Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Beginner’s Guide To Gardening: Creating Ambiance

Now that your plants are growing, think about how you can enhance the ambiance of your garden for your own personal enjoyment.

Ladybug In Action!

Photo: Dianne Venetta

Strolling down a row of squash, you notice a bright red ladybug busily traveling the expanse of the broad green leaves.

You’ve Learned Much, Grasshopper

You’ve made your beds, planted your seeds, nurtured your seedlings through the perils of sprouthood and now you spend your time watering and feeding.

You meticulously weed, prune, pinch, and stand watch for bugs, spots, and all things that go bump in the night. This is all the normal stuff a gardener does throughout the growing season.

What a fine gardener you’ve become! You’re diligent, vigilant and looking forward to harvest. As you linger among the layers of leaves and sprays of bloom, your mind wanders, your longing builds, your connection to nature grows deeper. Maybe you didn’t expect it, but you’ve grown quite attached to your garden, lovingly caring for it as you would a child. Why, if you could, you’d spend hours out here – days – toiling about the promise of produce.

A Place For Pause

Strolling down a row of squash, you notice a bright red ladybug busily traveling the expanse of the broad green leaves. Bending near to watch her work, you get that tingly thrill of discovery. Sure in the grand scheme of things, it’s a common bug doing a common job, but to you she’s incredible – beautiful – and you revel in the miracle of nature.

Now if only there was a bench nearby. You glance from one end of your garden to the other. That sure would be handy right about now. You could sit, relax and enjoy the wonders unfolding before you. A pretty bench, one with an intricately carved iron frame supporting slatted teak strips. Better yet, one that rocks to and fro, gently keeping pace with the breeze.

How about a shade topper? Midday is a gorgeous time to be outside, but the sun can be strong.

Yes, I think we’re onto something here. A bench, a little shade, and maybe some chimes, too. Nothing lifts the spirits like music and the soft tinkle of chimes would be a welcome addition. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in your garden. Why not create a pleasant ambiance?

Think About The Pollinators

Invite some birds along by incorporating a lovely bath, perhaps a feeder, too.

Unless of course you have squirrels and then nix the feeder. Those varmints can be downright pesky! But a bath would be lovely and attract all kinds of wildlife, like dragonflies (to eat any mosquitoes that happen to breed in the standing water) as well as fanciful beneficials like butterflies and bees.

These creatures are important workers in the garden. Did you know your plants need pollinators? Without them, plants like cucumbers, melon and squash will not flourish. You see, these plants have both male and female flowers and are dependent upon pollinators for fertilization (to come hither and do their business!). So by all means, encourage them with an enticing bath of water.

While you’re at it, plant flowers around the border. Not only will they add a splash of color and cheer, if chosen correctly, they could not only repel all sorts of unwanted insects, bugs and flies, but also attract more butterflies and bees with a sweeping array of choice nectar.

Sharing The Garden With Friends

Consider creating some natural pathways of mulch, too. This will encourage visitors to explore and digest all there is to see.

And trust me, you’ll be grateful for those pathways. They keep visitors on the right track and off your finely sifted beds of dirt. Not everyone knows the ins and outs of a garden like you do, but they’re eager to learn to which you’ll reply, “By all means, have a seat and sit spell.” The sun is shining, the birds are singing and there’s so much news to share about the garden!

Remember, gardening is a joy and should be treated as an indulgence, not a chore. By adding benches, chimes and flowers, you’re nurturing this pleasure as you should. Besides, that bench will come in handy when the neighbors stop by – and they will. They heard you had a garden!

Rosemary lemonade, anyone?

More: Coming next, we’re ready to harvest!

Dianne Venetta

Dianne is an author, entrepreneur, and mother. She writes the blog BloominThyme and volunteers as garden coordinator for her children's school garden. At the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses (or rosemary), kiss their child and husband goodnight, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she's done all right.

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