I just returned from my community garden plot where I harvested a ton of onions, garlic, and borage. They were all overflowing in the plot and some needed to be sacrificed for the good of the garden and future harvests. The garlic had already formed a few cloves each. I left plenty more that will stay put until the fall when they are fully formed. I’m figuring on some sort of soup for the borage. Something that would benefit from a cucumbery flavor. The flowers are good in fizzy beverages. The onions will become tonight’s meal, French Onion Soup.
I also harvested my first cucumber (‘Parisian Pickling’), radish flowers, swiss chard and lots of herbs including basil (2 kinds), ‘Golden’ oregano, variegated marjoram, and garlic chives.
The valerian plants were COVERED in lady bug larvae! So exciting! Sorry no photos. I took my film camera with me.
Not a day has gone by over the last month where our meals haven’t been prepared with some percentage of harvest from the gardens. As the summer heats up that percentage is growing. Filling the fridge (and our bellies) with my own harvest is very satisfying. It just never grows old. And neither does bragging and gloating about it.
Yesterday afternoon. I am standing over a table of zucchini transplants contemplating a purchase. This is a yellow variety that looks to have the interesting mottled leaf pattern I like. I am holding a tentative purchase in one hand while I scan the table, holding out for the healthiest looking plant in the bunch. I find one that looks to be just a bit nicer than the one I am currently holding and as I reach to replace the old choice with the new choice a thought suddenly and very unexpectedly enters my mind.
I feel sorry for the plant I am putting back! I am not giving it a home, a nice place to grow and flourish. What if no one buys it? What if it sits on that table for weeks waiting to spread its roots into some good earth and I had lead it on to a sense of false hope during those few fleeting moments that I held it in my hand and now that hope is crushed because I chose something “slightly better.” And what if the plant was just having a bad day? Last night was hard! What if we had some kind of bond, a plant-to-human connection that I tossed away so cavalierly simply because its’ leaves weren’t as large as the other plant’s leaves!
And as I stand there paralyzed with this sudden and completely nut-so guilt, I am struck even deeper by the horror that I have seriously gone over the edge and become the plant version of the crazy cat lady or the sculpturist who believes that the clay speaks to her.
And then it happens again at another store, this time over a lavender plant.
This is how they will look for the next few months — there’s no fighting it. I must have washed my hands about a thousand times in the last week alone. Just as soon as I get them reasonably clean they’re back in the soil again to put in a new plant or fix a little something. I just can’t get with glove-wearing and only force myself to wear them in the street garden. What can I say? I just prefer to feel my hands working through the soil and touching plants, the dirt worn like a badge of honor pressing from underneath my nails.
This is a little of what I saw only a week ago in Portland. I’ve got to get on developing my film so I can coast on images of actual living things through these last foul weeks/months of winter. Click on the images to see them larger.
Lush, green carpets of fresh moss covering every static surface. The moss shown here is on the side of a tree trunk. I touched and rubbed a lot of trees. I’m guessing the locals are used to that.
I fell in love with these gorgeous pathways at the Chinese Garden. The garden features several, completely unique pathways meticulously crafted from tiny river rocks. Let’s face it, I am never going to have the money or time and patience to devote to something like this but it’s inspirational none-the-less.
Plum trees were blooming at the garden. I devoted a lot of time and film to soaking these beauties in knowing it would be months before I’d see such colours again in the outside world.
You know you’re suffering some major mid-winter gardening itch when you set out to spend a few minutes on a sunny Sunday morning bathing orchids and watering African violets… and then the next thing you know 4 HOURS have passed!! In a joyful haze you have repotted several plants, taken cuttings, showered tropicals, preened away dead leaves, moved plants around, and other basic acts of greenery groping.
It will have to do for now.