My Secret Garden


My parents had been visiting for two days already when they said, “Where is your garden?”

Me: “It’s that plot of weeds we’ve got fenced in over there…….”

That’s why it’s my secret garden. It sounds so much more cool when I put it that way, doesn’t it?

We’ve had some struggles with our garden’s first year, foremost being time. Gardens love to have time spent on them. Between moving and unpacking, not to mention getting started with chickens and goats and a giant puppy, time to garden has been in short supply. The levelling of the land around our house during construction, resulting in the topsoil being scraped off, didn’t help much, either, nor did our lack of a tiller or tractor this spring. It’s completely overgrown.

But my garden has been amazingly forgiving.

My lettuce just started bolting in the past week, but it’s provided countless salads.

We’ve got lots of little pumpkins and gourds promising me autumn decorations and pie. I think they whispered something about crisp, perfect weather and pintfuls of milk from Clover, too.

Zucchini and yellow squash have been producing in their heedless exuberance. I’ve never had a garden where I couldn’t grow too many zucchini and squash. I bet they could grow it on Mars.

The garden has provided potfuls of green beans.

And tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and more. I’ve got jalapeno and banana peppers and big tomatoes in the garden, and cherry and roma in pots. My herbs this year are all potted, too.

I love this valiant tomato plant that sprang up by surprise outside the garden. It’s independent and determined. It doesn’t want to be lost in the crowd. When it gets a little bigger, it’s probably going to dye its hair purple and get tattoos. It’s going to be trouble, this one, I can tell.

It’s soul-mate, this flower, also popped up outside the flower bed.

The big flower bed is full of blooms now.

I love sunflowers. Can you look at a sunflower and not be happy? I don’t think so. I like to cut them to bring inside so I can be with them all the time like I’m their stalker.

I’m growing cats in my garden, too.

I have eight now, so I’m doing pretty good!

I even had visitors to my secret garden yesterday! Well, they didn’t exactly come to see the garden, and I’m not sure they recognized it as a garden until I pointed it out and they came closer to take a look. After, you know, they got done meeting and greeting Coco, Dookie, the chickens, and the goats.

Blog reader and sheep farmer Kathy and her partner, Mike-the chicken-whisperer (I’ll explain that in a minute) came to pick up boxes and boxes of books I’ve been trying to unload on some charitable-minded person who would dispose of them helpfully, and Kathy came to my rescue.

Coco told her thank you. And ate all the cookies I gave them to give to Clover.

Mike went into the cihcken yard and handily picked up the banty hen and set her on his hand like she was a pet.

That banty hen won’t give me the time of day. Not that I’m bitter.

Kathy brought me some of her farm-fresh eggs and I gave them a fresh-baked loaf of Grandmother Bread. They ate pie on the pie porch and then Princess tried to kill Mike with a ball. They escaped with their lives. Aren’t they a cute pair?

We had another group of visitors later in the afternoon. Not so welcome visitors, at least not near my secret garden. They looked around and said, “No garden here….” And off they went.



  1. Farm Girl says:

    Just love your blog, it is the first one I read every morning. It so reminds me of our first time on our farm. We had goats, rabbits, chickens, and eventually horses. Not to mention cats and a dog or two. Many happy memories. Thanks for reminding me of all the little things, ‘struggles and all’ that I had forgotten.

    I grew up in the the foothills of eastern Kentucky. Everything was either ‘up or down’, no flat land to work with.

  2. MMHONEY says:


  3. Shirley says:

    :typing: Your blog is the first thing I look at in the morning and it never fails to put a smile on my face.
    I love sunflowers too. And daisies.
    Thank you for being such a joy.

  4. Blaze says:

    Suzanne McMinn-Sunflower Stalker 9pm Lifetime.

    Come on does that SO not sound like a Lifetime movie?
    It should at least be included in an about the Author or something.
    Its to awesome to pass up!

  5. Tresha says:

    Kathy and Mike are cute! what a great picture on your porch…you should frame the pictures of all your pie porch visitors (especially since it is a brand new porch) and make it a Pie Porch Wall of Fame!

    AND…just so you know, I have a tiller and weeds are still in my garden….I guess just having the tiller doesn’t do much you actually have to use it…also I am the only person in the entire world that cannot grow tomatoes. Everything else is no problem but those pesky tomatoes hate me….what is my deal? OH YEA! I need chore boots.

    Tresh in Oklahoma

  6. Lisa L. says:

    I bet you Clover would love to eat the weeds for you. Maybe you can teach her the difference between the weeds and the veggies and let her have a go? :hungry:

  7. Maureen says:

    Your garden is producing some great rewards. I love your sunflowers. My husband tried growing them a couple of years ago but the groundhog in our neighbor’s yard ate all of them. He let us see them grow a bit so we could get excited and then they were gone.

  8. Debbie in Memphis says:

    Your blog is my favorite way to start the day. I have to read it first thing or my day just doesn’t get started right.

    It all looks beautiful! I wish I had a secret garden ๐Ÿ™ One of these days, I will.

  9. MARY says:

    :butterfly: I think it’s an awesome garden. I love all the things you “grow!” Have a great day! :treehugger:

  10. jane says:

    Your blog is the way I start my very hectic and often stressful day. thanks for the tour of your garden. wow – what great pictures. loved the pumpkin – cant wait for fall and winter. loved the picture on the pie porch of your visitors. come and visit the stringtown farm rising and have some pie!!!! pick up a chicken or two, pet the goats, harvest the garden, relax on the porch with a cat or two at your feet – heaven suzanne – heaven.

  11. jessica says:

    I’m just a tad bit jealous of your secret garden there! You are going to have some great pumpkins soon, too.

  12. Suzette says:

    Isn’t it interesting how many of us start our day at your place?

    Loved the peek at your garden. My thumb isn’t very green, and so I would be totally proud of a garden like yours. Jealous, in fact.

  13. Pam says:

    Cute post this morning! I love the concept of a secret garden… can I borrow that as mine has grown more than its share of weeds too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. heidi says:

    Just fyi- Squash will not grow in my border bed garden! I’ve seen lots of flowers but not a single squash- now I’m just picking the flowers and stuffing them. I live in Ohio-not Mars- but am surrounded by beds of clay and I think we have VERY lazy bees!
    I’d be pleased to have a garden with weeds if the produce came along with it!

  15. Jill S. says:

    LOL, those deer will be back!!!

    LOVE the sunflowers. And the rebel tomato plant.

  16. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    That secret garden is awesome and you’re right they are very forgiving. I especially like the volunteers outside the fence line. Kathy and the chicken whisperer are as cute as they can be.

    BTW, I’m going to bake your Buttermilk Pie recipe this weekend. My lifelong goal is to find the perfect piece of pie.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  17. Crystal B. says:

    Don’t you just love all the great produce. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have had a much better garden this year and I am have been very thankful. Love your photos.

  18. Shari C says:

    Your blog always starts my day feeling happy. Thank you!

    Since I don’t have a very ‘green thumb’ I usually find the less I do in my garden the better everything grows…hmmm, haven’t quite figures that one out yet, but it works.

  19. Lora says:

    Wow! a secret garden is a wonderful thing. You can tell people the weeds are camoflage…you know, to hide the garden.
    Thankyou for being here every morning.
    Anybody who is interested in “At Last” my cd, can e-mail me at
    [email protected]
    Thankyou, Suzanne for liking it and including it in the picture on yesterdays blog!

  20. Robin G. says:

    Sounds to me like your garden is doing just fine!

    And yes, long after nuclear winter tries to cancel out global warming, zucchini will still be here. Evolving.

  21. Beckynsc says:

    Unfortunately, my garden looks like yours. I have had no time to keep it up. But my birdhouse gourd plant has taken it over,really, just one plant. I have gourds growing in the yard, the garden and a tree.
    The sunflower is beautiful!

  22. IowaCowgirl says:

    nice visitors – both bipeds and quads!

    and I, like Suzanne the Farmer’s Wife will be making the buttermilk pie today.

    the garden looks extremely productive to me (I too have a weeding problem/issue)

  23. Donna says:

    OHH, I lOVED all the pictures and stories, Suzanne! And I got to see my Coco!!!! I LOVE your garden! You have ALOT of yummy things!! With food prices as they are today…it has to be a huge help, I would think!
    I loved the pic of Mike holding the Banty…and the sweet deer..loved seeing it all. Thank you! :mrgreen:

  24. Gail L. says:

    I love your Secret Garden. Maybe it produced so well because of the weeds! Anyway, it has that natural, relaxed
    look. Sunflowers are a favorite of mine too. Years ago we used to grow them and dry the heads and use the seed for
    bird feed. My one goat loves sunflower seed and her coat is nice and shiny. The deer do like they are whispering to one another and making plans.

  25. Carole says:

    Your garden looks great to me since I don’t have a green thumb :thumbsup: . I do love sunflowers! My favorite flower with my favorite color.

  26. Traci Best says:

    Oh for the days of the fresh garden veggies! That is the one thing I miss most every summer. Living in the city has it’s perks…but man O man there are days I crave to get OUT and stay out in the country!

    Traci :cowsleep:

  27. Donna says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention…one thing my mother used to LOVE when we lived in Germany, was she would have lunch in a little resteraunt in a village and the chef would go behind outside and pick her salad FRESH and that just thrilled her. My mother was THE biggest salad freak on the planet! No wonder she was still so shapely and gorgeous when she died!

  28. Jean says:

    I love the way you love your garden and the world around you. You always make me look at things around me differently. Yes, Kathy and Mike look like a great couple. Glad you’re enjoying your life – you have earned it.

  29. Michelle Willingham says:

    Great pictures, Suzanne! Wish my garden looked like yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Debbie says:

    Thank you for your website-I just love to visit here.

    Yor garden looks great! Mine is gone…gone…gone! I planted modestly this year, and the deer got everything. I live in surburbia, in the middle of a development…..the deer are very determined to reclaim their land! Did I mention the house has been here for 50 years? I think the deer have been pushed out from other areas.

    Next year…..a fence!

  31. Debbie says:

    ACK! Typos again!

    Really…I can spell…just can’t type~ :typing:

  32. Joanne says:

    You are one special gardener…you can grow cats!!! About the only thing i’ve managed to grow this year is thistles. They’ve taken over everything…of course i’m sure it doesn’t help much that I haven’t been able to get out there and work with it. You must feel so blessed to live here, thanks for sharing it all with us.

  33. Brandy says:

    My garden is partially dead. Yours is more forgiving! Wonderful pictures!

  34. Katharina says:

    Oh good! You have personal contact with sheep farmers. Now you can get some lambies in the spring. Yay!

    Weeds, weeds, ubiquitous weeds…my back is aching from pulling pig weed and lambs quarter that got away from me this summer. I cleared a 20x 10 foot path that looks perfect. Only 80 x 10 ft. to go. HA HA. Don’t think I have it in me. I just have to dig around in them to find my veggies.

  35. Estella says:

    Never underestimate the appetite of deer. They came right into town and ate my gladoli and nasturtiums. Also ate my husbands grape and the neighbors geraniums.

  36. anne says:

    Hi Suzanne, Every morning I cannot wait to see what you have posted for the day !
    Absolutely love you blog !!
    Your pie porch is just fantastic, I am jealous.

  37. Susan says:

    Your garden is much more fruitful than mine is!

  38. Devon Ellington says:

    How lovely. Thanks for sharing the pictures. One of the things I’m looking forward to most when I move is having a garden.

  39. Shelley says:

    :hungry: Your garden is so bountiful – I love the way it is set up! When I read your blog, I sometimes wish the posts would never end. Like everyone else here – I just enjoy your blog so much – the humor and the heartfelt feeling you put into it.

  40. Egghead says:

    You are so funny. I love that picture of Mike with the hen sitting on his hand. Very cute! So that garden has a few weeds….so what. I say if it produces that is all that matters. Very good. Oh happy day! :elephant:

  41. Yoga Grl says:

    Hi-I’ve just (re)discovered your blog, and I really love it! Can’t wait to read more…

  42. Yoga Grl says:

    Hi. I’ve just (re)discovered your blog, and so glad that I did. I really loved this post, and I’m looking forward to regular reading…

  43. Yoga Grl says:

    Oops! Sorry about the double comment-hit my return button before I was done writing/editing ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. catslady says:

    Always love the pics – today I especially enjoyed the lone daisy and cat :catmeow: I grew sunflowers one year and had them put aside for the seeds and the mr. threw them out :hissyfit: I live in the suburbs so no large garden but I did have a nice amount of green onions and now I’m getting some tomatoes – I eat the cherries like candy :yes:

  45. Carolyn A. says:

    I just love the way you put things on your posts. “That banty won’t give me the time of day. Not that I’m bitter.” So funny! You seems like the perfect hostess in any situation though. And for being in such an out of the way place, you get your share of company. I think that’s excellent. Hope your you can tame that mater plant, can’t wait to see what comes from it. Keep us posted. xxoo

  46. Carolyn A. says:

    Wow! I seriously need to check my comments before I hit the submit button, don’t I? *Smile*

  47. SuzieQ says:

    Whenever I see sunflowers I remember the ones in my favorite movie, Dr Zhivago, in which the photography is beyond beautiful. I remember the petals falling slowly to the table as sunshine and shadows were fading. Beyond beautiful, indeed!

  48. Kathi says:

    We are just proud you were wearing pants so you COULD have a visitor! Congrats! :>

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