basil | chive | cilantro | dill | garden | herbs | I love... | lavender | mint | organic | rose | rosemary | seasonal | tarragon

Scenes from the garden, 2013.

July 25, 2013

My grandpa's 60+ year old rose.

Typically, I update about my little container “Victory garden” a few times during the summer. But because I’ve been so busy this year, I really had to pare down. I didn’t grow anything other than the usual herbs; a few of mine come back every year (chives, oregano, mint) and I bought a few more, like dill, tarragon, rosemary, etc. You all saw my garlic already. So I was going to stick to just herbs, my little garlic shoots & my flowers, but then I bought a cherry tomato plant at the last minute because it felt kinda naked without any veggies. But I swear, I’m stopping at that!  I have way too much going on this summer to have a massive garden.

Anyway, I was inspired by my visit to the Queens County Farm Museum & I thought I’d share some photos with you of my garden, & what I’m growing this year. Even if it’s not a lot of stuff, it’s still beautiful, because nature is always beautiful & interesting. That rose pictured above is from a plant that’s over 60 years old. It was one of the first ones my grandpa planted when he moved out to Long Island from the Bronx, and it’s still the most beautiful rose I have.

Gardeners know the best dirt.

Here are a few more photos of some of my favorite things that were/are sprouting… and some other stuff too.

Chive blossoms, in all their glory.Chives; this photo was taken back in late June when the blossoms were at their peak. 

I promptly cut those blossoms off & used them in some potato saladvinegar & egg salad.

I like to take a mug of something (hot or cold) out with me to do my gardening. It’s best if the mug isn’t porcelain, so it won’t break if knocked over onto concrete or brick. That’s why this one is an excellent choice- it’s enameled tin. Plus, the cute garden-appropriate phrase helps.

Dig for Victory!Dig For Victory! I love this mug (it’s from The Thoughtful Gardener

When I was younger, I had a thing for metal signs. Specifically signs like this:

Keep off the grass!

I’d steal them (shhh!) and hang them up all over my yard. Ironically, of course. I’d never seriously tell anyone to stay off my grass, that’s kind of a dick-ish thing to say. It’s not a golf course, it’s a yard, & it’s meant to be enjoyed. Anyway, I still do have a thing for metal signs- but nowadays it’s more the vintage Coca-Cola or root beer ones than stolen miscellaneous outdoor ones.

I also have a thing for tomatoes.

Baby cherry tomatoes doing their thing.

Pretty little tomatoes!

Growing things- anything- is so gratifying. I can’t imagine having any outdoor space and not growing something edible. Even if it’s just a few herbs. I can’t live without my fresh herbs in the summer! How do people survive without fresh basil or cilantro?

Bucket o' herbs!The herb bucket- mint, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary & cilantro. Not pictured: dill & tarragon.


Blooming cilantro.Blooming cilantro… coming soon: green coriander pickles!

The smell alone from these is worth it.

I passed a house a while back on a drive with Jay and they had something so incredibly clever outside their house that it stuck with me: right outside the backdoor/sidedoor they built a ledge where the railing would’ve been (against the house) and used it as a little herb garden. It was an old farmhouse-looking home, maybe from the 1930’s. Not very big, but with a front porch and the type of architecture that they just don’t do nowadays. The type of house where you can see that it was one of the oldest ones on the street, and that the other houses around it & probably the street itself came long after. Probably infringing on & using the land that the original owners (most likely) once owned. Because of this, they were severely lacking in outdoor space & didn’t seem to have much of a yard, but I thought that was an ingenious use of what space they did have! It was a small shelf with a container built on top of it, with a variety of herbs growing. It was right in the sunshine & you could reach them just by opening the door a bit- without even walking outside. Perfect. And I thought, “If those people can do it, anyone can.” You just need a little inspiration, a little imagination & a bit of motivation. And if you have no outdoor space at all, how about trying this awesome idea from Better Homes & Gardens?

Lilies (of all kinds) are my favorite flower. Tiger lilies, Stargazer lilies, Cala lilies, I love them all.

Lilies are my favorite.

If you have a black thumb or you aren’t interested in herbs but you want to try growing some flowers, might I suggest Dianthus? They come back every year, bigger & better each time, & they’re stunning. Suitable for pots or planting in the ground.

Beautiful Dianthus.

Another suggestion? Live Forever (sedum purpureum). It literally does live forever: the plants I have belonged to my great-great-grandmother… no lie. And it weathers harsh winters & snow just fine. It requires very little care, no watering (it’s an outside plant, and the rain is all it needs), and you can start a new plant just from a cutting. It’s sorta like a succulent- it looks/feels like one & when you cut it, it’s very wet & squishy inside just like a cactus. But in mid-summer it blooms with pretty little pink or lavender flower clusters. It’s great for rock gardens or like I said… for people with black thumbs.

Live Forever- the perfect no maintenance plant.

And this next photo may not be from the garden, but it’s just a lovely picture that sums up spring/summer around here pretty well: iced tea! Cold-brewed or sun-brewed, in a jar or a glass… it’s a must-have around here once the mercury goes up. This particular one was sun tea, made very sweet with sliced peaches.

Cold-brewed iced tea.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer so far.

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  1. They’re super pretty! They just smell like chives, haha… sometimes I cut them & have them in a jar of water on the counter, but they REALLY have a strong chive smell. So it only lasts like a day before I use them for something else.

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