My brother Brian the Firefighter and his family live up in Virginia.
Over the last few years he’s been restoring a lovely older wood home located on a little less than an acre of land near the coast. His wife Danielle is a talented gardener with an artistic flair and my brother is good at building and getting things done. He also has an eye for detail so they make a great team.
My parents are visiting them right now and Mom sent me some photos of their gardens to share here.
First… my brother!
And the house (with one of my cute nieces in front):
The soil in this area of Virginia is rich and loamy.
They’ve had great luck growing everything from Seminole pumpkins to peaches, raspberries, strawberries, herbs and sunflowers.
Towards the front corner of the yard, there is a peach tree surrounded by other edibles:
Rosemary, raspberries, lilies…
And some years ago I gave Danielle a potted strawberry plant. Not only did she keep it alive, she’s multiplied it.
Check out this little strawberry patch, all from that one hanging basket:
Having a green thumb plus the right climate = happy strawberries.
As my parents were visiting, Brian was able to get a local tree-trimming company to dump a load of mulch in the yard:
It’s hard to beat free mulch.
By the way: if you have access to shredded wood chips and would like to use them for more than just mulch, it’s easy to make them into lots of compost. Just layer chips with some hot manure – like chicken manure – or soak the pile of mulch multiple times in diluted urine. Get some nitrogen in there and the pile will break down nicely into high-quality compost for your garden.
Or, just have your wife and daughter help you spread it as mulch. It feeds the ground that way, too.
Beyond gardening, my brother’s family also keeps chickens and ducks for eggs:
My brother is very good at building things. I once watched him build a playhouse from an old wooden fence in about four hours.
We’re talking framing, floor, roof… Brian is good.
No matter where you look, there’s some of his handicraft, plus something growing.