‘What are you looking at?’

Published 8:49 am Monday, June 13, 2022

By Stella Payne

Virginia Master Naturalist

What do you see from your kitchen window or principal window you spend time near? 

I see the neighbor’s Virginia Magnolia merging in with my Southern Bayberry (Wax Myrtle). I see the vegetable plots on the left with young leeks and bok choy. On both sides of the drive, I see groups of small plot pollination. On the right I see the mailbox and the small plot succession going on. I see herbs, in tubs and in the beds. I see the stacks of vertical deadhead stalks, left through the winter for the insects and birds. The list goes on.

Anytime is a good time to think of changes to your yards. Households are spending time at home and enjoying their outdoor spaces more. Many are expressing an interest in growing vegetables and looking to engage their children in this endeavor.

My daughter has finished building four new raised beds next to her kitchen backdoor to grow soft fruits. She can see the beds from her kitchen window. Her young children enjoy planting and digging in the garden and are thrilled at the prospect of picking fruit.

To get the best growing area for vegetables, a neighbor removed Chinese Privet bushes from along one side of her house. This side is where the family and her small children hang out and play.  

A friend removed a small unused deck from under a set of French windows. In the space she has designed a mini, fenced garden with year-round interest of some of her favorite plants. Another reason for this design is, as she ages she can manage the small garden and enjoy the view indoors whilst sitting near the French windows.

Recently, another friend asked for advice in planting vegetables but is afraid to put her beds in the front yard. The front is the best location for the vegetables to succeed. She is concerned about homeowner restrictions. What could be more productive than growing vegetables for her large family?

To add more interest to what I see from my window, I have acquired two differing heights of circular frames to help native vines climb vertically. This is my 2022 plan as written in the article “Vines and more vines.” Carolina Jessamine will be the workhorse on one side of the frame and maybe the Purple Passion vine on the other side. I did promise myself the semi-evergreen Coral Honeysuckle. The idea is changing, the frames may be used for the cucumbers. Looking out of my window does inspire me to encourage variety and diversity. I hope ideas come to your mind as you look out of your primary window and ask, “What are you looking at?”