Category Archives: my garden

Collards and sweet peas.

I always think of collard greens as the meatiest sort. (Of the leafy greens I have commonly had in the garden I would rank kale as next most hefty, then Swiss chard and finally spinach.) But they were lightweight enough that the wind was able to blow a few of the topmost chopped leaves away off the table where I was working. After removing the whole 5-foot row of collards I had such a big pile, I had decided to do the first stage of processing on the patio, where the spring breeze was aggressive.

These greens were incredibly clean; only about five aphids total had to be flicked off when I was looking over each of dozens of leaves. I chopped and blanched them and put four quarts in the freezer, keeping out another quart or so to use soon.

I still have kale and Swiss chard in my planter boxes, and am planning to use the space where the collards were for ground cherries I started in the greenhouse.

Sweet peas are coming on so I brought a bunch of them in, too.
It’s the season for Garden Love.

Turtling with rugs and flowers.

As I was ironing some springtime trousers in the morning room, my eye caught the color on the orchid nearby. It’s blooming! Sometime in the last months I’d moved this long-ignored plant into my new space, and started giving it a little water more regularly. The response is heartening.

What I did to the neglected orchid was never conceived as a task to write on a list. It was just one of those many little things that we do, when we are “puttering” about our homes. Small tasks add up to make an increasingly homey space.

Only recently I found these rugs that seemed just perfect for my morning room that I hope will also be a sewing room. One of the reasons they appealed was that the turtle had not long before become an important symbol for me, after I heard a woman about my age speak about the practice of moving forward, no matter how slowly, when one is feeling overwhelmed by decisions and tasks. She said we must “keep turtling.” I had never heard “turtle” used as a verb before, but immediately I began to feel an affinity with those creatures, and to think of them as elegant and wise.

It seems there are other slangy meanings for to turtle, and one of them, “To defensively hide in one’s shell,”  has long been part of my survival toolkit. Ideally, I like to enact both meanings, as on the days when I get to stay home all day and get homey things done.

Bright Monday afternoon I truly lazed about the garden, quite worn out from the festivities and staying up late many nights for Holy Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday services. Then there was Pascha itself, when many of us didn’t get to bed until 4:00 a.m. I was pretty loopy, and really happy about many things, including the sunny day. I think you could say that I turtled, too, because I phoned my sister, and also invited a neighbor over to sit a while. I moved forward in catching up with people I love.

In the picture below of the orange helianthemum, you can see in the distance a box of panettone and a jar of lemon curd. I was having friends for dinner and took those items out of the freezer kind of late, so I was defrosting them in the sun.

As we enter the last day of Bright Week, I wanted to be sure to show you these garden beauties that show their understanding hearts by their uplifted and shining faces.

Turn the poet out of door.

It’s the “false spring” one day, and the next, not. When I was at church to bake communion bread, it was spring for sure. Of course the dough knew it, and behaved accordingly.

Yesterday, the wind and various other factors contributed to further thaw the bones of my soul. While I was in my own garden trimming the lemon tree, pomegranate bushes, lavender and a few other plants, a series of great gusts came up suddenly, and made a clattering of doors and toys and other blowing-around stuff in the neighborhood.

The poem below doesn’t originate in my area of the country, so it will never perfectly fit the weather here, but I love the spirit of it, and I’m sure it will please a few of you in more northerly parts of the world. If you tend to be impatient with poems, try reading this one out loud.

TO THE THAWING WIND

Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do tonight,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

-Robert Frost

Because we haven’t had any rain in several weeks — or has it turned into months? — I had to put the hose on potted plants that aren’t on the automatic drip system. Hidden behind one big pot, this little great-grandbaby of a cactus I started was in full baby bloom. I brought her indoors to brighten up my kitchen, still lit also by the fairy lights, which are there for the days when spring is clearly not. yet.

A garden chant of constancy.

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous;
praise is meet for the upright.
Give praise to the Lord with the harp,
chant unto Him with the ten-stringed psaltery.
Sing unto Him a new song,
chant well unto Him with jubilation.
For the word of the Lord is true,
and all His works are in faithfulness.
The Lord loveth mercy and judgment;
the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.

-From Psalm 32

When I saw these plum buds this morning, I thought of how the earth is full of predictability, spring following winter, summer following spring, leaves falling off the trees every autumn without fail.

It’s just one way, consisting of uncountable events, that He demonstrates His constancy.

For the word of the Lord is true,
and all His works are in faithfulness.