May 25 2010

Lark’s Heel

Natalie

What’s blooming today?  A white delphinium.

In my research, delphinium’s other name is larkspur.  I’m going to go with “lark’s heel,” Shakespeare’s name for it. The flower has five petal-like sepals which grow together to form a hollow pocket with a spur at the end, which gives the plant its name. The plants flower from late spring to late summer, and are pollinated by butterflies and bumble bees. (More butterflies, please!) The plant is toxic, so ranchers don’t allow cattle to graze on fields of larkspur until late in the summer cialis online india.  Also surprising to me, one ancient use of the seeds of larkspur was to kill lice and nits in the hair (we don’t have that problem here), and a tincture cures asthma (we won’t be making that home remedy).

The scientific name comes from the Latin for dolphin alluding to the shape of the opening flower.  This weekend,  Roger and I watched The Cove, the Academy-Award winning documentary about killing dolphins in Japan.  Strangely fitting?  Connected?  At any rate, there’s only ONE flower right now, so I am urging Roger to plant more! photoFunny how I never knew what the flower was before, and now I need a whole garden of them!


May 23 2010

Ravishing Radishes!

Natalie

Roger spent hours in the garden yesterday, and a sumptuous meal that included radishes was the result.  Check out these beauties!radishes 5-22-2010


May 8 2010

The Audacity of Gardening

rebetsky
A long way to grow...

A long way to grow...

Hope:  At this point, that’s about all these tomato plants amount to. Truly, I’ve never put such a pathetic bunch of wannabes in the ground. But they are my babies, and I will stick by them. If past experience is an indication, they will stretch their roots out quickly and soon catch up to all those overachieving store-bought specimens. I found room to put 16 in, and lamented not being able to fit more. But it’s a good variety of varieties, including two from seeds Natalie brought from France.

What’s beautiful now, though, is that the paths are established. I’ve always held that a garden is its paths, which is certainly true in the overall landscape, and particularly true in ornamental plantings, and true enough in the vegetable or “production” garden. What’s worse than walking along the edge of a property’s “border” plantings, with no opportunity to interact or get in with the plants? It’s like driving down the highway watching the scenery go by and never getting out of the car. Anyway, the production garden is all right angles and perpendiculars, geared toward maximum production in the space, which makes it interesting to get around in.

In the order of paths in the garden, there is calm. Welcome, wonderful calm.


May 2 2010

Wool, Sheep Herding & A Hidden Cemetery

rebetsky

It was a busy day for country things here in greater Sykesville, where the weather felt more like mid-August than the second of May. We started the day at the annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival at the HoCo fairgrounds, billed as the nation’s largest. We saw every imaginable kind of raw wool, felt, and yarn in every imaginable form, including a number of beautiful finished products.

We browsed the livestock barns and watched part of the parade of breeds. The highlight, though, was the herding demonstration with border collies. Simply amazing beasts that were able to move a mini-herd of four sheep with precision wherever the handler directed. Great, smart, focused dogs. We’re thinking maybe we need to buy a sheep farm for our Blue.

I bought a super-duper tomato cage I couldn’t resist. It’s really heavy duty, an ingenious hinged design, and I got the “extender” so that it can be, like, 8’ tall. I love a challenge! Don’t dare ask me what I paid for it.

We had met some friends at the festival who stopped by the house for a quick cold drink. Then, after a brief nap, we kept a hiking date with some neighbors we had met at the Howard County Hospital emergency room (all ended well for all of us). They live directly adjacent to Patapsco State Park, and had promised to show us a small family graveyard they had found there.

Most of the hike was places we had already been, but we did go up to an old barn we had only seen from afar, which was an amazing log construction now frequented by teens who favor Budweiser. The graveyard was not far away, and had three impressive headstones, including one that was hand-chiseled.

Blue and our neighbors’ three dogs had a blast swimming in the river, chasing deer and generally romping in the woods. Blue was totally hot and tired. Near the end of the hike, he decided to lay down, yes, lay down in a little swamp pond. I thought we were going to be lucky and finish the hike with a relatively clean dog, but no luck. I had to give him a bottom wash when we got back.

Out in the garden, things are beginning to hop. We have peas, kale, spinach, lettuce, green beans, lima beans, turnips, beets, radishes, cucumbers, blue potatoes, hyacinth beans, zinnias, and gladiolus coming up. Tonight, we had our last salad with store-bought lettuce for a while. We have some beautiful Red Tiede, Cos, and Simpson Elite just about ready, and a bunch coming along behind them. I plan to put out tomatoes and peppers the second weekend of this month.

I have to admit, seed starting was a bust this year. I don’t think I’ve ever had poorer germination. Less than 50%, I dare say. Perhaps the basement was too cold, and I started too late in the greenhouse. In any event, the seedlings are small, but we should still have everything we need to plant.