Friday, March 31, 2006
In the herb garden, only the chives are showing signs of life and I did snip some for my eggs this morning.
Buried beneath the surface is that wonderful spring sweetness … parsnips. Tomorrow I shall make a spring dug parsnip chowder.
I like having crops in the garden for spring eating. They are like little gifts. This year I will try to over winter leeks.
The apple trees have not been eaten to nubs by the deer. In the fall we had built an 8 ft. fence using tall bamboo for the posts. One of the bamboo poles snapped over the winter and the deer have had access for awhile, I guess. I only see damage on one tree. I shall measure them tomorrow and check against my records. I was out there with the Bobbex this morning trying to make them less appetizing. No “little gifts” for the deer.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The trick to enjoying the cherry blossoms is to go in the morning … the real early morning … with a thermos of coffee, some croissants and a blanket. No one is there, the sun is brilliant AND you can park. Any other time of day is an exercise in frustration and enjoying nature should not raise your blood pressure.
I uncovered a little unknown piece of history about the trees once when I was doing research on WWII and the home front. The trees were a gift from the government of Japan in 1912. On December 11th 1941 relations with Japan were not so good, and the city awoke to find several of the trees chopped down. The DAR flew into action and mobilized the local chapter to symbolically chain themselves to the cherry trees. If you wanted to chop down a cherry tree, you were going to have to chop down a daughter of the American Revolution in order to do it. The vandalism ceased, and the trees were renamed “Oriental Flowering Cherries” for the duration of the war.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
And then there are the artichokes. I swear, I must be a masochist. Last year I planted a dozen and one survived. And that one never really grew up to be an artichoke. They are very susceptible to damping off, so this year I planted them in very dry starter mix, and I have sprouts … 5 of them. Also I changed the variety this year from Imperial Star to Green Globe. I did so on the advice of a gardener at Monticello. He was quite adamant that there was a significant difference in the two varieties. Artichokes seem to survive as a perennial most years in Charlottesville. I am attempting the same in New England.
So no two years are the same and you can’t always plant what you want. But it’s still fun and an adventure.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
I feed them well all spring and then place them, pots and all, below ground for the summer in bright sunshine. I’ve experimented with taking them out of pots, but they like being pot bound. Around Labor Day I pull them out of the ground, snip their foliage and their roots and put them into the cellar until Thanksgiving to rest. It’s become something of a Thanksgiving ritual to pot them after the bird goes in the oven.
About two years ago I started cutting them during bloom and placing them in vases. They continue to fully bloom in water and I think there’s a little less stress on the bulb that way.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
However, one of our first stops was at the booth of Andrew Van Assche. Andrew is a self taught ceramicist who caught my eye nearly six years ago with a series of tiles and plates he did on carrots. In particular I was charmed by a tile he did of a farmer in the rain (with which you are all familiar).
I love this tile because it speaks to me of the groundedness I feel as a gardener and the oneness (see the number 1 in upper left corner?) I feel with elements when there are things growing in my garden. I like that there are still parsnips and garlic below ground in my garden waiting for my return.
Since then Andrew has moved on to more abstract tiles all of which tell a story. Here is the one I purchased this year.
What story do you see?