Once again it is spring and I have been planting out lettuce, new arugula and, with stubborn Canadian optimism, tomatoes.
Last fall’s plantings of garlic bulbs have already grown to over two feet in height and I know by the end of June I will be snipping and cooking the scapes while and eagerly awaiting the bulbs’ maturing, ready for harvest by the end of July.
As my garden is very modest, it only takes a few days at the beginning of the spring and end of the fall and a half hour a few days a week. In between I have colour, fragrance and some nourishment. A few minutes at the end of the day weeding, watering or doing what-ever else needs attending provides a quiet time of concentration that pushes aside any tension lingering from the day.
I can’t claim to be a devoted nor a knowledgeable horticulturist, but having a small garden has long been important to me. I have grown potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, peas, corn and squash and many other vegetables and fruits.
I don’t think anyone can serious claim to be a cook without having a decent herb garden. Going out to clip a few shoots of thyme and some fresh lettuce and arugula for my salad started again about a month ago. My Rosemary survived nicely through the winter after I clipped it back aggressively last fall and continues to and fragrant seasoning to potatoes, French toast, and grilled meats. Oregano is dead easy and returns year after year. If nothing else, sage is a beautiful ornamental but is a great compliment to fowl and roasted root vegetables.
Mint grows like a weed and compliments so many things and I can serve a gathering of friends Mojitos, Cuban style, all prepped in advance, muddled with lime in a dozen glasses, just waiting rum and soda… so refreshing for a hot afternoon in the summer.
I even have a juniper and wild strawberries transplanted from the Chilcotin area of British Columbia.
Every June I harvest and dry Lavender stalks and place them strategically in my home, freshening every room. Drying herbs is easy. Snip them just before the buds flower, tie them with string in clusters and hang to dry. They can be stored almost indefinitely in mason jars and will remind you of warmer times through the winter.
Climate change is affecting us all, in obvious and subtle ways. In Vancouver. we live in plant hardiness zones from 7A to 8b, and evidence now says this has been changing.
Your interest may be more towards the ornamental and formal; mine is towards growing what is edible. Both are equally valid and deeply satisfying to our senses.
“Cultivate your own Garden”
What I am eating:
It’s Spot Prawn season!!!
What I am doing for exercise:
Riding to and from work every day; sometimes, like today when I forgot my lunch, back and forth twice. I love the idea of “passive exercise”, getting it while in the process of going about my day.
Swimming regularly as well.
Dr. Gelfant’s Living Beautifully Blog
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