Gardening Again

It feels so good to have a garden again!  It’s been a long time since I’ve had my own little patch of dirt.  Umpteen years ago I volunteered a nearby botanical garden, in the rose garden specifically, so I became quite the rose expert and had my own little rose garden with space for sunflowers and herbs.

One year my grandfather asked me for advice on his hedge roses.  He planted two varieties under a big front window.   The yellow ones were okay, but the white ones were sad and gangly and hardly flowered.  I discovered that his white “hedge” roses were actually floribundas, which are wonderful and easy to care for, but they need to be treated like floribundas, not hedges.  No, he said, he needed hedges, so they’d just have to suffer.  How dare he.

So I, in a fairly cute summer ensemble that day, kicked off my sandals, grabbed some clippers, and indignantly threw myself into the middle of those big rangy rose bushes, lopping and chopping and pruning like nobody’s business.  When I was done they looked even worse than before.  The following spring, however, my grandfather called in an excited flurry because those rose bushes had exploded with mounds of fluffy white blooms.  Go figure.  😉

My own rose garden is long gone.  If I find a variety I like when bare-root season rolls along, I may attempt to acquire one using the puppy-dog-eye method.  In the meantime, I’m happy with my herbs.

Sage, thyme, and seedlings

Sage, thyme, and seedlings

Look at my seedlings in the tray!  How many weeks ago did they look like this:

Seeds!  Bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hollyhocks.

Seeds! Bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hollyhocks.

Three weeks ago!  The sunflowers and hollyhocks sprouted quickly.  We planted the tomato seeds after the rest, and they took like weeds.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

Tomatoes and bell peppers

Tomatoes and bell peppers

The two small sprouts on the right side are bell peppers.  I thought those would be the first to pop up, but boy were they stubborn!  I had almost given up on them.  Jess had several of hers going, so she gave me a couple.  Eventually some of my own decided to sprout, so now I have eight bell pepper plants going.

Jess’s boyfriend sprouts all of their seeds by putting them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel, and leaving them in a dark closet.  So I tried it with most of the rest of my seeds.

Empty seed packets

Empty seed packets

I didn’t get much of a result.  After about a week the paper towel in with my sunflowers started to grow mold.  Jess’s boyfriend laughed at me…I was only supposed to leave them for a day.  *sigh*

So I bought a 72-cell seed starter tray and planted the seeds, hoping I didn’t kill them in those plastic bags.  I had space to spare so I also planted marigolds, basil, and more sunflowers.  Less than 24 hours later this happened:

I think it's a tomato.

I think it’s a tomato.

My herb garden will be shaped like a wagon wheel, with my duranta in the middle and eight wedge-shaped sections for thyme, sage, marigolds, peppers (bell and jalepeño), oregano, chamomile, tomatoes, and basil.  Sunflowers and hollyhocks will be planted along an adjacent fence.  Spearmint and peppermint will go into a big pot somewhere.

plants 5

Marigolds, jalepeños, spearmint

German chamomile, variegated sage, and lantanas

German chamomile, variegated sage, and lantanas

Now that school is in session I don’t have as much time to cook, but I still manage to get a little crafty.  Spaghetti always starts like this now:

tomato sauce

Roma and grape tomatoes and fresh oregano in the crock pot

Last time I made tomato sauce I planned to use it for spaghetti and chili, but I didn’t make quite enough.  So I cooked and pureed some forgotten carrots and added that to the chili.  The vegetable haters didn’t even notice.  This week I made cardamom-orange chicken with turmeric rice. I customized the rice recipe, but still. To.  Die.  For.

And yesterday, I made two of these:

Cheddar cheese pie

Cheddar cheese pie

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re probably right.  But two of our number here have Gout.  The rule of thumb with Gout is meat bad, dairy good.  We gave up beef and now include one dinner every week or two with a dairy-based protein.  So you see, cheddar cheese pie is a medical necessity!  A leftover slice with an apple, a handful of baby carrots, and a cup of tea makes an excellent breakfast.

I have View Club shots, but I will post them tomorrow.  For now, I am off to finish Beowulf.  Wish me luck.

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7 thoughts on “Gardening Again

  1. fascinating; what is airline chicken; saw it on a recipe; you are so talented Emmy Sue, even with a virus cold you do all things; – reminded me of commercial; here you are: school, kids, planting, sod gathering, turf stepping; and words abound; what a gal

  2. I’ve never been all that interested in gardening–hell, I “black-thumbed” the houseplants after Mom lost interest in them–but reading this has made me yearn, just a little, for my own little patch of dirt. 🙂

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