When you get down to it, we’re all optimistic

I’m an optimistic person, in general, so it comes as no surprise to the people in my life that I’m also an optimistic gardener. Gardening is both cathartic and challenging, restful and stressful. If you do it right, you get in a lot of steps and work your muscles digging in the dirt.

I wrote The Optimistic Gardener for The Apex Herald for five summers, and learned a ton of interesting things. When I worked for WRAL.com, I wrote a daily blog called Gardening Gloves that added to my mental database of good practices. Like, one reader clued me in to hanging a bar of Irish Spring in the garden would deter deer. I never tried that one, but got a great laugh out of visualizing well-fed, good-smelling deer. Have you ever tried the soap trick? I also learned that people collect hair clippings from salons to sprinkle at the base of hydrangeas to alter the pH. I never tried that one because eww.

I’m excited to be at the point in life where I can explore new tips and tricks and talk about them again. Four years ago we moved from Wake County out onto some land in Chatham County. Into the middle of a meadow. With no trees, no shade, and a ton of wind. This summer we’ve started raising chickens — three of our girls are Rhode Island Red’s (Scarlett, Nemo, and Maude) and three are Ameracauna’s (June Carter Cash, Lady Gaga, and Lilac). My husband just got 8,000 honeybees. I finally have time to participate in the Master Gardener Cooperative Extension Program. And I just got my vegetable garden started.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener, a professional, or just starting out, this summer we’re going to take an everyday approach to gardening to learn new tips, best practices and heirloom tricks that make us all Optimistic Gardeners.

If you haven’t read the Chatham News & Record yet, check them out. My column will run bi-weekly.