Gardening is fun, relieves stress and gets you outside for fresh air and exercise.  I don’t claim to have a green thumb, big garden or special expertise, but I have been growing perennial flowers for about 35 years and I do add some vegetables in to the mix most years.  What is my secret for success?  Composted horse manure—a substance that packs a powerful nutrient punch needed by plants for good health.  In fact the plants grow so well it makes manure seem magical when it comes to growing showy flowers, houseplants or veggies.  Of course you do need some sun and water too.  Pulling weeds is therapeutic!   My advice:  start small.  You don’t have to have a lot of space to enjoy gardening.  Make your garden as large or small as you like and can comfortably care for.

When I started gardening back in the day I grew beautiful, large heads of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage along with asparagus and you name it.  I tried to do everything ‘naturally’ so I planted marigolds in with my veggies as a natural pesticide.  My produce was beautiful and perhaps I kept away some pests, but the little green worms that lived in my broccoli plants flourished.  I would harvest my broccoli, soak it in water and many worms would drop out.  I repeated those soaks until I thought I had every worm, but I’d usually discover a worm or two in the pot after the broccoli was cooked.  Just a little protein, some would say.  Now I focus on flowers.

Gardening is fun for the whole family.  It is pure joy to plant a seed or small starter plant and watch it grow into a huge, veggie producing tomato, squash or pepper plant (last year I grew several varieties of tomatoes, peppers and acorn squash).  The lazy buzzing of the bumble bee, the fragrance of wet earth and the pleasure of working with your hands are just some of the benefits of gardening.  Not to mention the food and flowers you’ll grow. 

I also like to grow herbs such as rosemary and thyme.  It’s great to go out to the garden and pluck fresh herbs for whatever you’re cooking up for dinner.  I usually have some fresh frozen rosemary, parsley and sage on hand in the freezer to enjoy year round.

My current passion is lavender.  The color, the fragrance, the craft possibilities!  I love the stuff.  I’ve been growing lavender for a number of years.  If you live in central Indiana you might like to visit Carolee’s Herb Farm.  You can visit her on the web at

Last fall I was reading a food blog by Lauren Zeitsman called A Full Measure of Happiness at  which featured lavender gift ideas.  I was fascinated by the idea and borrowed on it to make Lavender Salt, Lavender Sugar, and my own Lavender Bath gifts for friends and family for Christmas.

Gardening is great!  Get growing and enjoy.

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