One of my favorite places to be is in my own backyard. When we purchased our home from an older couple we knew we had much to do to the outdated house but the location was wonderful and our greenbelt lot along the shores of Lake Hefner was the perfect place to raise our three boys. They are all grown now and out of college but they loved having a big yard to run and play in. Lake Hefner with it's park and trails is just across the street and enlarged our living space.
We now enjoy walking our dogs along the trails and watching the beautiful sunsets across the lake. Growing up the boys made tree forts and had adventures in a grove of cedar trees behind our house. The neighbor kids loved to join in too. Almost twenty years have passed since we moved here and the oak trees are majestic now and provide a beautiful canopy of shade over our yard. The previous couple had planted a good many trees so we had a great head start...but they didn't plant much else and that was great for me. I set about creating my own garden without having to tear out or rearrange their landscaping. So now after all these years my garden is still not finished but evolving. Each year gardening in Oklahoma brings new challenges...hail, high winds, drying winds, drought and ice that can wreak havoc on any garden. I love a challenge and I'm always excited to see what each season will bring.
When I started gardening as a young stay at home mother we had a very small budget for landscaping, well honestly not one at all. I would just see pretty flowers in the grocery store or a spring display of seed packets and thought it would give me something to do outside as I watched the boys playing in the yard. We lived in a new tract home when the boys were small and there was not even a shrub or blade of grass in the backyard when we moved in. I have always loved flowers and have lived in tropical places where the grass was always green and something was always in bloom. Moving to Oklahoma provided me a whole new challenge as I learned about climate zones and soil. I had been surrounded by beautiful plants and trees while growing up in Florida, Hawaii and the Philippines and then found myself living on the prairie. What was red clay soil? I learned that I had to have good soil in order to have a beautiful garden. So each year I added organic material and amended the soil until I could actually dig a hole in the ground without a chisel! We literally had hardpan in our first backyard in Oklahoma!
I remember when the boys were small I purchased my first packet of seeds at the grocery store and started cultivating a small clay hardened area along the back fence of our small yard. I learned that grass clippings they did wonders for clay soil and they were free and a great way to recycle! I would add a layer of grass clippings, then some good soil and finish with a layer of mulch. I was so excited that I got something to grow in my horrible soil that I just kept adding another section to my flower beds..before long my entire yard was edged in seasonal bloomers. My husband gave me a beautiful potted lily that turned out to be a Stargazer...when it finished blooming indoors I planted the bulb out in the yard and to my amazement it came back the following year and bloomed. It's our favorite flower! When we moved to our current home the soil had already been amended and it was much easier to plant flowers with success. So my passion was born out of my childhood surroundings and the desire to be surrounded with flowers and green grass while enjoying my children playing in our little backyard.
I have read dozens of books on gardening and enjoy gardening magazines and attend seminars. I can spend hours in a garden center and I usually have to go alone as I can wear just about anybody out reading plant tags and looking for new plant material.