My only visit to Washington state - just last year - left me in awe of the beauty there, and the special kind of fairy tale feeling that the woods held. In Monica's garden in that part of the world, I think she beautifully captures the magical feeling and folkloric vibe that her environment inspires. I hope you enjoy this peek into her garden, and perhaps you too will be inspired by her words about the importance of beauty in a garden space.
Welcome to Monica's Garden!
Gardener: Monica Crosson
Garden Location and Zone: Western Washington state, 8a
Garden Size: My garden encompasses approximately ½ acre
How long have you been gardening?
I have been gardening for over 25 years and received my ‘Master Gardener’ status through Washington State University over 10 years ago.
Why do you garden?
I was born and raised in western Washington on a small farm where gardening was an intrinsic part of our life. My childhood memories are full of wet, green springs planting seeds with my parents and grandparents; of sun-splashed summers picking strawberries and canning the fruits of our labor; of crisp autumn mornings gleaning peas and picking apples; and long, dark winters in front of a fire, our bellies full and content with the knowledge, that because of our hard work, we would never go hungry.
How would you describe your garden?
I have always appreciated the beauty and functionality of the European potager garden. With raised beds that incorporate my vegetable, herbal and medicinal needs, not only do they offer easy maintenance, but a simple beauty, that hearkens to the romance of cottage gardens of fairy-tales and folklore.
I love being surrounded by beauty, so we designed our gardens to a part of our ‘living space.’ As soon as you step out of a door in our home, you are in a garden. And one garden transitions smoothly to the next. I like to incorporate places for relaxing and contemplation, as well. And because I live in Washington state, we have covered areas, too- so we can be comfortable in the garden any time of year.
What do you most love to grow?
I try to grow a variety of crops that I know everyone enjoys. We all love berries, so we have nine rows of raspberries, 16 blueberry bushes, and a tiered bed of strawberries- which we freeze or make into jam. My son, Elijah loves to pickle beets, so he has dedicated two raised beds to growing different varieties of beets. Cabbage is another favorite, which we make into sauerkraut and of course, who doesn’t love home-grown tomatoes?!
If you have children, what role do they play in your gardening?
I raised my three children (high school and college-aged now) in the garden. They turned compost and planted seeds by my side from the time they could walk. As I placed the first tiny seeds into their willing hands, I always told them about the power held within the seed’s casing- the power to heal, nurture, sustain life or take life away.
I believe the most important thing we can do for children is get them into the garden. Children who garden are more adventurous and healthful eaters, and it’s a great source of exercise. But best of all, children who garden are more likely to become adults who garden.
Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Monica Crosson and I am a writer for Llewellyn Worldwide. I live in western Washington state nestled along the Sauk River in the North Cascades mountain range. Monica's website is www.monicacrosson.com
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Thank you, Monica, for sharing your garden!
(If you'd like to share your garden with us this season, send me an email for more details. We'd love to visit!)