Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


Monday, August 31, 2009

NYC GARDENER ON SUMMER VACATION

Jen in her NH garden. (Double click any image to enlarge.)
When I lived and worked in the country, in a town of three thousand souls, I craved a city vacation: all noise and tumult, music and museums: Philadelphia, San Francisco, D.C., Boston, Barcelona, New York, Paris, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, it didn’t matter. Since I’ve been living and working in a great city, I crave the country and, of course, the gardens.

Every summer, Daughter Jen generously allows me to weed her vast New Hampshire vegetable and cutting garden, pull the garlic, pick the beans, and encourages
me to cut armfuls of her
flowers and herbs for
arrangements. She
sends me home with
samples of her blue-
ribbon garlic, dried
goldenrod and nigella
pods among my dirty
laundry.

right, flowers & herbs from
Jen's cutting garden, in-
cluding dill seed heads and
anise hyssop flowers.I love
the way the bright orange
of the cosmos flowers
transforms a traditional
pink/blue color scheme.



Jen serves us beets picked ten minutes before roasting, Yukon Gold new potatoes, green and yellow beans, heirloom tomatoes, sweet tender carrots, patty pan squash. Her garden, fenced against deer, racoons, and to keep out her own playful dogs, was roto-tilled 8 years ago, and formed into raised beds, but never re-tilled. She top-dresses with compost, adds a couple inches of new wood chips to refresh the paths, and hand-weeds her pesticide free garden.(above, early broccoli a few weeds and spirea, coexisting happily together.)
Vegetables are interspersed with annual and perennial flowers available for cutting all growing season, so there's always great a great play of sight, smell and taste. It's plain fun to walk in this garden.(above, cactus flowering zinnias, my favorite for cutting and showing off, no arranging skills necessary)

Once upon a time Jen bought garlic to plant, and received seed garlic from friend Mary just down the dirt road, but over a few years saved her own best heads, and now plants only her own 'seed garlic', the biggest and best of her unblemished stock. Garlic adds fabulous flavor to almost any main course, but the stiff-neck species is also great in kitchen or dining room as a swag decoration with other dried flowers and herbs, here, chive flowers, orange calendula and sumac seed heads. Who's to stop you stealing a stalk when you need it and retying the swag to take up the slack?She's a consistent blue ribbon winner at the New Hampshire State Fair as she, like other garlic growers works her own survival of the fittest experiment, with garlic adapted to her own soil and climate conditions. My stash to take home to the City includes as many garlic heads as she allots me, and always a new treat like Red Chinese red noodle beans that she grew for the first time.



1 comment:

Shady Gardener said...

Aren't you so fortunate that your children have gardens that you can run to?? (And that they have followed in your footsteps?) :-) What a wonderful variety between all the types of farming.

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