It’s not very often that I am invited to visit a garden that is hidden and mysterious. Grayson and I were elated when we got an invitation to see one. The owner of this storybook garden is 80 years old and has been creating her garden for 60 of those years. However, her garden is not the kind of garden that looks perfect. Her garden looks like a forest full of intrigue. It seems like every square inch of her yard is planted with unusual and wonderful trees and plants. She grew everything from either seed or cutting and each of them has a story.
A huge java plum tree that gives delicious fruit for making jam.
Nona took us on a tour of her garden that we wished could go on and on. She walked us around with a small machete and gave us cuttings, seeds and young potted plants of each plant in which we took an interest. She filled the back of our SUV. While we walked around, she gave me a glass of elderberry wine… wine that she has been making for over 60 years. The wine I was drinking was eight years old. It was sooooo good. I am trying to get the nerve up to ask her for the recipe. Is that wrong?
Nona's Vegetable Garden
It seems like there are a lot of weeds in her vegetable garden, but she has her reasons. She pulls out the weeds that she doesn’t want. She said she keeps the ragweed inside and around her greens to keep the aphids out.
Nona said the birds watch her when she’s in her vegetable garden. The trick in the above picture has always worked for her. She gives the string a good shake and the cans make quite a racquet. The birds hate it.
Guinea Fowl Running Everywhere
She has guinea fowl running all over her property. They are insect-eating machines. There isn’t a tick near her house for miles and they keep the mosquito population to a minimum.
African Grey Goose...with a gander laying on a nest behind him.
Nona's goats provide her gallons and gallons of milk
The goats have their own trailer. Notice the goat sticking her head out the door.
Loring & her new friends
One of Nona's Roosters
Nona has many different kinds of chickens, including some rare heritage breeds. Our favorite chickens were the Cuckoo Marans. They lay beautiful chocolate-colored eggs that have a rich flavor. She said that once we taste ’em, we won’t want any other eggs. She gave us over a dozen to bring home. We ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner the following day. We want more. I think our hen population is going to increase a little. Nona has many different kinds of ducks as well. She said the duck eggs make the best cakes we will ever taste.
She had a botanical remedy for every ailment in her yard. She said she can’t remember when she last visited a doctor. Grayson and I planted everything she gave us the minute we got home. We hope that one day our yard is as special as hers.
Come grow with us!