Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Garden Picture Redux

I know that no one else is doing some sort of retrospective, so you can't possibly be sick of this shtick. Fiscal cliff. Mayan apocalypse. (Link on over for last year's garden review.)

This year I gave several presentations on native prairie plants, started a garden coaching business, my garden was featured online at Fine Gardening and in the Omaha World Herald, people called me for interviews about gardening (still floored by this), and I started writing a Great Plains gardening column for Houzz. I've also agreed to be on the board of the local Audubon chapter, Wachiska, which works to preserve prairie remnants.

So, without further obvious navel gazing, here are over 30 images from my gardening year.

We had one really good snowfall in early February, then it was big time drought.
Mice nested in our dryer vent line in January. This keeps them out. I still can smell the pee.
A small sharp-shinned hawk eventually nabbed a junco for lunch.
No spring is complete without a trip to see the oldest bird on the planet -- sandhill cranes in Nebraska.
March -- when it hit 90 several times and I was always behind schedule.
Spring -- when I spent much time in the mechanic's shop fuming over this sign. I dared not drink the coffee.
Pasque flower is my first bloomer.
Started a garden coaching biz, sold some plants and books, broke even.
Two robins hatched then died (did not drown). A nest in a new spot worked out.
I trapped two rabbits and this opossum, all gorging on my new veg garden.
Bed was too small, temps were too high. First year with veg was a flop.
Something was enjoying peony buds last May.
Nothing is cooler than seeing your name on a sign! I gave several talks this year in NE & KS.
I'm into buds more than blooms these days -- here's Amsonia hubrichtii.
Visited the 1894 OK homestead for a 3rd time. Writing the memoir. It's hard. As it should be.
Very few insects this year, so the mantis got lucky -- the wasp did not.
Our 5 year anniversary was in July. Time flies.
The garden in July. Lost many coneflowers to aster yellows.
Tamer and master of monarchs!

Can you see my reflection in the fly?
Found a dead snake in the lawn. It smelled awful.

My thinking bench surrounded by indian grass.
Usually we raise 100-200 monarchs. Only about 24 this year.
Spent sunflowers at sunset.
One of the few days we let them out. Warm into November.
Come into the fall garden -- the color is fine.
My buddy keeps me company as I write.
Still amazed this happened a few weeks back. Honored by the life in this 1500' garden.

And here's the garden timelapse from July 2011 to November 2012

My first poetry collection is due out any day -- I have author's copies in my hands

So my goal / hopes for this year are trimmed down, yet still quite massive:

1) Finish a solid first draft of the Oklahoma memoir (hopefully in January!), then a final draft by summer.
2) Find a press for Gardening Wild: How to Grow Sustainably for Butterflies, Bees, Birds, and More
3) Find a more secure job with benefits. Teaching would be most fine.
4) Move to an acreage if #2 pans out. Begin prairie restoration. Begin plant raising to sell at farmer's markets. Build artist sheds for residencies on acreage.
5) Begin writing two experimental nonfiction books and one children's book.
6) Watch my wife get her PhD. And maybe we'll both get jobs (here's our joint job ad).


Diana Studer said...

Congratulations on the Audubon appointment! Wish you every success with your 2013 list.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Well done with breaking even.

The snake is interesting - though glad I can't smell it.

Have a successful 2013.

Victoria Summerley said...

I sympathise with the desire for a regular income, but reading this review of the year, you sound so positive and upbeat. Have a wonderful 2013 - and here's to seeing your name on many more signs, books ... and blog posts! Best wishes, Victoria

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

So much to be grateful for in your life and I say congrats as you are quite the inspiration Benjamin...I looked back on your retrospective and had to chuckle as I remembered so many stories just from the have quite the gift and I look forward to reading more of your gift!

Benjamin Vogt said...

D--Thanks! We'll see how it goes. I'm a private introvert to it may be a challenge. :)
L--Yeah, I'll take even for a 1st year. Time to make a profit.
V--That's the trick, I SOUND positive and upbeat. I'm really not. Last fall allowed me little time to write or think or sleep and I feel drained.
D--I'm so glad someone remembered the stories behind the pics! Always glad to have you all stop by!

Les said...

As has been said way too many times before, may all your dreams come true.

Heather/xericstyle said...

Blogger ate my first comment - GRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr so if you get two...sorry in advance.
LOVE the picture "garden in July" how you could get lost in it all. You had an incredible year! congrats! What I love most is clearly y'all are big dreamers - I love that. I married one too. and he is a phD too! Seems we have a lot in common. I look forward to following your blog. CHEERS Y'ALL!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

My goodness what a diverse year. So nice to be able to document it so easily these days. Such a wonderful project, writing your family history. Hope it all comes along well.