The Perennial Buzz: Walking through my gardens

Published 9:00 am Saturday, August 31, 2019

By Shelley Pederson

Shelley Pederson is a perennially busy master gardener, lover of nature and student of life.

Gardens from the time of Adam and Eve have been a place of blessings, enrichment, beauty, therapy and sustenance.

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Webster defines a garden as “a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers or vegetables are cultivated; a rich well-cultivated region, or a container planted with a variety of small plants. Gardening is the activity of tending and cultivating a garden, especially as a pastime.”

Shelley Pederson

When did the art of gardening become my pastime and not a chore I had as a child and teenager? I don’t exactly remember, but I do know that it is a passion for me that I enjoy sharing with others. It creates a space for my well-being, and makes me feel as though I’m a steward of the planet and the creatures that live with me.

Walk with me through my garden.

As you arrive, notice the nearly empty pile of wood chips and the new garden under construction. Then see yourself around the spruce that started as a 6-inch seedling 18 years ago. The first blast is a flood of purple and white phlox.

Stop for a moment and breath in the perfume and notice the texture of the purple coneflower tucked in nearby. Using your senses, hear the buzzing of bees and pollinators as they go from bloom to bloom. As you begin the wood chip path, see the resting iris and the end of the vibrant lilies that stopped my heart a few short weeks ago; and a stunning music box rose in full bloom colored from dark pink to soft yellow.

A patch of bright red monarda peeks around the corner, tall grasses anchor the back. The subtle greens blend into the Russian sage and yet another black knight buddleia is planted. I swear this is the fifth and final time I try to get it back in my garden.

As the path ends you turn to face where the blues of my garden begin. Perennial geranium as a border with hairy allium that have gone to seed. Sedum and a new malva anchor the front corner.

A granite retaining wall is the backdrop of the pink garden with beautiful oriental lilies, mystic fairy rose and campfire rose all in full bloom. Resting peonies and a huge bleeding heart await spring.

Raised vegetable beds center the yard. Fruit trees in the back, grapes to the side and pots filled with begonias, impatiens and houseplants enjoying summer freedom and fresh air fill the patio.

The front yard encases a dwarf tree garden — or at least that’s what the tags had said, and is another new project as an ash tree came down, and what was once my only shade garden now stands in full sun. The garden filled with the most magnificent gateway Joe Pye that feeds hundreds — yes, hundreds of migrating monarchs. Brilliant, nearly fluorescent fall blooming anemones are home to many honey bees. The recent addition of full sun and extension of the tree garden into the shade garden has made space for new iris, two sunrise sunset roses, champagne wishes rose and some new lilies on order. Huge, hot pink, quick fire hydrangea blooms reach across to help join the two beds.

How did all this happen? Eighteen years of trial and error in this little spot for my family. Thirty-five years in and out the garden industry. Generations of oorlog from both my mother and father’s genes and upbringing. My first 10 years on my own in a zone 6. A lot of work and more than my share of frustration, however, it certainly has been a heaping blessing of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Join me as I share my adventures in gardening.