My Spring 2024 Garden Accomplishments

Half Circle

A wonderful spring in the garden: baby birds, fruit harvests, and butterflies

2024 has been an incredible year in my garden because I achieved several goals of mine. These goals include harvesting my own fruit, bringing more pollinators to the garden, and cultivating a space where life can flourish. 

Between the multiple nests of baby birds, the sweet fruit I ate right off the vine, and the butterflies floating around my garden, I have a lot to be proud of. This growing season has reminded me that achieving our goals takes patience and dedication, but the results are worth the hard work.

My delicious fruit harvest of 2024

When I started growing plants in my backyard, I had a lot to learn. My goals were simple: Keep plants alive and help them grow. Each year, my knowledge deepened, and I could set more advanced goals.

As my garden grew and flourished, one goal kept coming to mind: Grow my own fruit! I love fruit. It’s my favorite food group and I felt my garden would be incomplete without some fruit-producing plants. 

This year, I achieved this goal, with harvests from my peach tree, nectarine tree, blueberry bush, and blackberry bush. Additionally, I have grapes and pomegranates ripening. Wow! 

Now, my harvests varied in quantity, but I’m proud of each accomplishment. While I collected dozens of nectarines but only two peaches, eating a peach pulled fresh from the tree will be a highlight of my year. My blueberry harvest totaled to a handful or so, which may not seem like much, but sharing them with friends and family was an opportunity to bond over the sweetness of spring. 

I juiced nectarines as well as ate them whole, and the juice was unexpectedly thick and creamy. 

“I’ve never had nectarine juice,” remarked several of friends who tried it, yet all agreed: It was tasty and luxurious. 

We’ve had a few blackberries here and there, each of them bursting with flavor and rich, purple juice. Again, a few berries might be someone others would scoff at, but for me, they represent years of hard work and the beginning of my garden harvests. Deeply rooted and accustomed to my environment, these plants are set to continue thriving, growing, and producing more fruit. 

The joy of baby birds nesting in the garden

Few things lift my spirits and inspire me more than baby birds in the garden. I am honored that my garden has been home to three nests (that I know of) this year. One of them was right outside of my front door, and the current nest is a few feet away from that one in my camelia bush. I had never seen a baby cardinal up close until this nest!

What a delight it is to visit the little birds everyday. I like to speak to them so they come to know my voice, and feel comfortable around me when we’re in my garden together. One of the most magical experiences I’ve had is sitting down while the baby birds by my door began practicing to fly. I sat on the ground, quiet and still, observing the little creatures with their fluffy feathers hop and swoop from one perch to another, calling to each other and testing their wings. 

After they left the nest, I continued to see them in my garden; all five birds perched on the fence together. I would speak to them the same way I did when they were in the nest so they would recognize me and know I was not a threat. 

Every nest I find shows me that I have created a place where life can thrive, and this to me is a sign of garden success. 

Butterflies & the resilience of nature

In the fall of 2022, I decided I would plant passion vine in my garden to support the butterfly populations and bring them to my garden. There were already several caterpillars on the plant, and I looked upon them with wonder and anticipation of the seasons to come. 

Unfortunately, that plant did not survive the winter, which was something I did not expect because it was a native plant. What disappointment! $70 wasted and I would have to wait until another season for my vision….

But then…

The passion vine began growing out of my raised bed, as well as out of the ground! The plant had not died, but expanded in the earth waiting until the time was right to grow above ground.

And in the spring of 2024, the amount of passion vine to grow back itself after the frosts of winter increased exponentially. The plant is covering the back corner of my fence!

The vines are home to caterpillars and cocoons, and butterflies are regular visitors in my garden!

Everyday I look outside to see them flutter and fly around, and I’m reminded that nature is resilient. One plant can support countless insects and animals, and I smile at the living picture I see through my windows. 

The lessons I’ve learned

The birds, butterflies, and fruit taught me that everything we do matters, and we can have profound effects on those around us. We can make a positive difference if we align our actions with the betterment of ourselves, and our community.

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