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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

My dad used to say when he needed to pray he prayed in the garden. I don’t think I pray in the garden but the garden does provide respite as well as nutrition. For all sorts of reasons this year’s garden has been a source of joy … and a chore. In part I think I was too ambitious. I had no plan though I think I was pretty good about not planting things we didn’t actually eat. And we did try some experiments like kale that survived the bunnies and tasted so good cooked with store bought turnips … which inspired us to try planting turnip this fall. We’ll see …

The basement is full of hardneck garlic (which means that we were able to eat some garlic scape before the bulbs were fully formed). Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere. I’m trying to find ways to preserve them. The Italian basil, planted all over the place, has thrived. Lots of frozen pesto (and herb butters) to be had later in the year. I feel bad that life situations happened such that the Thai basil could not be used to our favorite extent (e.g. in stir fry) but the beautiful purple flowers were a treat for pollinators.

Though we near the end of a hot dry July I can look out the kitchen window into the garden below and I can see tomatoes reddening. Roma and Big Boy (or Girl) and a cherry variety. A lot of things are withering in the current heat wave. Sunday will be 100. There’s a part of me, and I did confer with that fellow, that knows some things have had their run and so in the cool of the morning I will simply need to weed and clean and begin to prep the earth for our fall plantings. I must say I never imagined that indoor and outside watering could be an exercise. But I think it truly is!

That is the beauty of gardening … the transition of seasons … engaging with the flow of time … it has been a particular joy this gardening season to see perennials planted last year, just green leaves, return and thrive and for the first time flower. Yes!

From the kitchen window I can see the bounty of the coneflower. I cut some of the flowers for the house and now know the rest will wilt and the dried seed heads will feed the birds into the fall. I watched them last year but never had my camera in reach. Maybe this year.

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Behind the garage is goldenrod, blue cornflowers and red clover. They grew up on their own, seeds dispersed by the wind or planted by some former resident. I planted pink dianthus, orange-red marigolds and some carnations from seed. No rhyme or reason. No theme. There is even a pot of white snapdragons just because they were on sale in the store.

Behind the garage is an unsettled area. Every hard rain reveals bits of old thick glass … recently I’ve been finding marbles … what stories do they have to tell? … and cement chunks from some demolition that took place not too long ago. One has to be careful where one walks.

Behind the garage there is the remnant of an old apple tree, its bark overgrown around what must have been a chain link fence at some point. Pieces of metal still stick out. Animals parade through. It is an avenue. I’ve seen possum, raccoons, cats, squirrels and lots of rabbits. I can only imagine what else might meander through in the dead of the night when I am not looking.

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… and it is beautiful.

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from the garden

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petunias in the garden

I photographed the petunias in the garden today but I don’t have any petunia stories except that my mother used to plant them in the raised beds my father built for her in Virginia. Beds maybe 1′ or 2′ by 4′ or 5′. Nothing fancy. Plants purchased from the farmers market in downtown Lynchburg. Straightforward colors of red, purple and white come to mind. Although I do remember in later years when I returned home after college the selections had expanded and there were striped and maybe spotted petunias in the beds. As a child, in the early evening hours when the sun (and therefore heat) was low, I remember my mom and I would go out and pick the dead flowers to encourage new growth. It came across as something calming for my mother. My dad’s domain was the vegetable garden. The flowers were my mother’s and I think she cherished it.

Even after I moved from home I often managed to garden though I was not drawn to petunias. I have a growing fondness for them and an appreciation of how they fill in a container and complement other plants. As a child I didn’t appreciate them at all except as an opportunity to stick my hands in the dirt to help plant them and an opportunity to hang out with my mom as she took care of them. I was completely clueless as she included me in this process of caretaking and nurturing. I’m still not great at it with petunias. I try to find new varieties that need no deadheading. I seek out colors that complement the “main” plants I have growing in a container. And yet as seasons continue to pass I find myself planting more of those things from my childhood that I took for granted like petunias, scarlet sage and sweet william. Spring is near done and summer approaches. We’ll see what growing opportunities, prompted by the past or by the current moment, present themselves.

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I am being overrun by pansies …

… some of which I am 99% sure I didn’t plant.

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daffodils

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oxalis on the windowsill

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