Sunday, March 8, 2009

What's my story?

Welcome to my new blog! I'm Rose (not Rosemary, Rosanne, or any other such version; as I explained growing up, it's just "Rose, like the flower"). I'm a garden writer specializing in native Midwestern plants and conservation-related topics, although I do cover subjects outside of those ones. This blog will catalog my adventures in my relatively new, clay-packed garden in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I will also discuss conservation news and developments, and focus on the native prairie, woodland, and wetland plants of the Midwest. So what's my story? I'll pontificate only a little, and then it will be on to more productive posts.

I am convinced that a self-awareness of my name predisposed me to gardening from a young age. I used to ask my mom if I could help in her garden, and when I was about 5 years old she designated one stone planter in the corner of our back patio as "mine," and I could plant whatever I wanted there every year. And invariably, every year I chose marigolds. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was their neon coloring. Maybe it was their crinkly texture that resembled tightly bunched fabric formed into flowers. Whatever it was, each spring when standing between the rows of annuals at the local nursery, feeling the palpable excitement of botanical avarice, I would once again choose marigolds for my planter.

By my teen years I had been deeded an entire garden bed (in a new house), which I promptly turned into a real rose garden. Oddly enough, that was my last foray into rose gardening (pushing 15 years now). After spending my college and post-collegiate years growing only a gaggle of houseplants as I moved from apartment to apartment, my interest in truly natural landscapes increased. I still love a breathtaking formal garden, but a desire to reconnect with the prairie landscapes of my Midwestern heritage grew inexorably from my time in the concrete jungle (which I still adore, by the way, despite its struggles with urban landscaping and the inherent contradiction therein).

So now, as a first-time homeowner, I concentrate on gardening in rhythm with nature. I'm a native plant enthusiast, not a native plant nazi. I have my guilty pleasure exotics, including peonies, irises, and daylilies. But the pleasure of watching butterflies flock to my Eupatorium and the sunlight glinting off a stand of asters is my gardening passion, and I'm satisfied with my botanical evolution. My methods are imperfect and I'm still a fairly young gardener, learning more each season. But I have come a long way from that stone planter with wonderful support from those who indulge my interest, and continue to do so, including you, dear reader.

And by the way, I never grow marigolds anymore. Burnout, I guess!

1 comment:

Carolyn gail said...

And a good story it is, Rose. I look forward to following your adventures in your N.W. suburban garden. Clay- aggggggg! I grew up in the red clay state of Alabama so my sympathy is with you. I've found cottonburr compost and raised beds to be the answer to clay.

I like Thomas Jefferson's saying that "even though I am an old man I am but a young gardener. "

Welcome to the garden blogging world.

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