that, I mowed the area twice: once to get rid of any super tall grass, the second time to cut the grass as short as possible. I tossed all the grass piles outside the area, which resulted in terrible allergies and ear infections, but also progress! After mowing, I used a small tiller and tilled the area twice. The ground has never been farmed or used, so I felt like moving the soil around was a good idea. Finally, I placed black sheeting over the whole thing, which will kill the weeds and grass underneath. Essentially, the black tarp encourages weed growth by heating the soil, but the lack of sun causes the weeds to die, leaving you with great soil. Fingers crossed it works!
I'm planning to start planting seeds at the beginning of April to make sure all frosts have passed. There will be plenty more to do then, but for now, we wait for the tarp to do its thing. I'm excited to share more of this garden with you, and to see how the process of gardening influences my artwork, too.