About me

A few basic facts about my garden and me: I am Ingrid or Lila, I respond to either (the Lila bit is a long story, I will spare you the details, but you could talk to my brother ;) I am a hobby photographer, concerned citizen of this world, lover of nature, and of course enthusiastic part time gardener. Not necessarily in that order and of course incomplete, as we humans tend to be a complex bunch. I have ancestors who were professional gardeners and there was even a forester among them, and I think some of these genes must have come through because I love anything to do with the outdoors.

The very 1st garden that I can recall was my parents’ and grandmother’s garden. Carefree times, with absolutely no responsibility but with lots of rewards. We grew just about everything; there were fields with strawberries, trees that brought delicious harvests of cherries, apples, pears, peaches, or big juicy plums, and of course the palette of vegetables that were used in our meals, at times those were our breakfast lunch and dinner. Some these trees are still around, marked by age, yet still producing.

As I moved around a bit in the years following, I’ve always had a garden, if not the physical reality of one, then the garden was in my heart (and something growing in a flowerpot on a window sill or patio). I grew fabulous tomatoes and peaches in the sandy soil of New Jersey, established a new garden in Bavaria (where the vegetables were sparse but wild flowers abounded), and now I find myself back in Austria, growing ‘things’ in the garden of my childhood. A circle? Maybe.

In a simple plot, in a corner behind the house, much scaled back from the garden that was tended by my mother, is where I spend a lot of my free time, doing what gardeners have done forever. Planning, planting, tending, harvesting, admiring. And having a great time doing whatever it takes to make it grow.

I really couldn’t tell you what possessed me to start growing my own vegetables. After all, for years we have been quite happy buying whatever food we needed at local supermarkets where the selection can make your mouth water and the seasons never end. Cherries for dessert on Christmas day, asparagus in February, oranges in June, is everybody happy? Yes! Yes! Yes! Until one thinks of the costs, not just monetary, of transporting these things halfway around the world to your kitchen table.

Let me start at the beginning …

If you have ever had any work done in or around your house this might sound familiar and you have my full and heartfelt sympathy. I had the first niggling feeling that we might be in for more than we bargained for the day a bulldozer sat in the middle of what used to be our living room and started belching smoke and moving earth back and forth. Next came the bathroom, then the kitchen. You have not been in touch with nature until you have had to take your shower outdoors, rain or shine, no matter what the temperature. In our defense I have to say that we did have the foresight to plan this for the summer months. In retrospect I have to say that I feel very lucky that our marriage survived it all ;)

It could have been the simple plot behind the house, an empty plot where the tires of numerous machines had left deep gouges before departing not a day too soon. The plot sent out accusing vibes every time I passed it by, not a blade of grass in sight, just a big empty, ugly plot of earth. In early spring, as the first sparse green blades started to poke out of the barely thawed uneven soil I had to come to a decision. Either plant grass (another area to mow? nope!), plant a big flower bed (a lot of effort where I already had more than enough blooming plants tucked into various corners of the garden), or maybe, for the heck of it, turn that area into something useful. Like a vegetable patch . . .