Archive for May, 2012

A Robin’s Nest and a Red Eft

Yesterday, Bill and I were out at the edge of the yard, between one of our big rhododendrons and our neighbor’s shed, rushing through a pushback against said neighbor’s ever-invading kerria. Wham, slam, whack at the long, pliable canes of the wretched thing and then as I parted the next clump – EEK! – right in the middle, a nest. Four beautiful robins’ egg blue blue eggs.

Something like this happens at least once every year. Last time around, my reminder to clean up in a more mindful way was comfortably nestled in a chunk of rotten firewood. I had the chunk in my hand, all ready to pick up and pitch into the weeds. Just happened to turn it over, and there was

eastern newt, Notophthalmus viridescens

An Eastern (aka Red-spotted) Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens

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Eric’s Pet Plant: Lupine (Lupinus species)

Being a Maine person, I have a particular interest in lupines, which will be discussed at the end of the post. First, however, the word from Eric, who not surprisingly is fond of them even though he lives in Connecticut. He’s having an open house this weekend, btw, scroll on down for the invitation.

clump of blue cultivated (Russell) lupines

The spikes of multiple flowers are wonderful in the vase, but also a great show in the garden. Used as a focal point in the perennial bed, as a Derby Day sentinel at the gate to the terrace or in the cutting garden, you can’t go wrong with a good thrifty clump of lupines.

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Preparing Ramps: The Raw, The Cooked, and the Recipe for Total Ramp Tart

open faced ramp tart

Total Ramp tart. Similar to quiche, but with with less custard, more ramp (and crisper crust).

Having recently worried around at the ethical questions attendant on promoting wild foods to all and sundry,  I offer this post with mixed emotions.

On the one hand, Have Ramps Will Cook. We are lucky enough to have access to several large patches; the spirit of experiment springs eternal and besides, people have been asking.

On the other hand, providing recipes is – I hope! – an invitation to use those recipes, so there we are with the ethics again, along with  another reservation,

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On Starting a Garden

truck garden

Our garden is big. Yours doesn't have to be to yield lots of great food and flowers

I did not hear this in person. Bill did (on Marketplace Money on NPR last Friday). But he couldn’t resist telling me about it, chortling loudly the while.

As well he might. According to him, a garden advisor – whose name he didn’t catch – had pronounced that “if you can’t keep your room swept, you shouldn’t try to garden.”

This struck me as so wildly improbable I thought he must have heard wrong, so I looked it up.

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