A Special Garden Visit – Tuesday Garden Party

 Shannan's garden_blog

One of the first handful of participants here at the Tuesday Garden Party when we started three years ago was Shannan from Traveling Memories. Through the years I have gotten to know her through her Salem, Oregon garden, pictured above, that she has shared with us.

I’ve been especially impressed with Shannan because she took a little sliver of a backyard and made it produce enough to feed her family and have enough left to can and freeze.

One thing we’ve never seen here at the TGP, though, is this:

That’s me with Shannan! Can you believe it? It’s a first here – me meeting one of you – and I’m still kinda giddy about it!

How did this unlikely event occur? Well, I plan on stalking all of you through the Internet until you allow me to visit your homes, and Shannan was the first on my list.


Remember when I whined complained that I hadn’t started any plants from seed for the first time in more than a decade? Shannan left a comment offering me her extra starts if we could figure out a way to get up there. I was floored by her generosity, but to be honest, I didn’t think it would work. We’re an hour south of her and with gas prices so high, I couldn’t just drive up there (pretty much negate the savings on the veggie starts, wouldn’t it?).

When we had to be in Salem for our daughter’s district track meet last weekend, I emailed her on the off chance she lived near the high school where they were being held.

Guess what? She lives 8 minutes from there!! Seriously it was meant to be – I was thankfully over my sickness (though all four of Shannan’s kids have been sick, poor things), the weather was beautiful, and her sons baseball game was cancelled, so she’d be home when we could come. Yeah!

Isn’t her shade border, above, just beautiful? And it’s only the beginning of the season here. You can see I’m seriously studying it…kinda looks like I’m trying to figure out a way to steal some of those bleeding hearts, doesn’t it?

This, however was the most amazing thing in Shannan’s garden. This blueberry in a large pot started as a typical twig a couple years ago. In fact, she said she also planted a couple in the ground at the same time – and, get this: the plants in the ground still look like twigs.

Seriously, I saw them (still can’t believe I get to say that!), though she potted them up this year since the two she initially planted in pots grew to be these huge 4-foot-tall bushes, one of which you see above.

Sadly, the other bush, which resembled the former just a bit ago has contracted some sort of fungus that’s shriveling all the blooms and browning the leaves. Shannan doesn’t know what it is (and neither did I), but she’s trimming off the affected branches in the hopes that the unaffected ones won’t get it.

Why this whole blueberry-in-a-pot-thing was amazing to me is that my experience has always been that plants do better in the ground. Obviously, you can grow most things in pots, too, and with care they will thrive, but given a choice, the ground usually wins out. I’ve NEVER seen this type of dramatic difference between plants grown in the ground versus pots before- have you?

(Oh, and Shannan said she used a mix of compost, garden soil, and peat moss – the key, she feels – plus coffee grounds. I’m definitely adding coffee grounds and peat moss to my in-ground blueberries to see if I can get some of this great growth, ’cause I just can’t see me diggin’ them all up!).

So thank you, Shannan (here with her hubby, Jeremy – aren’t they sweet?), for hosting this Internet stalker (and her husband…yeah, Brian took all the photos), showing her your garden, and sharing your tomato, pepper, and basil starts – I’ll never forget it!

What have you been up to this week?


  1. says

    How fun that you got to meet with one of your readers!! I have a few people I’d love to meet. Someday. :-)

    I’ve had the opposite experience ~ my plants always do better in the ground than in pots for some reason. I rarely have good luck with potted plants.

  2.  says

    Isn’t that the coolest thing to meet one of your readers? One of my 50 before 50 is to meet a reader/friend from blogland, so if you’re ever up in Yacolt, WA, we’ll have to plan to meet. :)

    Thanks for hosting! I’m sharing a post about two garden “visitors” we had last week.

    Blessings, ~Lisa :)

  3.  says

    What a wonderful garden, and how fun you got to meet one of your readers.

    I have blueberry plants which are doing okay in the ground. I’m going to try the coffee grounds tip and see if that helps them grow better.

  4. says

    What a great opportunity!! Shannan, you have a lovely garden! I also need to amend the soil in my blueberries to get some more production. I will certainly keep these notes to help me out.

  5. says

    Wow, that’s so awesome. Every time I’m digging up a perennial to divide it I think, I wish some of the people that comment so often were close enough to share with! How fun that the stars aligned for you guys.

  6. The Sage Butterfly says

    Thanks for the tour. I forgot to put some coffee grounds around my blueberry bush this year…thanks for the reminder. And thanks for hosting.

  7. says

    What a great experience for you, Jami! I’ve met one blog friend in real life, and it was so much fun. If you’re ever in central NC, you’re welcome at our homestead. :)

    Carolina Country Living

  8. says

    Shannan is a great friend of mine, and she is how I found your blog (which I love and have learned so much from!), and I live in Springfield (not too far from you, right?), so this post is just the best of all the worlds combined together in one!!

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