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The Enchanted Garden

Friday, September 8, 2017

This is a post I wrote in August, before a lot of other stuff happened. I stuffed it away and saved it for a time when I wouldn't feel like writing. Which turns out to be now. I keep checking: still got nothing.

I took the enchanted basil forest down in early August. 
Best basil I've ever grown. I had little to do with it. It was the rain that made the leaves big and tender. Wow, what beautiful basil. And for once I harvested it in the height of its growth, not in October when most of the leaves have fallen off and the rest are yellowing. Beautiful!!

After the cutting. The plants are still there, and may well send up just that much growth again before frost. Yikes!

All that basil reduced down to this many leaves, which Liam helped me strip off the stems.
And all these leaves, with some pine nuts and parmesan and a lot of olive oil, made 13 jars of delicious pesto. Just finished my dinner, 3 cheese ravioli drenched in fresh pesto. Mmmmm! Good thing I ran today, and am going to rake the yard again.

Amazingly, the manure-fed rhubarb is still going pretty strong, and I've made some bitchin' cobblers lately. Oh I love that stuff sooo  much. Just looking at this photo makes me feel thankful.
I so vastly prefer shopping in my garden to shopping in the produce aisle. I love summer cooking. It's so easy and fast, with all this organic produce flowing into the kitchen.

Speaking of happy, here's the first big crop of golden raspberries we've had. Yes, that's young asparagus curling around, from the seeds I planted in the greenhouse two springs ago. It'll probably be five more years before I can harvest any, but that's OK. I'm waiting anyway.

My dear friend Connie Toops has given me a couple of batches of raspberry plants from her amazing mountainside garden in North Carolina over the last five years or so. Cutting all the trees that were shading them, liberal applications of cow manure, and a rainy summer were apparently what they required to really take off, spread and give us enough to carry some in from the garden. I.E. enough so that they aren't all gut-picked right there in the patch. Ahhhh!! sooo good.

Best of all, there have were still some on the plants for Phoebe. It's been lovely for Phoebe to have a little time here rolling around with me in August's glorious bounty.  She had a beautiful two weeks with Chet Baker. She went back to school August 26, and, goodbye kisses given and received, he very quickly got on with the business of leaving this world. Bless his little soul. A gentleman to the end. As I think about it, it was best that way, a perfect visit, with him feeling pretty good, even able to go on hikes, and Phoebe able to remember him that way. I brought him to her arms when she woke up each morning. 

Sweet puppy kisses and golden raspberries. Life was good for Phoebs. Right next to them, the last naked lady finishes her bloom.

They're softly fragrant and so divine with that ethereal cerulean-violet on their petal ends. Ahhhh. 

Once again, there's South Africa to credit for this wonderful plant, Lycoris squamigera, often called the Surprise Lily for the way its broad strappy leaves come up in spring, wither away by June, and then boom! there are multiple tall spikes of fabulous pink "naked ladies," i.e. without any leaves, popping up as a surprise in August! I'm thrilled that these transplants from an old home site down Dean's Fork have taken hold in my heirloom garden, right in front of the peony I harvested there. Home again. The naked ladies don't bloom in the woods. I should get serious, take a shovel and dig some more of them next spring. 

Buddleia is adding its sweet perfume to the powerful scent of tuberose come evening.

I'm really pleased with this combo, more thought out than most of mine, on the corner of the old garage. I'm breaking the rules by planting 4'  tuberoses in front of shorter things, but they're there to smell! No stepping over other plants to get to them. This is a hedon's garden, after all.
And the tuberoses are almost as tall as I am this year. I don't even have to lean over to bury my nose in them. I made a sweet little bundle this spring selling off most of my tuberose bulbs at two gardening talks I gave here in Ohio. I had too darn many to plant, and no place to put them. Sold a bunch of Achimenes rhizomes, too, which took a little more salesmanship. The tuberoses were snapped up immediately. They were beautiful--enormous bulb clusters, manure-fed, and I sold them for $4 apiece. I hope to rebuild my stocks and offer them in coming years. What I sold was about a decade's worth of propagation. Man, I love being able to produce something people really want and sell it in person (as opposed to online). No postage, no hassle, just grab, gimme some cash, and go. 

I've put in a bed of annuals--Salvia farinosa "Victoria," Angelonia and zinnias--behind the tuberoses. I tried to keep it all purple, pink and white. Succeeded. Sometimes it works out.


I, too, love shopping for produce in my vegetable garden. It's small, but there is enough so that the farm I usually buy organic produce from notices that I am buying less: "All you're buying is eggs today?" "Yup. We're busy binge-eating tomatoes and eggplants right now."

Posted by Anonymous September 9, 2017 at 4:47 AM

Beautiful images! It was a good basil year in NW Penna too and I've made several batches of pesto. Couldn't you just imagine all the pesto-making food processors churning across the land this year? Kim in PA

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