Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday Night Garden Tour

It was so warm and balmy after dinner tonight that we all repaired to the back yard, me to spot water some plants that were missed by the soaker hoses, Katie to dangle from the boat float hanging from the willow tree, the boys to whack the poor poor stand-in for a shuttlecock (an old Waldorf wool ball) REALLY hard against their badminton racquets and shriek with laughter when the old woollen ball got caught in the trees. Try as I might, I cannot get them to play softly, and this year I even sprang for decent badminton racquets instead of the cheap dollar store crap I usually buy (gosh what was I thinking).
As I watered I came across this little geum. It's a lovely garden flower, blooms early in the spring and lasts forever in a vase. This particular variety is called Mrs Bradshaw. Who were you, Mrs Bradshaw? And why do you have a flower named after you?
This is Lysimachia punctata. Yes, it is loosestrife, but it's not that loosestrife. It's yellow loosestrife. It's almost as spreading, but it's not classified as an invasive plant. I like it a lot; it's also a long laster in a flower vase. Stands up forever, even in murky water (I know this because I just checked the vase in the bathroom and let me say that this flower will last in just about anything...ahem).

It also keeps its colour in a vase forever. And the bees love it. So do I.

My dad left these on the doorstep for my birthday last November, and instead of chucking them out I stuck the pot in the garden and promptly forgot about it, horrible daughter that I am, and what should I see this spring but this: burnt orange blooms, glowing in the noon day sun.

My Georgia O'Keefe flower. I won't say which part of female anatomy this might or might not be, because I'm still in my Jane Austen heroine phase and I think this would scare the bejeesus out of the JAH, don't you? That naughty naughty Georgia, none of us can look at a circular flower anymore without thinking of...well, I'll leave it to your imaginations.

And whaddaya know but the artichokes are doing excellently, despite my inept care last winter. One gardening site I checked out told me to invert a pot over them before the frost, then leave them. Another told me to mulch them heavily before the first frost. So I piled up a lot of leaves then stuck a pot over each one, neglecting to read the fine print at the bottom of the instructions, the fine print that read "Make sure you do not pile the mulch too close to the stalk because it will cause rot to set in." Poor poor artichoke. I promise not to do that this winter. Really I do. Especially if you keep doing this.

Strawberries. My dad and I have a semi-friendly game going on, where he comes over and curses my strawberries for being so robust and healthy looking and I go over to his house and mock his for looking so pathetic.

Hmmm. Don't we sound mature. It's really very amusing. Really.

Now when I first saw this it struck me as Horrifying Garlic Bed Carnage. If Toffee (our cat) had been around at the time I would have cursed him for lying all over my garlic and crushing it. I might even have shrieked at him. But he wasn't anywhere to be seen so my next thought was "OMG I HAVE ROTTING GARLIC!" It was heartbreaking, actually...well, until I dug carefully around one stalk to see the rot more carefully and discovered that it must be an early variety of garlic because there were some big honkin' bulbs under that soil. And when garlic is almost ready the stalks, uh, well, they tip over and look like, well, uh, they look like this photo. Carnagey-like.

No cat squishing. No rot. It was just garlic doing its thing. And me doing my thing. (gotta work on the overly melodramatic thing a bit, don't I?)

See? I took one out of the ground just to show you that I have not lost my mind completely.

See that bulb?


I make the world's best garlic butter, if I do say so myself.

I'll even give you the recipe, such as it is:

Sheila's Really Amazing Garlic Butter

Cut the tops off 3 heads of garlic. Place them in a bakingdish and drizzle with olive oil. Place in a 375ºF oven until they are very soft. Let them cool for 20 minutes, then remove the skins. Place the garlic mush in a food processor and blend till smooth, then add some salt (I use Spike) and about 1 cup of unsalted butter and blend some more. Transfer to a ceramic dish and chill for a few minutes until the butter is firmer, then slather on a hot fresh baguette.

Nighty night!


Vivian said...

I am so envious of your garden and lovely produce. And your garlic butter recipe--it sounds amazing.

sheila said...

Thank you Vivian! What a perfectly lovely thing to say. Remind me of this when it's raining and I'm feeling miserable about it all, would you please?

But seriously, you should try that garlic butter recipe if you like garlic butter. I've taken it to parties and not been allowed to take it home. There is something about the combination of garlic, salt, and butter that grabs people. Well, it MIGHT be the bread...

this is my patch said...

I have yellow loosestrife in the garden. Its underground suckers spread well, and needs a large space! My Dad calls it 'bombsite' as he remembers it growing well in these areas after the war. x

sheila said...

Louise, that is a really cool bit of history! Makes me think of Hope and Glory - remember that film?