the cool of the evening

June 22, 2012

It’s been very busy in the garden, so much that we have got behind blogging. On Tuesday I was working in the garden for 5 hours in the morning and another hour or so in the evening. I’d just finished fertilizing, and the fireflies were flicking on and off as the fairy lights began to come on, and I was overwhelmed with the garden-ness of everything.

And for a minute I felt I could see the place through M’s eyes, and I thought how proud he would be of the garden and how far it has come, and of me for all the work I’ve done and all the things I’ve done that I didn’t know how to do. None of the garden would be there if he hadn’t begun it and seen in it what it could be, before I could see anything, when I thought nothing would grow.

M died a few weeks after he’d planted the grape vine and the 2008 tomato seedlings. It’s a miracle that I picked up the gardening at all; it was so grievous to go out there, to his space. I have my father to thank for spurring me to do it that first summer. Just before he left town after the funeral weeks, he turned to me in that advice-giving-father way and told me to keep the garden. Gardening was good for the soul, he said. I don’t believe my father has ever gardened in his life, but he knew this was true and he impressed it on me. He was right. Thanks, Dad.

The garden wouldn’t be what it is without the help of friends, for example the gurus at Crest–who make getting and trying new things so easy, who dispense advice on tap, who love their plants and yet are relaxed and realistic about endeavors, whose constant creative experiments cheer me up and give me new ideas, who build me up by enjoying the successes in my garden, and who are wonderful friends over the wall all year round.

The garden also thanks John and Mary, my friends from England, who have a spectacular English garden of their own that I can only dream about. They built the grape arbor one winter, and they did all the heavy work on the renovation of the center perennial garden two Septembers ago. There have been so many helpers, weeders, diggers when my elbow was fractured, waterers, harvesters, advice givers, appreciators–I can’t name them all here, but thank you.

In the cool of the evening, watering done, fireflies and fairy lights popping on, I always think of God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve, that ancient and only time we walked freely with him before everything went wrong.

fall planting

September 1, 2011

I’ve never planted a second harvest before, but this year I decided to give it a try because 1) Crest is currently flogging some fall vegetable seedlings that look really cute in the container they planted; 2) the purple beans pretty much gave up in the heatwave last month, so I decided to evict them and see if someone else could put out for me. Compared to my trauma over the potential loss of the grapes, this strikes me as a more robust attitude towards death in the garden.

Having consulted, of course, with Guru Vincent, Guru Regina, and Guru Clark, I decided to try some broccoli and brussels sprouts here, in the former purple-bean-bed:

The bigger brussels sprout plant towards the front is one I grew from seed this spring. I’ve never had luck with brussels sprouts from seed, and really this one isn’t all that much farther along than the new seedlings. Obviously, it was a mistake to try seeds in the spring when they’re really a fall plant. It remains to be seen if there’s enough heat left in the season to grow these guys.

I also got one of the felt containers from Crest and used it for some kale (center) and collards (ringing round).

This is also the time to get your out-of-bloom perennials on sale. I took a Culver’s Root plant for the perennial garden, to give the center a little height next summer.

And a Pagodatree bush, which I put in one of the cool pots I got on sale at Paley’s this summer.

Otherwise, the late planted potatoes seem to be on track for a late fall harvest:

The tomato beds are chaotic and wild:

Those basil seedlings are looking good:

But some of the creeping thyme (mostly the wooly thyme) has not thrived, boo:

It’s pretty close to where I tore out the beans, so maybe it will get the hint and shape up. If not, I have plenty of other creeping thyme wot I will transplant over there. Hear?!