As you may have noticed, we’re deep in the season for going on about the Lovliest of Trees, even though these days most flowering cherries appear to be hung with something that looks more like cotton candy than the snow that so moved Housman. Our friend Eric is not immune, and not surprisingly, he has a favorite.
In spite of what some people say. I’ve done it before and am about (with luck) to do it again, even though I keep swearing up and down I’ve had it with plants that have to be brought in for the winter.
Please see update at end of post
We have just concluded our first contest! (Announced on February 2nd, at the end of an interview with my friend Margaret Roach about her new book, The Backyard Parables, a very Margaret melange of memoir, garden philosophy and practical garden advice.)
One winner was chosen by random drawing from the names of everyone who asked to be included. The other went to the person who was best able, in my sole judgment, to write without being cloying, predictable or religious about a happy garden experience. The Happy Story winner was chosen first, so the names of all the runners-up could be added to the random drawing list.
And the winners are:
As garden blogger, I owe Margaret Roach a lot, and have already thanked her for being such an ongoing inspiration.
But it’s more than time to thank her again, and not just for A Way to Garden, blog extraordinaire. Although she’s working more than full time to build A Way into what I’m sure will soon be a horticultural empire (look out P.W.; there are people as enterprising as you are who can actually write, to say nothing of taking better photographs), she has continued to be a generous friend to all her fellow members of the plant-besotted community.
That being the case, it’s no surprise that dozens of us who’ve been given the chance have joined the “ blog book tour” for her latest book, The Backyard Parables.
“Write more about growing basil” has been on the do list for some time – years, actually, ever since the basil harvest tips post that appeared back in 2006. (Nothing hasty, that’s my motto.)
But filling out this year’s seed orders has finally given me the requisite nudge. In catalogue after catalogue, Occimum basilicum and its close relatives are available in a far wider assortment than any other culinary herb (at least among annuals; thyme is another matter). This year we’ll be planting eight varieties and that’s just a small sampling.
Well, I’ve wasted another perfectly good hour, as the Car Guys would say, going through the umpty-millionth seed catalog, marking every tempting vegetable, herb and flower.
Have I checked which seeds I’ve already ordered? No. Have I checked which seeds I already have? Also no. Were any of these markings made with an eye to the limits of the garden, or for that matter the limits of me?
Of course not, because the truth is the hour wasn’t wasted, it was used as a tranquilizer. Locally, it’s too cold to work in the garden; globally, it’s too hot for the world as we know it to endure. Both of these facts have the potential to be depressing, but just thinking about planting seeds pushes all gloom away.
No matter what else is happening, a seed would rather grow. What could be more wonderful than that?
As far as I’m concerned, this time of year is already plenty busy enough. Had I my druthers, I’d just let the seed catalogs pile up until that lovely lull between Christmas and New Years when most of the baking is safely done but it’s not yet time to go see the accountant.
However. Thanks to the ballooning assortment of esoteric goodies for which not even the largest company has sufficient room, waiting is not an option. Between “last chance” and “limited supply” something unique is going to get sold out soon, and she who hesitates is going to be
These suggestions are offered just in case you are like me and turn out to still have some left. Eternity is famously “two people and a ham,” but turkey is even more so, in my opinion. This may have something to do with the fact that Bill is strictly a ham sandwich man, so I can’t count on lunch for help. (A bit about Dr. Huey follows.)
Thirteen Things to do with Leftover Turkey
As I was saying only a moment ago, here comes Thanksgiving. Time for the Turkey Roundup. Time also for the pumpkin pie – but the Squash Roundup, while rich in recipes (see end of post) does not contain this necessary part of the finale.
Enter my dear friend Sandy Oliver, food writer, culinary historian and vegetable grower supreme, who just happens to have a great recipe for pumpkin pie in her new book, Maine Home Cooking, published, fittingly, by Downeast Books
Not much can be done to protect the garden itself – but a quick patrol may well uncover potential missiles.
Flowerpots, empty or full
Solar lights (even with spikes in the ground; heavy rains can loosen them enough for a wind gust to pick ‘em up)
Birdbath bowls not attached to strong bases (also the bases if just standing there)
Thermometers and rain gauges not securely fixed to strong supports.
Statuary, gazing balls, any ornament that weighs less than 40 lbs. (or more, if winds are expected to gust over 75 MPH).
Reduce hazards from:
Tuteurs – if possible to turn on their sides without destroying vines, do that. If the vines are annuals, consider saying goodbye and bringing the supports in.
Wheelbarrows – turn upside down
Tables, chairs and benches – if there isn’t room inside, turn tables upside down; put chairs and benches in the lee of a building with the least wind-catching side up.
Flapping doors on outbuildings – if you have a door with loose hinges or a slider, be sure it’s secured.
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, please add to the list!