grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Virtual Garden Tour: Tina's Upstate New York Garden

Name: Tina
Location: Upstate Central New York
Size: 1/2 acre
Age: 25 years
Bio: My husband and I spent our entire childhoods on dairy farms soaking up the outdoors and learning to grow all kinds of vegetables and flowers on a very large scale. Learning to grow, preserve, can and freeze vegetables, fruit and meat were just part of every day life.  So, when we married and moved to our own large plot of land it was natural that we would continue gardening. The only thing that has really changed from being on the farm 25 years ago is that the domestic animals have gone from cows, chickens and cats to a dog and koi, and I don't grow beautiful roses like my grandmother did because they absolutely hate me.
We've tried to pass on a little of the art of being (partly) self sufficient to our four grown children. I hope they were listening.
When I'm not gardening, and mostly to pass time during our very long Upstate NY winters, I'm enjoying other hobbies like sewing quilts by hand (many of which became ribbon winners at the state fair), crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, making handmade paper, pressing flowers and I am a self taught seamstress, making a majority of our own clothing.
Garden Survey:

Type: backyard, front and side yards, shade, full sun, container, houseplants, herbs, water garden, vegetable, fruit, ornamentals, shrubs.
Style: Spilt Crayons

Inspiration: Other gardeners, garden blogs and public gardens.

Favorite plant: Delphiniums

Biggest challenge: Weeds! Since I am enclosed by farm fields on all four sides, the weeds are never ending and tenacious.

What your friends say: "Too much work!" and "Can I have some?"

Biggest embarrassment: The pot ghetto. I need a potting shed or at least somewhere to store my mess. And the fact that I once planted Variegated Aegopodium on purpose. What was I thinking?

Proudest DIY: It's a toss-up between the koi ponds and the straw bale garden, though the bale garden certainly didn't take as much work!

Biggest indulgence: The Weeping Siberian Pea Tree.

Best advice: Patience, start things from seed and keep learning.
Rarely does anything work together like you imagined the first time. If you don't like where you've planted something, move it and be patient enough to see what it looks like the next year. Gardens don't lend themselves well to the 'instant gratification' thing.
Start everything you can from seed and by winter sowing if possible. You'll get the varieties you want (some of which can't be found through other resources), the satisfaction that you did it yourself and you will save yourself a pretty penny in the process. It's easier than you think.
Even after 40 years of gardening, there is always more for me to learn. No one should ever think they know enough when it comes to gardening and it's always fun to learn new things about growing plants. If you've tried something and it didn't work, don't give up, learn from your mistakes and try again. Gardening is a life-long learning opportunity!

Resources: Clearance sales and fellow gardeners.

Garden Tour

Thanks for participating, Tina! I loved your description of your garden style and I loved learning about your rich gardening history.

If you would like to participate in Virtual Garden Tours, please email me at myskinnygarden (at) gmail (dot) com.


  1. Gina,
    Thank you so much for hosting the Virtual Garden Tours and allowing me to participate. You rock!

  2. Enjoyed the tour of Tina's garden. Especially love the tree trunk planter. One of my tree stumps has rotted enough that I think I can plant in it next year. Also love that shot of the lavender.

  3. How did I miss this VGT?

    Tina, I remember your thoughts during the ugly gardens thing and I have to say your garden is charming. Love your clematis.