I have three or four posts worth of content, but have been treating the blog a little lazily this long holiday weekend. That’s not to imply I’ve been lazy about gardening. In fact, I’m somewhat nicely exhausted from it — or perhaps it’s just the near-90 degree heat. Or both.
Saturday: A Cautionary Tale
Saturday at the community garden is marked by an epic fail that confirms experienced gardeners do stupid things. This is one I’ll be paying for all season, and possibly well beyond. Let’s just say I generally use landscape fabric there for weed control, but for some reason I decided I’d use salt hay this year. Which was, of course, sold out from every garden center by the time I got around to looking for it (I do in fact, have a day job!). One of my trusted local centers insisted straw would be fine. So I looked it up on the interweb, and read that by definition, straw should have no seed heads. Imagine my surprise when I get to the garden, unpack the straw, pull some out from the bale, and there it is: Seed heads everywhere. I should have thrown it out on the spot. But I didn’t. I put it down, and at some point in the future, the weed suppressant will be the weed source. And of course, all this happened after the hay blew all over my car, which is another mess –and another story!
Sunday: Lazy Day Enjoying the Garden and Nature
On to more encouraging topics. Today, I’d like to give a shout out to my partner in crime and intrepid photographer: My husband. He’s a photo contributor on this site. Creative director, musician and all-around talented guy, he’s also an amazing photographer. Check out some of his stuff on Instagram. I’m always grateful for how he’s quick to hop outside to photograph some random plant or scheme on a moment’s notice, without complaint.
At the home garden, everything’s coming into bloom at once. We can thank the sun and heat for that. A few weeks later than usual, peonies are in full swing. Cut several vases full, and will be giving some to friends.
My dad gave me these two peony plants. Each year, they remind me of him when they come into bloom. The white is a favorite, with its beautiful fragrance.
Early in my gardening adventures, I was a bit rose obsessed. Not just any rose, but antique garden roses. The two that have remained have earned their place — they’re beautiful, tough survivors and sweetly fragrant: The Quatre Saisons and Felicia. Felicia is one of Pemberton’s hybrid musks. I love the delicate blooms and the way it can be trained as a small climber. It has survived being dug up and replanting when we built our addition. It can also be seen inside our back room, backlit by the sun. The Quatre Saisons similarly has survived multiple moves around the garden.
From community garden, I brought home a respectable haul of rhubarb, French breakfast radishes (so pretty, and tasty), and gorgeous greens: pak choi, lacinto kale, so many lettuces, tiny chard. The rhubarb made a delightful dessert in this delicious recipe by David Lebowitz. His is yet another inspiring recipe site I like, and this one didn’t disappoint! I made just a few small tweaks — like using a splash of Lakka, a Finnish cloudberry liqueur, instead of Kirsch (which I didn’t have on hand) and cutting the sugar and honey, and using a bit less wine. A little whipped cream melted into the warm compote as a topping.
(Incidentally Kirsch reminds me of a wonderful Black Forest cake my mother used to make.That’s another story. Hers was perfection, and elegant. It started with a dark chocolate cake and contained dark cherry filling flavored with kirsch, topped with a very simple and elegant whipped cream, and embellished simply with dark chocolate shavings. I’ll have to ask mom for the recipe).
Dinner was a great pak choi (bok choy) recipe from The New York Times, except I added sesame seeds and tofu (which had been pressed and seasoned). All in all, a very light and quick summer dinner.