As if nurturing acres and acres of vines wasn’t enough, Linda (who is the boss) loves flowers and plants and has a desire to have one of the nicest gardens on the island. This of course is a never-ending source of debate between us – me wanting to focus resources and energy on the grapes, Linda wanted to divert said resources and energy into making our gardens bigger, better and more beautiful.
While I may not be quite as enthusiastic about them, I do love the gardens when our flowers are in full bloom. Any time from March until October we have something out there flowering. It starts with early spring bulbs, our flowering cherries and plums and our Camellias. Bring on the tulips, rhododendrons, azaleas, then we progress into all our summer flowers – roses, peonies, lilies… the list goes on. It’s been quite a challenge to plan our gardens to have a continuous array of flowers no matter what time of year it is. We’ve benefited from family and friends who regularly bring us new additions when they are cleaning up their beds and splitting existing plants. It’s also an interesting source of frustration as we use volunteer help for a lot of the work being done and sometimes they don’t recognize weeds from plants. We’ve had one small peony that’s been dug up three times in the last three years. It never stays in the ground long enough to really get established before someone yanks it out thinking it’s a weed. We were very fortunate that our property was previously owned by a family that operated a small nursery and landscaping company – so we had some beautiful established plants to start with such as a variegated maple tree, evergreens, lots of rhododendrons and azaleas… We keep adding more beds – soon the gardens will cover more of our property then the grass… which is great for mowing but not so good for weeding. It’s an interesting challenge, after we finish a major activity in the vineyard such as tucking vines, where we spend a couple of weeks ensuring the shoots are all growing straight up and are out of our rows – we then spend a week weeding and working on the garden beds. Then back to tucking again.
We also have a pretty nice vegetable garden so we can grow our own salads, corn, peppers, and lots of fresh herbs – which can brighten up our dinner menus substantially.