I came home from work, pulled into the carport and intended to go straight indoors to crash. As I got out of the car though, I thought “Maybe I’ll just peak at the garden first”. There are three steps that lead down into the back yard. The ground felt soft from the recent rains, and then it hit me, an intoxicating fragrance, but what? I have a small backcyard garden with mostly dadelions and violets right now, and we have no flowering trees. What could it be, some flowering vine or strange tree flowers up above me? I closed my eyes to focus on the scent and then I knew. It had to be lilac! Over the fence, in the neighbor’s front yard, there was an old motherly lilac bush, reaching out to touch my mind. Do flowers ever do that to you too?
Sometimes, when you have a passion for something, you are tempted to want more and more of it. A passion for flowers can lead to….well….too much money spent at the gardening center…for one thing! In this past summer’s garden, I tried to exercise some restraint. I planted only a couple different kinds of flowers and I didn’t bring large bouquets into the house. In fact, sometimes….I only brought in one. This is one of my pink zinnias, floated in a little Chinese sauce dish. One is nice, don’t you think? I can learn to be happy with one. 🙂
Spinach? You say you wouldn’t be caught dead eating it? Spinach has come a long way since our mothers tried to get us to eat the stuff out of the can! Of course, their mothers probably got to eat it fresh out of the garden, and unless you’ve tasted it fresh out of the garden, well….you haven’t REALLY tasted spinach.
It all started with Larry Cleverley’s early spring pop up market in Des Moines. He tweeted his location, and all of a sudden, I just had to drive down there. You know, you’ve been counting the days until the farmers market opens, and all of a sudden you have the opportunity to get a taste of one a couple of weeks before you expected!
I bought a large bag of this spinach, which Larry says had overwintered from last year. I stir-fried it in a little oil, just until it wilted, and then added salt. Oh man, I couldn’t even get it on the plate before I had eaten it half gone! And do you notice how this spinach looks different from the baby spinach leaves you see in the clam shell at the store? It turns out the term for these “wrinkled” leaves is savoyed, as in deep green savoyed leaves. For some reason, the texture of this spinach is so much more appealing to me than the flat clam shell leaves that stick together in a blob. Now the key to eating greens, I’ve found, is not making yourself eat too much of this good thing. Think of your greens almost as a garnish, two or three bite fulls. The rest of my bag of green delight went into a quiche.
And all of this finally brings me to Seed Savers Exchange and my dream of fall spinach in my own garden. As I was wandering around the Seed Savers demonstration gardens, I saw it…..dark green savoyed leaves! Yes…spinach! The variety is called America.
I bought a packet of seeds and dream every night of spinach omelets and wilted spinach with salt and maybe even some crumbled bacon. My only question now is when I should sow it for a fall crop and should I start it under my grow lights or direct sow outdoors. Any ideas fellow gardeners?
This year I am gardening with two other people who wanted to give John Jeavon’s Biointensive Gardening a try. One of the main ideas is that you start EVERYTHING from seed in flats, even corn, beans and peas. These are some marigolds I started quite a while ago. It really has made gardening a brand new experience for me. I’ve tried to start things from seed before and failed miserably. It’s going better this year due in large part to the grow light Steven put together for me, but I also have a very different attitude about it. In the past, I’ve always bonded with each little seed and plant, WANTING it to thrive, but you know, nature just isn’t like that. And the spiritual lesson for me has been: maybe God isn’t like that either. Most plants produce an abundance of seed and you wouldn’t want it all to survive. I get upset at myself for each little failure, sometimes making it monumental. But this week I’ve realized, I need to make lots of efforts, and only some of them will go on to grow and produce fruit, and that is just the way nature is. And God, the Master Gardener, knows that and has planned it that way.
In 2010, I went a little crazy taking photos of some daisies in my neighborhood. They made me think of the movie, You’ve Got Mail, where Meg Ryan’s character says that daisies are the friendliest flowers, and then Tom Hanks’ character brings her a bunch of daisies, trying to convince her that the big bad Fox Book Store man might not be as bad as she thinks, as in, he is really the guy on the internet she has fallen in love with. Ahh….so romantic!
So this year, the flower of 2012 seems to be the poppy. This little spot of poppies on a corner in my neighborhood always just knocks my socks off when it blooms. So here it is, 2012, the spring of bold colors and poppies!
Does anyone know of a romantic story to go with poppies?
Here it is, this year’s beautiful May Basket from my dear sister! It makes me feel like I am in a late spring meadow with my favorite Queen Anne’s Lace!
And these are the sweetest little pink tulips ever!
It seems like every year there is also something new and exciting in the May Basket. This year it was this yellow “puff”, a very lovely spherical element. I have no idea what it is. It seems like the center of some flower with the petals removed. The basket came from Mary Kay’s Flowers and Gifts, so I may have to give them a call and satisfy my curiosity!
Every day the last couple of weeks, when I head out into Ames, I almost faint, the spring flowering show has been so beautiful. You know how it usually goes? You wait all of Feb, March and some of April for the blossoms to pop, and a day or so after they do, you get an April shower, and it’s all gone, in the blink of an eye. And usually it’s a procession, yellow forsythia first, then red buds, THEN white apple blossoms and finally the violets and crab apples. As the next blossom appears, the previous ones fade. This year, it’s all out there at once, lingering until the last one on stage has made its appearance!
We’ve had a gentle rain this morning on this side of town, but if the skies clear, I think I can get out there and get some more photos of this once in a lifetime spring!