Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dreams from the Veggie Catalogues

Have just spent a happy two days with the stack of garden catalogues that has accumulated on my desk over the holidays, and have formulated a Grand Plan for a vegetable garden come summertime. This will be my most ambitious attempt at veggies, and I am prepared to sacrifice plants in the large perennial garden -- mostly because I am not happy with that garden, and am willing to ruthlessly move or toss plants. Mostly, I am going to remove the Knockout rose that someone gave me a couple of years ago and which I dislike immensely. It occupies a large space and cuts off sun to other things without giving me much in return. The flowers are pretty but not useful for bouquets for the house, nor particularly decorative in the garden. I think these plants would be great massed along the highway where their flowers would be bright but not subject to close scrutiny. So -- out it goes. Sorry, Cecelia, it died. Don't know whether it was the drought or the cold ... or the gardener's neglect, but it's gone.

Then, lots and lots of lovely practical things. Ichiban eggplant and Totem tomatoes, Red Sails lettuce and Thumbelina carrots and Trionfo Violetto pole beans, and fingerling potatoes (I hope -- never grew potatoes before), and Cippolini onions, and dill and basil and big tomatoes too, like Big Beef and Early Girl and Costoluto Genovese. And probably an in-house revolt at being required to eat vegetables at three meals a day in order to use it all up. I should be so lucky! Pictures later, when things get going.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Warm thoughts

After spending a few minutes outside today looking for something -- anything - in bloom, I came in frozen, so I decided that what I needed was a little reminder of the warmth and beauty of my Jakarta garden, and of the Javanese landscape. The two little girls playing croquet are long ago grown up.

Bloom Day, January 2009

This is the first time I have participated in Bloom Day, and I am not entirely sure how this works but here goes.

There is pathetically little in my garden right now -- the violas and pansies are completely flattened by last night's 8 degrees (above, this is northern Virginia not Minnesota!), and even the mahonia is not opening its buds yet. The snowdrops have shown their noses but with no flowers so far, and the helleborus niger's buds are just showing but not open. So, here is a picture of my big white cymbidium in the sun porch, and one of the mahonia's buds. Maybe by February's Bloom Day there will be something going on.

My dear mother-in-law lived in Chicago all her life, and she had a little oldfashioned poem that she would recite when winter got too much for her:

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December,
We are nearer to spring than we were in September."