The Gardener in the Woods
My passion for gardening goes back to spending time with my father in the Florida Keys as a child. He built a roof over a cracked swimming pool to create a fern house, covered a weedy yard with gravel and turned Australian pine trees into sculpture. I never see a ‘Fluffy Ruffles’ Boston Fern or a staghorn fern without thinking of him. When we moved to Oklahoma, he branched out and put in a small mixed orchard and a vegetable garden.
I’ve been gardening, in one form or another, for nearly all my adult life. I got married to the Chief of Implementation after college, moved halfway across the country so he could to attend grad school and settled into a fifth floor apartment with a 27 foot long balcony. That first spring, I started growing herbs in whiskey barrels and window boxes and I’ve never looked back.
When we rented houses, I gardened in pots and rented back yards. When we bought houses, I replaced great swaths of grass with flower beds and vegetable gardens and fish ponds and terraces. Hopefully, we’re here in the Garden in the Woods till they carry out our cold dead bodies many years from now.
Despite the subtropical start, I’ve done most of my gardening in the temperate Midatlantic region between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in the United States. My current garden is just over an acre of mostly wooded ground on the edge of a state park. The front yard faces south and gets dry despite the shade trees. The back yard is several feet lower sloping down to an occasional stream and prone to dampness under the wealth of oak and hickory trees.