I ended up the lucky owner of this book for only $4.00 at the local thrift shop (I'm a regular there). For me, four dollars was kind of a splurge for a used book --it is the thrift store after all... But, I just couldn't pass up this book. The stunning watercolor artwork, (all done by Ms. Branch herself)...gorgeous font, which I have come to find out also is the creation of Susan Branch --she is a true talent. The book has proven to be worth far more than my initial investment...in fact, I would say it's priceless.
|The photo of Susan Branch's garden from her home on Martha's Vineyard|
The inspiration on page nine of The Summer Book, sent me in a new direction. It wouldn't be long until I (along with my trusty husband) created our own charming garden, right in the middle of our back yard.
The hottest day of the summerI am certain it was the hottest and most humid day of the entire year...the day we built the garden.
|"The Team-builder" better known as a two-person auger.|
(Before digging, we checked with our local utilities to make sure digging would be safe. If you dig, checking the location of utilities needs to be the first step of any project.)
At last we had all the holes dug...a day I will never forget due the hours of hard work I hadn't fully anticipated. Through the experience that his project provided, I have learned to allow myself more time, more budget and more patience than I ever expect will be necessary. I always need a little extra of one of those three...
Next we were able to start the fencing. We selected the gothic style picket fencing. Lengths of 5-6 feet are sold at most big box home improvement stores. We found that our yard slopes slightly...not a great deal, but enough that the fencing had to be racked slightly to give the garden fencing a uniform look.
The evolution of our gardenOur first season, a success...
|Still plenty of room to run and play.|
Our FIRST watermelon, our garden worked!
We planted watermelon, pumpkins and tomatoes. I don't think I would choose such leggy plants for an enclosed garden space going forward. The watermelon and pumpkin vines took over the garden by summer's end. Those types of plants like zucchini, pumpkins and watermelon need a large amount of space to sprawl. We did grow two watermelons. Funny enough, the kids were horrified to find huge black watermelon seeds inside...until that point, the watermelons from the market were always seedless or nearly so, and they NEVER had big chunky black seeds in them. Having a garden has been such an education for our children. They plant seeds, tend them and get to eat what they grow...and yes, often what we grow at home is very different, from what is sold at the grocers. The flavor of ripe, sun warmed tomatoes; the crisp, sweet lettuce we grow in the springtime, the flavors from our garden are simply unmatched. A good lesson for us all, I suppose.
|I know they are smiling, however I believe the first words upon cutting open our watermelon were |
"Eww, something is wrong with it!"
We have had a lot of luck with tomato plants. We use composted soil from the wooded area of our yard. For us, our compost is composed of leaves, mulched sticks and brush and yard clippings...we have not graduated to composting food waste just yet. The composted soil in the raised bed is rich, so dark it's almost black in color and requires very little watering, even during the very hot summers.
|What eventually became the BEST B.L.T. of my life|
|This family must really LOVE their garden...ha. A family photo by the garden.|
Just this past spring, I planted morning glory's. They remind me of my grandma, she had some in her back yard too.
I'm looking forward to finding seed catalogues in my mailbox very soon. In the meantime, if you too would like to be inspired by Susan Branch, her artwork, books or other charming tidbits, she has a darling website, Susan Branch Blog
Anytime you dig...whether it be for a fence post of a swimming pool,
be sure you are free and clear of all utilities. Check before you dig.