Garden Dreams: The Vegetable Garden

Barbara: A few days ago I shared the story of how my Dad started gardening on Block Island and how my sister helped him after he became ill. Until he passed in 2004, Dad and Mary Beth worked side-by-side and built on the bones of the garden he started back in the summer of 1968. In the five years since, Mary Beth has created a masterpiece. As promised, I’ll take you on a little tour starting with the vegetable garden.

It’s been a tough growing season this year, as many of you know. The rain never seemed to stop and the sun hid behind the clouds for most of the spring and early summer, so the gardens got a slow start. Luckily the week I was there it was beautiful. (Guess I brought some of that California sunshine with me.) Most of the photos were taken when I was on Block Island in the beginning of July, but a few are from seasons past.

The view from the house
The view from the house.

The Vegetable Garden

This is at the far end of the property. I love waking up with the sun and wandering around here. It’s so peaceful and the dewy earth smells fantastic. It’s also where I can usually find Mary Beth — weeding, pruning or watering. It takes a tremendous amount of work. Good thing she loves it!

Herbs are planted in the center raised bed
Herbs are planted in the center raised bed and the vegetables are in the beds that surround it.
Misty August morning last year
One misty August morning last year.

These posts have been fun for me. I’ve rediscovered lots of old photos like the ones in the previous post and these of my daughter, Kristin with my Dad.

Harvesting tomatoes in 1982
John and Kristin harvesting tomatoes in 1982.
Kristin's prize tomato. Her grandparents are behind her with their heads cut off (?!!)
Kristin's prize tomato. Her grandparents are behind her with their heads cut off (?!!).

This flower bed sits directly in front of the vegetable garden. It’s the most beautiful of the garden beds. The perennials are artfully planted and timed so that it’s never without a magnificent display of blossoms from early spring through the first frost in late October.

The Island’s summer visitors stop by the side of the road to take pictures. It’d be fun to see some of them.

This is the one that stops traffic all day long.

Walk around any corner on the property and you will find a lovely surprise — birdhouses and birdbaths, wind chimes, and pots brimming with flowers. It’s a never-ending delight and every season Mary Beth finds new treasures to tuck into the garden.

The slow drip of water attracts all kinds of birds
The slow drip of water attracts all kinds of bird who fight to bathe here.

Some of the best treasures are the ones we rescue. Mary Beth’s client was tossing this bird house. She brought it home and rebuilt it. After a coat of paint, it was ready for some new tenants.

Afternoon sun
Afternoon sun lights the bird condo that sits near the bee hives behind the vegetable garden.

Another spot I love. There’s nothing so soothing as sitting here with a cup of tea and a book to read.

Peaceful moment
Lovely, weather-worn bench waiting for a visitor.
More water for the birds
Terracotta frogs guarding another birdbath.

While the vegetable garden is mostly planted with humans in mind, Mary Beth always remembers to add treats for the birds, bees, butterflies, etc. I love these exhuberant, fuzzy sunflowers.

Dew like little jewels sit on the fuzzy stem of this gorgeous red sunflower.
Dewdrops highlight the fuzzy stems of this gorgeous red sunflower.
The little hoenybee is so covered in pollen that she's hard to see.
This little honeybee is so covered in pollen that she's hard to see.

The next post will focus on the flowers beds. Till then be sure to spend a few quiet moments in your garden just taking it all in.

4 thoughts on “Garden Dreams: The Vegetable Garden

Add yours

  1. What a beautiful garden. I’m so jealous! I’ve been thinking of finding a way to have a garden (or potted herbs, at the very least) in my condo, but I have no yard. Any suggestions?

    1. Megan – if you have a patio or a balcony you can grow lots of things. Check out this article on Garden Rant for more info. You don’t need much space. Try growing some herbs in a sunny window. Good luck!

  2. Dear Barbara,
    What an inspiration! I’ve just helped created the Mid Mountains Community Garden in Lawson The Blue Mountains, NSW Australia and your appealing garden has given us many ideas.

    Having a herb bed in the centre will also attract many beneficial insects to assist in pollination for us gardeners.

    Feel free to reply or visit our sister community garden in Katoomba
    Ciao from Maryanne
    The Blue Mountains
    NSW Australia

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