Oooh Mami!

Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Just got back from my favorite eco-responsible pick up lunch to go spot, Pret. I am hoping to do lunches from home soon but not there just yet – will start next week. So I went to Pret, being frugal and ready to order only a cup of soup when I noticed their Wheel of Fortune posted on the wall. I asked if they’d spin it for me. They obliged, and it landed on the equivalent of a Price Is Right car: a frrrreeeeeee lunch! Everyone clapped as I collected my sandwich, snack, drink, and soup (the soup I still purchased since it didn’t come with the lunch). Mushroom risotto soup – might not look like much but it made me plenty happy today and supplied my Friday dose of umami. Oooh, Mami! Thank you Pret!


Goat, Anyone?

Gotta love Seattle.  I’ve actually never been there, always wanted to go.  Last fall I met a wonderful Seattlite (ok, I know that’s wrong but sounds so right to me).  She keeps me up to date on the happenings there.  Here’s a novel idea from some west coast revel gardeners: use goats instead of pesticides to keep your land free and clear of unwelcome visitors.  Check it out here.

I’ve heard of other natural ways to keep pests away.  My other favorite is from the Self-Sufficient Gardener, who regularly emphasizes that pests are just a natural part of gardening, not all are bad, it’s important to know the difference between the good ones (beneficial) and harmful pests, and that one of the most important methods of pest control is planning.  A resilient garden grounded with healthy soil and packed with diverse and sturdy (think heirloom over hybrid) plants will put itself in balance.  Check out some quick advice from him on how to deal with pests here.

QUESTION: How do you deal with pests?  Have you been seeing any this year?  Do you plan your garden around them or just wait to see what shows up?  (I have to say I’m guilty of the latter in that I do only minimal planning – such as placing marigolds around my tomato garden – but just wait to see what shows up for the rest).  Do you use any organic pesticides or other products?  Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

Who by Hyacinth

Already thinking of my garden next year, can you believe it? I’ve decided I want hyacinth but won’t plant them till the fall for a new addition in the spring. (Leonard Cohen’s song, Who By Fire, which ponders the means of demise for those who will fall in the coming year came to my head but with garden flowers replacing the weapons of death.

I’ve been living in my house for 12 years. I have learned that everything is a process. In those years, I have taken down walls and put them back up again, discovered brick that hadn’t seen the light of day in nearly a hundred years, installed floors and toilets and a deck, moved closets, changed space. Importantly, I discovered how much I love demolition – talk about stress release…nearly as good as digging fingers in the dirt.

Growing the garden, like building the castle, is also a process. I have learned to love its stages, even knowing they are not what I ultimately hope to bring into existence. But isn’t it really the journey, and not the destination, that is the essence of living?

So I planted some vinca as a solution to the bald patches in my front garden. My understanding is that Vinca spreads to visit but does not suffocate other plants, and it blooms small purple flowers to pop out of its forest green spiky vines that keep close to the ground.

The neighbor stopped and said hello as I was picking London Plane leaves out of the yard the other day. I had just finished putting the vinca in the ground. He commended me and noted the size of the front garden, pointing out when he saw my exasperation at not being done with it already, that it is a deceivingly large space to work. I explained the vinca was a balance between pragmatism and poetry. I need something that will eventually take care of itself but that also allows me and others to be in the space (so many gardens have ground cover that create more a plant museum than a front yard to be used and enjoyed).

I pointed out the hostas his wife had given me 12 springs ago. They’re in full bountiful bloom with beautiful delicate lavender colored flowers reaching up to the sun. Next to them, the brand new baby vinca with years to grow. Yes, a garden is a process, a journey, and a labor of love.

Made My Day

I don’t know who it was, but somebody took time to smell the flowers (my partner told me in fact it was at least a couple passersby who literally stopped to smell the flowers – glad I’m not the only one who does that). This person, who I don’t think is working for Googlemaps, unless they’re starting a global gardens division, also bothered to snap a shot while he was at it. My day lilies are standing a little taller for all the attention. (Speaking of attention, pay none to the weedy walk behind him — this was snapped before I got to that the other day).


I Lost My Spliff

Now that I have your attention,* I wanted to see if all of us revelers could take a little pledge.  This weekend, please do not buy anything not made in the U.S.A.  While you don’t have to buy American to be American, it does make you a better American.  And it makes me and your neighbors better off as well, financially and ecologically.  I don’t have to recount all the reasons to avoid goods made in other parts of the world (which may and often include a bigger carbon footprint, poor quality and cheap parts, lack of rigorous standards, excessive and harmful chemicals, poor working conditions without fair wages, use of child labor, etc. etc.).  Let’s keep the spirit of Memorial Day alive by honoring those who have sacrificed to fight our wars and protect U.S. interests abroad by doing our part to improve the U.S. economy and send the message that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.  An item made in the U.S. may be a few cents, or more, greater than a cheaper item made elsewhere.  Consider the cost, though, if we fail to consume responsibly and patriotically.

Love your world neighbors but patronize your local ones.

*Based on what WordPress tells me, the greatest number of hits to this site came when I posted “Still on the Weed.”  Let’s see if we can beat that.  Don’t bogart this post.  Pass the dutchie.

Pass it on.