Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gardening is a "Long Game"

Do you know what a "long game" is? My husband said to me the other day, that gardening is a long game. It means you play for a long time, betting a lot of money and time, before there is a big, un-guaranteed payoff. It's also sometimes called a "long con," but I prefer not to think of gardening as a con game, because I'm afraid that would mean I'm the mark.

My kitty Magellan -- an indoor cat -- on one of her rare forays outside in the garden

Contemplating whether to explore the garden (she's almost always let out with one of us to accompany her, and always in the back garden, which is completely fenced)

I think it's true that gardening is a long game, although there are a lot of little payoffs along the way, like when you put a plant in just the right spot and it thrives. Or you put together a plant combination thinking it might look good, and it ends up looking magnificent.

Growing from seed is a really long game. Often you start with tiny seedlings that need to be coddled and nurtured. Even with winter sowing, which I've been successful at, you don't get big blooming perennials overnight. It takes years. A lot of the plants in my garden were started from seed, and I plan on starting even more this winter.

Collarette Dahlia grown from seed

Blogging is a "long game" too. I started three years ago, soon after we bought this house in Washington state, and I started to transform the gardens. I wanted to document the changes. The payoff with the long game of blogging is that I've made some great online friends, some of whom I've met in real life. And I've followed some wonderful, interesting, insightful blogs too. I'm still finding new ones that offer something new to learn about, and new people to get to know.

Fritillaria meleagris in my garden

Fritillaria seedpods

Sometimes I post a lot, sometimes I only find one or two topics a month that I really feel enthusiastic about, and want to share with my online friends. For most of August, most of my gardening was basically an internal monologue, that I'm not sure would interest anyone. Should I move those shrubs four feet closer to the fence? What should I do with that orphan bed where everything is struggling because I keep forgetting to water in the summer? Why don't I have more flowers? Why doesn't my garden look its best in August?

Darmera peltata flowering in my garden beside the waterfall

My husband Nigel also recently asked me why I blog. I thought briefly about trying to make my motives sound selfless and pure. "I want to share my knowledge and experience." Then I decided to tell the truth.

"I'm a show-off." Yes, despite my shy, reticent tendencies, I am basically, deep down inside,  a big show-off. Blogging is a way to show off my garden. Without having to risk revealing too much of myself, and thus rejection when people realize what a weirdo I am. I've been lucky enough to have attracted some supportive, encouraging, helpful readers.

Allium cernuum/Nodding onion about to bloom

Lilium columbianum flowering in my garden

I've been betting on the payoff from the "long game" of blogging for three years now. I'm celebrating my three-year blogiversary today. My very first post was called "Getting Started" and it documented the state of the garden when we bought our house and before we started working on it.

I thought I'd have a giveaway to mark my blogiversary.

One lucky reader will get:

Seeds from my garden (Camassia leichtlinii 'Sacajawea', Darmera peltata, Fritillaria meleagris, Lilium columbianum, Allium cernuum, and maybe a few more)
A $15 gift certificate to Renee's Garden Seeds (Renee's has reasonable shipping charges -- You can view Renee's online catalog here)
A cute little metal birdie, bought during my recent trip to Snoqualmie Falls (it's not much, just a little sumthin-sumthin)
A book about Prince Charles' garden estate Highgrove

Little metal birdie nestled in some of the rose petals from our trip to Snoqualmie Falls

Isn't he cute? I bought myself a matching one.

I looked through a local Barnes and Noble for a book about gardening for my giveaway, but there wasn't much to choose from. So I decided to give away a book from my own stash! (Sorry, you won't get any of my stuffed animals)

"The Garden at Highgrove" is a big book with large, sumptuous photographs!

You'll love this book!

Leave a comment, and in one week I'll pick a winner! You don't even have to say anything clever (or flattering to me) to enter. Please feel free to comment, even if you've never commented before. It's always nice to meet new people. And make sure your comment has a way for me to get back to you if you win. (Renee's only ships seeds to the U.S. and Canada, so I'm afraid I'll have to limit the winner to one of those two countries.) You have until midnight, Wednesday, September 12, 2012.

Dragonfly on Nepeta 'Walker's Low'

Good Luck!