How Does My Garden Grow…

For years…I have been what I call…a porch gardener…meaning…that I try to have a lovely porch…and…kind of let the rest of the yard…take care of itself…I’d never thought much about that practice…and…since I had a very large porch…when I started it…it seemed like enough…

Then…I moved…and…I had a tiny porch…which didn’t give me quite enough…so…I drove to the nursery…and returned…with a boatload of plants…Bertha…was in the backseat…trying to get my attention…but…I couldn’t see her…over all those horticultural goodies…

Well…planting everything…was a challenge in and of itself…I think I even hired someone to do that…but…once everything was in the ground…it came as a bit of a surprise to me…it all had to be watered…a lot…

Now…it’s not that I didn’t know plants required water…it’s just that I didn’t understand the magnitude…of the job…until I was dragging the water hose around the yard every morning before work…the mosquitoes were too bad in the afternoons to do it then

That’s when…Bertha…repeated what she had been trying to tell in the car…don’t plant more than you can water

Well…I wish she’d tried a little harder to get my attention…but…she didn’t…and…I’d learned my gardening lesson…I was a bit glad to move from that house…and leave the gardening to…them…and…to this day…I’m pretty careful about the ease of maintenance of my gardening…primarily…sticking to the porch…again…

So…I thought that was that…but…evidently…it wasn’t…Bertha…found the need to relate it to my life…as well…seems as though…I have a tendency…to get carried away…with new projects…and…then…abandon them…because…they are too complicated…or too much trouble…or too…something…

She…says…it’s the same thing…I’m planting more than I can water…making too many changes at one time…making too many commitments…starting things I’m not really interested in…that kind of thing…

She also says that my tendency…towards…all or nothing…contributes…to the trail of forsaken efforts…

What she’s telling me this morning…is…to go slow…make small changes…once I’m comfortable with them…make another…and…another…not to try to do it all at once…

I wondered…why all this…this morning…and…I realized…I’m getting ready for summer vacation…and…my to-do list is growing by the moment…projects I want to start…writing to get done…taking better care of my body…exercise…biking…house cleaning…cooking…spending time with friends and family…gardening…

I think she’s reminding me…I don’t have to do it all on the first day…I don’t have to do it all the first week…I don’t even have to do it all…period…I can set priorities…I can decide…which activities…I really want to do…which pots I really want to water…and…like the yard…I can let the rest…take care of themselves…

Hmmm…it feels good…but…it also feels scary…to let go of my self-imposed expectations…but…I think I’m ready…I think…I’ll just give it a try…

I wonder what beautiful things will grow…in…my porch pots…

Jane

 

Herbs…Dinner’s Ready…

Oooh…Bertha got excited by the title…she…mistakenly…I might add…thought I was referring to sharing the kitchen with a couple of guys named Herb…
And while I admit that scenario could have been…spicy…it just isn’t the spicy I’m talking about…and identically named men brings up thoughts of Larry’s brothers…Darrell and Darrell…definitely not spicy…and I’m not sure what they would have added to the pot…but…I digress…
Growing up…we always had a large garden with fresh veggies…but…I’m almost embarrassed to say that my first remembrance of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme…was in a 60’s song…I loved the song…didn’t have a clue about the herbs…and now…I wonder if that was even what they were singing about…hmmm…
Okay…getting back on track…
Learning to cook…I remember the basics…besides salt and pepper…sage went in dressing…basil, oregano, and parsley in spaghetti sauce…and bay leaf in stew…all were purchased dried in a little yellow can…and kept for years…I may still have a few of them…okay…not really…it was a joke…geez…
I have no idea what precipitated the consciousness change leading to cooking with fresh…or good quality dried herbs…although it was probably from watching cooking shows…it happened slowly…one recipe at a time…Mama planted some oregano…I tasted it…started clipping it…dug up a piece to plant…
And before I could figure out how to spell bouillabaisse…and don’t laugh…it took me a while…even with spell check…my spelling attempt was so bad that all I got was ‘no suggestions’…I finally gave up and Googled…I love Google…but I digress…
I had an herb garden…with basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano…and a few other friends thrown in…then I moved…
I dug up the tiny rosemary plant and two small lavenders…they moved with me…they are now huge…and are totally taking over my shrub bed…
Beyond that…I mostly have herb pots…lots of basil in the summer…cilantro is not my friend…can’t get it to grow…this year I had…dill…culantro…a little friendlier…with a similar flavor…thyme…mint…lemon balm…bee balm…catnip…oregano…some things I thought were edible…that turned out not to be…and yes…I found out before I ate them…
I’ll be the first to admit…I don’t know nearly enough about herbs…how to grow them…how to use them…but…I’m learning…I’ve bought books…but mostly…I rely on advice from my friend Bea…who has an organic herb farm…she always seems to know what to add to what…to make it a bit more special…and she saved me from the inedible sage
Case in point…I made my first attempt at French Onion Soup this week…yup…I haven’t been to the store in a while…starting to get creative…anyway…it was bland…she mentioned adding thyme and bay…now it is special
Bertha seems to have lost interest in my writing…and is heading to the kitchen for a bowl of that soup…she may not understand about herbs…but she does know what tastes good…
Jane