I had vis­i­tors to my potager gar­den in early June. As they wan­dered around, one of the men turned and asked, “Just how much time do you spend gardening?”

Gate to Potager June 2013

Part of me started to panic that per­haps he thought I should spend a bit more time weed­ing and tidy­ing. Then I remem­bered that these folks weren’t gar­den­ers, so his ques­tion was most likely amazed curiosity—something akin to my ask­ing my neigh­bor with more than 20 cats how many cats she has.

Potager June 2013 3

Now, to be fair, I don’t spend nearly as much time gar­den­ing as some peo­ple I know. My friend at Faire­gar­den is out scram­bling around early in the orn­ing every day of every month of every year. She, like Gail at Clay and Lime­stone, even don head-to-toe cloth­ing and net­ting to pro­tect them­selves from the tiger mos­qui­toes in Ten­nessee. And then there’s Layanee’s Rhode Island gar­den at Ledge and Gar­dens—a place so beau­ti­ful she must spend hours and hours keep­ing it just so.

But I do spend a fair amount of time out there gardening.

This year for the first year since we moved here that most of my time hasn’t been spent water­ing and weed­ing. Nature has favored us with reg­u­lar rain and some beds have filled in so that weeds have no place to take hold. I have spent much more time plan­ning and plant­ing, mov­ing plants to new loca­tions and even just walk­ing around and think­ing about things.

Potager June 2013

Although I enjoy the whole process of gar­den­ing, from the dig­ging to the haul­ing to the plant shop­ping (yippee!), I admit that the best of the best is wan­der­ing around and just look­ing at things grow. I never, ever tire of watch­ing how the gar­den changes from day to day and even from hour to hour as the sun moves across the sky. I am amazed at the vari­ety (and quan­tity) of the but­ter­flies and bugs that make their home here. I am grate­ful for hav­ing a sense of smell so that I can appre­ci­ate the gar­den with that sense as well. Hon­ey­suckle, roses, jas­mine and cut hay com­bine to make the air bet­ter than any bot­tled con­coc­tion on sale at Nordstrom.

Potager June 2013 2

So when that fel­low asked me how much time I spend gar­den­ing, my response was sim­ple. “Not nearly enough.”



Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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