Amy Stewart's From the Ground Up, a memoir about her first garden, was on my summer reading list, but I don't think I'm going to get to it. I don't know the precise mathematical equation, but my ability to finish gardening memoirs is closely tied to the number of hours I spend in my actual garden. There's something perverse about reading about someone else's garden when there are weeds to pull in your own. Maybe I'll save the book for January.
But simply having the book on my shelf made me think about my own first garden. I know some people argue for a more expansive definition of "garden," but when I think of our garden I think of the 16' x 6' bordered box of earth that I've been working the last several years. I don't necessarily count the full-sun tomato-growing space I've used a few times, the hosta spot, the designated catnip spot, or the daylilies on the side of house.
We still have hollyhock, purple catmint, and the pink daylilies from the original garden. The daylilies are now a centerpiece. I recently moved the catmint to make room for more daylilies. After the first summer, I tossed the hollyhock in the back of the house to make room for more milkweed. It flourished.
The garden Trixie and I set up has gone through three overlapping phases: The Butterfly Phase, the Mixed Perennial Phase, and the (current) Daylily Phase. I'll share thoughts and photos for each phase during the next few days.