The Sweetness of Garden Dreams

Meet the “Garden Artist” Linda Wiggen Kraft and “Native Plant Expert” Cindy Gilberg in person at The Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo March 10. Let Linda and Cindy answer all your garden design and planting questions before the 2013 gardening season begins.

by Linda Wiggen Kraft

It is in the dream time of winter when the sweetness of gardens begins. It is a time of hope, imagination, planning and learning. The seed catalogs have arrived and the ritual of choosing what to grow this year begins. My ritual is to sit down for a few hours and look at all the pages, marking the seeds I want to buy.

My favorite catalogs are heirloom ones. They connect me with plants of the past that deserve a place in our future. I am amazed at the numbers of different vegetables, herbs and flowers that exist that we never see in the grocery store. Through heirlooms, I feel a connection to the long lineage of home gardeners who have preserved these treasures. The beauty of both vegetables and flowers is astonishing. One of my heirloom catalogs has over 200 kinds of different tomato seeds, in more colors and shapes than anyone could imagine. My new favorite vegetable plant is the easiest plant I grow. It is lemon sorrel, rumex acetosa. It is a green with lemon tart leaves for salads and soups. The best part is that it is a perennial. It can be cut back several times a year, looks good even in the heat, rabbits and bugs leave it alone, and it grows first thing in spring and last in the fall.

I am not immune to the new offerings though. I have a new favorite zinnia called Queen Lime Red. There is no red in this flower, instead a dusty rose and light green that look like an old vintage hand painted photo. And at the other end of the alphabet are the ageratums that can grow short or tall. That is not to say I don’t love the flowers in between A and Z, because I do. There are just too many to name.

My list of wanted flower and veggie seeds ends up too long. I still don’t have the farm to grow all that I would like. I have to shorten the list, which is the hard part. One thing I do is to look for vegetables with flowers and food that are as beautiful as any ornamental. Chinese Red Noodle beans and Giant Golden Amaranth are examples. I am going to grow them in my front yard, along with other edibles this year.

As I look at my long list of seeds, I let my dreams transform into reality and choose the plants I can easily grow and take care of. Even if I can’t grow them all, at least the seeds I do put in the ground are filled with the wonder, imagination and dreams of a glorious garden for this year.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer whose work centers around holistic and sustainable gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. To see what seeds Linda is planting in her garden this year and where she got them, visit her blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog. Her website is: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. She can be contacted at 314 504-4266.