Tag Archives: nasturtiums

Our Kind of Fall

Reading as many blogs as I do has the subtle effect oP1110742crpf making me want to bring my neighborhood in line with the music that autumn plays in most other places. For example, I found a November poem that is all about the violent wind, when we usually have to wait a month or two later for that sort of thing. It didn’t fit with my reality.

It’s definitely Fall here, but our notes sing a quieter background harmony, linking us more obviously to summer. Even the window art at the grocery store is mostly sunflowers to go with the pumpkins and turkeys.


All of the pictures from my garden were taken on this sixth day of November. A strawberry is ripe, as “ripe” as ornamentals get, but is decorated by a few of the telltale fallish pine needles that are slowly covering everything in that part of the yard.

P1110775sunsugar or sungold 11-6-14


The sign for the orange cherry tomato is hiding deep under the exploding foliage, and I can’t remember if it is a Sungold or a Sunsugar, but the fruit is still ripening, and nearly as sweetly as a month ago.




P1110737 Nov 1 14 sky


Mr. Glad stopped us on the way to Vespers last week to take this picture of clouds in a blue sky. Not rain clouds, sad to say. The grass has that November look, from having dried up and then been rained on a little, not enough to create any new green color. Our autumn is drier than usual, which is a hard kind of gentleness.





The furnace has been turned on, which means that we keep the windows closed, though with the days mild, and the air so fresh and soothing, I wish we could have them open. I just have to go fully out of doors if I want to get into the natural atmosphere.

It’s still not really cold enough to have a wood fire, and we haven’t had a frost yet, as you can tell from the tomatoes.


These are the hens and chicks near the new planting bed out front. I set out all the new ground-cover starts this week, and some of the thyme is blooming still.

October is the P1110772month to plant peas of any sort, and this year I bought sweet pea (those are the flowers) and snow pea seeds, but I never got around to actually putting them in the ground, which means that the failed flowering fennel and the nasturtiums are free to paint an impressionistic scene. The background music is called “Flowery Fall.”


Koulourakia and Colors

first twist

At church again, this time for baking cookies for that upcoming festival. We made koulourakia, which most of us bakers can’t pronounce, so we call them “the twisty Greek cookies.”

The dough, made with seven pounds of butter, had been prepared last night and stored in the fridge. We scooped it out with melon-ballers and rolled the balls into ropes.

Japanese anemone

And outside I caught this graceful and lovely flower in bud and bloom. I haven’t looked it up yet to find out what it is….though I might have known in the past. Do you recognize it? (update: Jo tells me in the comments it is a Japanese anemone.)

GJ twisting

After being twisted, the cookies get an egg wash and then a sprinkling of sesame seeds. They are basically a butter cookie, and though some recipes include orange juice and/or zest, our current version is “plain.” But I came home with my hands smelling anything but plain.

In our back yard now we have three cherry-sort of tomatoes: Juliet (red); Sun Gold and Sunsugar (orange); and Michael Pollan (pointy green striped). So I can put them all in a salad to colorize it! Not to mention, this year I have three colors of nasturtiums, red, orange and yellow — so I put all those petals in my salad as well. That’s a visual feast as well as a feast for the palate, as last night’s guest said.

In case you can’t see all three tomatoes, here is a close-up:

Today the thermometer reached 75° – woohoo –
so we hope we are in a warming trend.

Foggy Flowers

Yesterday the sun never did come out. They say our summer is 4° cooler than average, but it seems worse than that, especially when the morning fog continues all day. It’s making me slow and dull this morning.

I was busy in the kitchen yesterday, so it didn’t bother me too much. The lack of bright light made it possible to take flower pictures, so I did catch my new hyssop plant that has reached 4 feet! I bought the hyssop back in April, in a 2″ pot as I recall, but I can’t find a picture of it as a baby for comparison. It did grow fast.


Next to the hyssop is an echinacea flower from which someone took a big bite off one side. My garden is so untidy it’s hard to get a good picture of anything without there being a random brick or weed or untrimmed dead flower protruding on the nice thing I’m trying to feature. But I cropped most of the ugliness out of the picture at left.







The New Zealand Spinach I was so pleased to find at the plant sale has done beautifully. This is what it looked like back then:

Earlier this month I made some Creamy Green Soup using the first pickings, shown in this bowl, which you can’t really tell is 16″ in diameter. Creamy Green Soup is a recipe I got from Laurel’s Kitchen long ago. It is infinitely variable, depending on your whim and what greens you have around. This last time mine had split peas, this spinach, onion and garlic and basil in it….maybe some other things, certainly butter. It’s nice to add a little cream or cheese, too.

The nasturtiums I planted all over the back yard are doing famously. I remembered at least once to put three colors of their petals in a salad. Now I really must go upstairs and do some ironing. Maybe it will help warm me up on this wintry summer day.

God is constantly willing.

Weeds grew thick and tall in my recent and repeated absences, threatening to hide and destroy the beauty of the garden I’d planted. This morning I spent an hour tidying things up and giving space to the cucumbers and peppers so that they could grow unhindered. I’d hired a girl to irrigate enough to keep everything alive, but I didn’t ask her to pull weeds.

(Unripe grape tomatoes above, nasturtium in arugula below. All pictures taken just this evening.)

While hauling several baskets full to the trash I remembered my own advice to another young friend who was just falling in love with gardening. She asked me whether I thought she should do a little bit of garden work every day, or spend a couple of hours one or two days a week. I told her that the best way is to tend it a little bit every day. There is always a weed to pull, a tomato branch to be tied up, or a dead flower to be clipped off. The plants need water, and food, perhaps even a little shade from time to time.

One year our Baby was raising a pumpkin she hoped would be a huge one she could enter in the local Giant Pumpkin Contest. We were told it was advisable to put the growing pumpkin on a pallet when it was still small so that it could stay dry and be easily moved no matter how large it grew. When I got around to helping my daughter with that part of the project the fruit wasn’t very large yet, but the stem, having lain on the moist ground, had already sent out roots into the soil. This situation was hidden by a canopy of leaves, and when we hoisted the pumpkin on to the pallet, the vine stayed anchored by those roots, and the pumpkin broke off at the stem.

That was a hard lesson. I thought sadly of how a farmer, even a novice homeschooling pumpkin-grower, can’t afford to procrastinate. Any job involving a living thing has to be paced according to that creature’s rate of growth. And agriculture usually involves many living things all in relationship to one another: the plant, the soil, pests with their own life cycle, and probably others I’m not thinking of, not being a very good farmer still.

This morning’s brief mediation on how I really ought to tend more constantly to my garden continued when I later sat down at the computer to read the transcript of an interview with the Orthodox theologian and writer Vigen Guroian in which the topic of conversation turned, as is usually the case with him, to gardening, and he said “…were not God constantly willing His creation, loving His creation into existence, it would disappear.”

From my perspective as a lazy, distracted, and time-constrained gardener, I appreciate the steadfastness of our Lord in continuing His creative work moment-by-moment.  Colossians 1:17 says that he “holds all creation together.” I am one of His creatures, whom so far He has seen fit to give life and breath to every morning, making it possible for me to tend my own mini-garden, which also couldn’t live without His blessing and daily upholding.

Something G.K. Chesterton said on the subject often flits through my mind, when musing on this subject. He said, that in contrast to children, who through excess of vitality want things repeated, “…grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough… It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again,’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again,’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

So far, the garden hasn’t seemed monotonous to me. Every day is different there. Of course, The Creator is making the daisies, and I get to discover them, along with the roses and budding fruits and spreading spinach. I do love my garden, and will try to be more constantly willing to keep it going, imitating my Lord.