Kind of like Time Magazine’s “Year in Pictures” only with a lot less funding.
It is traditional to reflect upon the year nearly gone before thinking about the one to come. What worked and what did not. What stands out as the best of the year, and what was the worst.
In November, grateful for the freedoms we all enjoy, I took an rose inventory, discovering that instead of ninety roses, I have eighty-three. Where did the other twelve go? To the great compost bin in the sky. One great truism is that throughout a gardener’s life, many plants come, and many plants die.
I finished planting the front garden, although I’m still not happy with the straight line of concrete edging on the bed.
The most important event of November, however, was the naming of my garden. Carol, that rock star of May Dreams Garden won my little contest, naming the garden Rosehaven.
The blog, Red Dirt Ramblings turned one year old in October, and like the infant she is, she changes everyday. RDR got a new, updated theme, which continues to be both beautiful and frustrating. It doesn’t like to play well with WordPress, which causes me some serious anguish at times. My advice is, if you use WordPress, to use a WordPress compatible theme and make a few alterations to it, or choose a designer who consistently works with WordPress. The theme should be expandable too because WordPress updates all the time.
HH and I took a day trip date and went to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve outside of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. In typical red dirt fashion, we ate at practically the only restaurant in Pawhuska, which served barbecue. Why am I not surprised?
Oklahoma was very warm in October, and I searched for signs of fall. Trees began to turn in early and mid-November, but I discovered American bittersweet vine, Celastrus scandens, growing in my empty lot across the street.
September was one of the best months of the year. I traveled to Anacortes, WA, and visited my friend Wanda, and her husband, Lindsey. I saw she’d transplanted well, which made it easier for my sad heart to accept that my best gardening friend had moved so far away. Then, HH and I hopped a very, small, very, scary plane to Portland, OR, where I spoke on a panel about successful blogging. While there, my blog cratered. I feared the audience would think I was a fraud, but instead, it gave me an opportunity to discuss how when bad things happen to blogs, you call your blog helper for assistance. I met up with GWA friends again and saw beautiful gardens, including those of Terra Nova and Iseli Nursery. I’m looking forward to the 2009 meeting in Raleigh, NC. Those of you who are writers or garden communicators should join the GWA and come with us. I promise it will be a trip you’ll never forget.
Things were definitely abuzz in the garden in late August, with every creature hurrying to store food away before winter. In honor of the Olympics, Mary Ann of Idaho Gardener threw a little “Going for the Gold” contest of her own. Rosehaven got some rain, which was news of its own. (Rain in August in Oklahoma is unusual. Twice in August is almost unheard of.)
HH and I built a pathway outside the front door to lead the rainwater and the eye toward the gate. I hope to get a wrought iron gate this spring. Maybe I’ll ask for it for my anniversary.
Also, in August, I received a visit from my friend Pam of Digging and her mother which caused a fit of Garden Visit Anxiety Disorder, otherwise known as GVAD. Recently, I looked back over her photos. I still maintain she made my tired, August garden look better than it really did.
At the end of July, Carol from May Dreams asked us to write about our garden mentors. I chose my Grandma Nita, who mentored me from the time I could place my muddy feet in her garden. My mother found some old photos, but I wish I could find the photo of her standing next to tomato plants a foot taller than she was. Those giant tomatoes were one of the reasons I was drawn to gardening. Another was standing at her side while she, organically harvested cabbage moths and caterpillars. For those of you who don’t know what I mean, she squished them. Ewww, but effective.
Where else but in blogging could you write about your garden mentor grandmother and other people understand? This was one of my most popular posts with twenty-five comments.
Throughout the year, I did some Sunday Strolling with Aisling of the Quiet Country House, and I frequently participated in Green Thumb Sunday, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden, and Garden Bloggers’ Muse Day sponsored by Carolyn Gail of Sweet Home and Garden Chicago. All were great memes which got me out in the garden with my camera.
In central Oklahoma, it was a beautiful summer with plenty of rain and temperatures that, while hot, were not unbearable as in years past. We’ve had three of these summers in a row, and we may be sorry in 2009. No one ever knows what will come.
My favorite post of the entire year was the one I wrote about visiting Elizabeth Lawrence’s garden. We were in North Carolina as part of our trek around the southeastern United States, and I got the chance to meet the woman who had saved Lawrence’s garden from ruin. I’ll remember that always. As part of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, we’d read Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence, and to get to stroll the garden I’d read about gave me goosebumps. The garden is now owned by a foundation, and I believe it is open to the public.
Like every other June, I was frustrated by grass and weeds. I hope the new gravel we put in the paths will discourage some of the invading Bermuda grass. However, the daylilies and roses were at their best at the end of May through June.
End of Part I. If you’re still here, thanks for reading such a long entry. In a couple of days, I’ll post Part II.