Roberta's Retreat

Description

I spent a lot of time alone outdoors as a kid, and the component parts of plants were a source of deep fascination. I dismantled flowers to get to the tiniest parts and I loved anything with lots of seeds that could be collected - dandelions, tall grasses, and so on.

When I moved into town three years ago from a large, intimidating acreage along the foothills of the Blue Mountains, the neglected parcel where my new little house sat just felt like a playground - a place where my creative energy and endless curiosity could get nicely tangled up. I walked the dirt lot for a couple months, just lurking, and looking and trying to feel out what the gentle slope with a large stump in the center would best lend itself to.

With the guidance of friends ("..make this area the orchard."), many, many gifts of starter plants (strawberries, chives, raspberries, hens and chicks, sunchokes, nira [garlic chives], etc.), and a small fortune spent at the local garden supply store and a cedar fencing supplier, the space took shape. Today it is a thriving, productive mini-farm with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and flowering plants. It's constantly evolving and changing, as things are added and tended and pruned and moved and given away. Of course, the weeds keep me endlessly busy.

And I'm able to be that kid again, feeling the deep satisfaction in freezing, canning and drying my harvest and in saving seeds to share with friends. Watching the stages of growth is a delight. From frost on delicate kale sprouts in the winter to the lace spheres made by radishes long gone to seed, there is always something to surprise and inspire me.

Photos Show

Vegetables growing in raised beds in the author's Pendleton, Oregon garden.

Vegetables growing in raised beds in the author's Pendleton, Oregon garden.

Kale sprouts covered in frost.

Kale sprouts covered in frost.

Onions in bloom.

Onions in bloom.

A handful of radishes plucked from the garden.

A handful of radishes plucked from the garden.

Colorful roses growing along a fence.

Colorful roses growing along a fence.

An abundance of strawberries.

An abundance of strawberries.

Bowls of berries freshly-picked from the garden.

Bowls of berries freshly-picked from the garden.

Cite this Page

Roberta L, “Roberta's Retreat,” Community of Gardens, accessed June 25, 2017, http:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​12120.​
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