Barbara and Jim’s Garden

My husband Jim has a great blog, Visionary Gleam.  When he started this endeavor, he described it as a blog about school leadership and his relatively new hobby of gardening.  Since then, the school component has taken a backseat to the gardening posts.  And that’s OK,  because topics and interests evolve over time – for instance, this one was supposed to be about learning and/or doing something new everyday, and lately I’ve only loosely stuck to that theme.

Jim talks a lot about “Barbara’s garden”, Barbara being the master gardener who owned our house before we bought it two years ago.  You will notice that it is never “Barbara and Walter’s garden”, even though Walter lived here too.  That’s because Walter, presumably, had little to do with the actual daily gardening tasks, although he did create many of the structures and planters, and even the tomato  stands in his woodworking shop.    And in that way, I also think of most everything that lies outside our walls as “Jim’s”.   Like Walter, I have very little to do with the landscaping and gardening—be it planning or day-to-day maintenance, but I have added some touches here & there.

Catie's memory garden. The birdhouse was made by Walter. I picked out the bench, the statue, and ordered the engraved stone.

I occasionally go along to the gardening store and like a kid who’s been dragged to the mall I might get to pick out something I like, usually based on a sound and educated gardening premise such as, “I like purple” or “that smells good,”  but mostly I wander around with glassy eyes wondering if we’ll get ice cream afterward if I’m  patient.    I enjoy the beauty, but the incredible amount of work that goes into gardening is just not my cup of tea and I don’t find myself reading up on plants or even remembering their names, much less what zone they prefer.    I am not joking when I say that if, God forbid, anything were to ever happen to Jim where he could not maintain the gardens, I would have to get rid of them in one way or another. Even Barbara knew that for many folks the enjoyment of looking at the gardens was quite different than the responsibility of owning it, and  when the house was for sale she offered to fill in some of the beds with sod if the new owners preferred.

Recently Jim did a series of posts about the Top-20 things he hates about Barbara’s garden.  They were all pretty amusing and true.  But it also got me thinking about the things  I  hate about “Barbara and Jim’s Garden”.   Its a different list and that’s where this post was originally going.   But then I realized it would be rude if I jumped into my garden complaints without first giving credit for the things I do like. So I will start with the nice things.

This is a view of one corner of the deck taken from the yard.I like to sit here with a book and a glass of wine and watch the birds and butterflies and hummingbirds and dogs and squirrels.

Butterflies and Hummingbirds

My own personal florist

This is really good garlic that I grew myself. Next time I'm planting more.

Tomato Pie. I'd never heard of this delightful Southern dish before moving here, but love making it with tomatoes fresh from our garden. Its basically tomatoes and herbs in a pie crust slathered with a cheesy-mayonnaise concoction.

Green Grass! When we lived in Virginia, we moved into new construction. The grass never grew the way it was supposed to. So we re-seeded it. It died. We seeded again, and it spent most of the summer brown. We put in sod and big patches of it died. We had a perpetually brown yard. In Indiana and Ohio our grass was covered in snow 10 months of the year. So having soft green grass that you can walk through barefoot most of the year is a treat.



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4 responses to “Barbara and Jim’s Garden

  1. Kristan

    I love reading Jim’s blog. It really cracks me up! Your deck view with a book and glass of wine sounds lovely 🙂
    Can I get the recipe for tomato pie?

  2. CK

    I like the memory garden. Very nice.

  3. Pingback: What I hate about Barbara and Jim’s Garden, Part 2 | One New Thing

  4. Pingback: Hating the Garden: Reprise with Aria | Visionary Gleam

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