My friend Barry brought these weekly gardening newspapers back from a recent trip to the UK (Wales and London). And look, each issue has a free packet of seeds affixed to the cover. Okay, so I would not sow any of the seeds that came with these three issues in my own garden, but still — FREE SEEDS!
Here’s a peek inside if you’re curious about content.
Fans of musician George Harrison, best known as one of The Beatles, will be interested in George Harrison: Living in the Material World, a documentary that is airing on HBO tonight and tomorrow. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese, is a look at George’s life, music, beliefs, and his place within the popular band.
“I’m not really a career person. I’m a gardener, basically.” – George Harrison
Did you know that George Harrison was also a lifelong gardener? I’m a fan of his music, but it’s his passion for gardening that I am most interested in hearing more about. Roger Ebert recently wrote a review of the documentary for the Sun Times that touches on this aspect of George’s life. According to Mr. Ebert (I have not seen the documentary so I can’t say how much of this is covered in the film) George was “…obsessed by the physical act of gardening, working with his land every day that he could.” He speculates that were we to get a better sense of this private man, “…we should visit his gardens.”
I don’t subscribe to cable TV, in fact my analogue TV no longer works period since digital television was regionally instated, so I’ll have to find some other way to see this documentary. If you see the film tonight and tomorrow, please come back and tell us about it!
Another post was intended for today, but in light of a recent (and disturbing) disparately located online thread that suggests that garden writers should stick to sunshine and roses and leave out the “negative” stuff, I have decided to switch gears and reintroduce a book I have discussed at length in the past, “My Garden (Book)” by Jamaica Kincaid.
Ms. Kincaid is a fierce writer, one of a handful whose words and courage I turn to when my footing has slipped and I need some examples of women who know how to speak their mind. My god, that woman speaks her mind with such power and force and nary a sign of apology. I need to know, and read about these women. Women who do not tow the line. The ones who are not happy rolling over, or painfully etching away at their character in order to serve the status quo. I want to tackle my fears in the best way that I can, with all the resolve I can forge, and walk into those scary places with them, behind them, beside them, wherever, as long as it is not chained in silence to a white picket fence by fear. Gardening is a part of human culture. We are fallible, messy, beautiful, miserable, and everything under the sun. It only stands to reason that the cultures we create carry all of us within them, for better and for worse. To say that one should stick to gardening is saying that one should write about everything and anything related to growing plants, because everything that is in us is in it.
That Jamaica Kincaid is also an avid gardener who can lovingly and tenderly walk that line between both sides of the spectrum and everything in between is a testament to her skill as a writer. She can express the obsessive horticultural longings and compulsions us plantaholics share, while also delving deep into the depths of gardening’s not-so-pretty side, especially as it relates to human history.
I recently came across a copy of her book “My Garden (Book)” and since I love it so much, decided to buy it to share as a giveaway to an interested reader. To be entered feel free to share some of your own favourite women writers (gardening or otherwise) or simply leave a comment expressing your interest to be entered. I’ll pick a name at random on Tuesday, Sept 6.
This year I decided to try two new radishes in my newly built raised beds and have had equal success with both.
The first is ‘Zlata’ a small radish from Poland that is generously described as soft yellow (and often Photoshopped that way in online seed catalogues), but in my opinion turned out something much closer to beige. I didn’t pull any Photoshop trickery with the above image; that’s the colour they’ve been consistently coming up as. The interior is white. Regardless of colour, it is a good mild and crisp radish. It’s doing great with recent heatwaves and drought. My ‘Sparkler’ and ‘French Breakfast’ radishes have run out of steam, but the ‘Zlatas’ seem to be pulling through. I bought mine from Solana Seeds but they seem to be fairly widely available now.
Equally crisp and mild are ‘Pink Punch’ a variety I ordered from Renee’s Garden. Some seeds were sent to me by Renee’s for trial while others were purchased and I can’t recall which category these seeds fall under so I’m making that disclosure in case they weren’t a purchase. ‘Pink Punch’ is a very apt name for this variety as they remind me of my homemade Pink Lemonade. I will definitely grow these again next spring, but for now it is onto ‘Rattail’ radishes as the heat is too high for the regular root kind.