I have not gardened for all that long, only since moving to five acres in rural southeastern Iowa in 2008. Before that, I found myself becoming increasingly interested in garden photos and books (I guess I came to gardening through books, not through doing gardening). But gardening is now my primary hobby, one that gets a bookish person like me outdoors, gives me exercise and allows me to strive toward making my surroundings more beautiful. I volunteer with the Master Gardener program through the Iowa State University Extension, and I highly recommend joining the MG program if there is one near you.
In my gardens I love to have masses of lovely flowers: Colorful spring bulb displays to banish winter's grays, the glory of late spring and early summer perennial flowers, followed by late summer annuals from seeds and starts, and ending with late-season roses and a few autumn perennials; this has been my approach to maximizing flowerage. My efforts to improve the results in my own gardens are still ongoing, but this is my overall strategy. I prefer old-fashioned "common" flowers -- they're common because most of them are easy to grow and flower generously. But I try to experiment with new seeds and plants every season -- who knows how wonderful a less-well-known cultivar could turn out to be?
About me personally: I was born and raised in a college town in central Iowa, and I'm married to a very nice veterinarian who helps me with the more brawn-requiring tasks in my gardens. He also grows vegetables, feeds chickens and sheep, and drives his 1940 Ford 9N tractor when it's needed for garden maintenance. We have a daughter and a son, whom I home school, and who (very) occasionally help in the garden. We also have two cats, a very hardworking Jack Russell/rat terrier dog who allows me to garden nearly deer- and rabbit-free, and the above-mentioned chickens and sheep.
I hope you will enjoy reading about my learning about gardens and my attempts to make my own gardens more beautiful (although, as you can see from the photo below, I am already surrounded by beauty, regardless of my gardening efforts). I realize that I'm very lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and hope I can share it with readers.
Thanks for reading!