Blooms & Vegetables

I missed yet another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  This time it was due to problems importing photos from my camera to the computer.  By the time I got them all uploaded, it was very late, and I was very tired, too tired to make an entry.  Oh well, maybe next time?

In the mean time, I do have some blooms.  Most of my garden is suffering the mid-July dry spell, which I am slowly working to correct.  One of my online acquaintances told me that it takes years to really get a garden going, and I'm beginning to see what she means.  I keep reminding myself to take things slow and really consider what I want out of the space.  Each year is an improvement, and I learn from every mistake.

I always try to keep some impatiens around, since they do well in the part to full shade conditions of the front porch facing east.  This year I grabbed a few pinkish/lavenderish Elfin hybrids, which have added some much needed color.

The stars of the front flower garden right now are the 'Stargazer' Oriental lilies, which have mostly turned out more pink than I imagined.  But wow, they are beautiful and smell fantastic.

In the backyard, the vegetable garden is holding up well, though it's barely produced anything for a meal.  Last Friday I decided to dig for potatoes and found these little beauties:

I washed them and then hid them in the pantry for later.  On Monday I made a nicoise salad for two, with my steamed fresh new potatoes and green beans from the farmers' market.  The beans were a little tough, but my potatoes were tasty.  Though, to be honest, I could not discern much of a difference in texture or flavor compared to the store-bought variety.  Even so, on principle, I prefer the homegrown variety.  I never realized how easy they are to grow.

Otherwise, I have no carrots, no green onions, have harvested one jalapeno pepper, and two tomatoes that turned out to be rotted inside.  Two weeks ago, I harvested all my beet leaves and used them to replace Swiss chard in a pasta dish, which turned the pasta pink--but boy did it taste good.  I have tons of tomatoes, a few of which are just itching to turn red.  Odds are that August will be the major harvest season, and I'll have more than I know what to do with.

By the way, that acquaintance I mentioned keep track of her garden online, if you'd care to have a look.  She and her partner (C.P. McDill, proprietor of ambient music label Webbed Hand Records) utilize many principles of permaculture in creating a garden that is organic and sustainable, a place that is capable of producing a majority of the food they need--but also beauty and color.  I've found it particularly inspiring.


A weed by any other name...

Just a few days ago, The New York Times ran an article about the role weeds might play in our changing climate, which I found rather interesting and thought I would share.

One portion that especially caught my attention:
“Weed” is a subjective label applied as a matter of personal judgment, a point that becomes obvious when you consider how many “noxious weeds” — plants now marked for destruction by federal, state or county authorities — were deliberately introduced into North America by individuals convinced of their beauty or utility...

There are countless definitions of weeds, ranging from the hardheaded one necessarily observed by farmers, that a weed is any plant that interferes with profit, to the aesthetic (a popular gardener’s definition of a weed is “a plant out of place”), to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s sanctimonious assertion that a weed is “a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” But all agree on the central criterion: to qualify as a weed, the plant in question must be viewed with disfavor by humanity. Simply put, any plant, if we dislike it, becomes an intruder in our landscape and so a weed.

Arguably, then, there was no such thing as a weed until mankind developed the need to discriminate, which came with the development of agriculture.... In fact, many of the wild grains like red rice or wild oats that are among our most troublesome agricultural weeds today were valued food sources until we graduated from the hunter-gatherer stage of our existence.
One interesting idea is that our efforts to rid our gardens and farms of unwanted guests actually aid in their adaptation. That is, the plants best able to cope with such attacks are the most successful, produce the most seed, and become more tolerant to herbicides, etc. They don't get better with such treatment; they just get worse. The main gist of the article is that maybe invasives aren't such a bad thing, since they're filling in gaps within native ecosystems and might be better able to thrive when the climate warms and levels of CO2 increase. They could plausibly even be used for bio-fuels.

Certainly a different way of looking at weeds and invasives!