Friday, June 5, 2009

Garden Sprawl Friday

The yellow irises came first, then the blue-violet ones. I've always loved the clashing ranks of their green swords on a windy day.

For today's Garden Sprawl, this tale from The Desert Fathers may seem pertinent:

XXIII. There were two brethren, monks, that lived together in a cell, whose humility and patience were the praise of many, even among the Fathers. A certain saintly man, hearing of them, wished to prove if their humility was sincere and perfect: so he came to visit them. They welcomed him joyfully and when the wonted prayers and psalms were ended, he went out of doors and saw a little garden where they grew their vegetables. And he caught up a stick, and set to with all his might to beat and break down the herbs, till not one was left. The brothers saw him but said not a word, nor were their faces vexed or downcast. He came again into the cell, and when Vespers was said, they bowed before him, saying: "If you will suffer it, master, we shall go and cook and eat the cabbage that is left, because this is the time that we have our meal." Then the old man bowed before them, saying: "I thank my God, for that I see the Holy Ghost rest upon you: and I exhort and entreat you, brothers beloved, that ye keep to the end this virtue of holy humility and patience, for it shall be your greatness and glory in heaven in the sight of God."

I'm trying to imagine someone coming along with a stick and trashing all my cabbages - or lettuce,

or various others:

Those two monks were not quietistic phonies, that's for sure. That test was the real thing.

Here are my three lingonberry bushes:

The small one on the left is a wild one, as opposed to the two cultivars on the right. I have found lingonberry hard to come by. But I'm trying to get as many different ones as possible, and plant a good long curving row of them in the front in a raised bed faced with rock.

The lingonberry bush will spread out more by underground rhizomes, but it will only go so far, which is nice. It remains a small compact shrub that is evergreen, and it generally has very polished looking leaves, though the one on the far right (Koralle) has narrower, more lightly coloured leaves and less of a shine.

They put out clusters of tiny, white/pink hanging bell flowers. I've smelled the flowers on the ones I'm growing, and they have an elusive candy smell. I've read that lingonberry is self-fertile but produces far more berries when cross-pollinated with another cultivar. Hence my wanting to get many sorts of them. Pollination is by bees.

The lingonberry has a long tradition in various cultures, like with the natives of my province, but most familiarly in Scandinavian culture. It is like a cranberry but pea-size; but unlike the pucker-inducing, out-of-hand cranberry it has more sugar even than the blueberry, but equal acid as the cranberry. This means that the lingonberry is still tart, but far more edible out of hand, especially at peak ripeness. I understand it has a real wonderful tang.

Of course, it is one of those plants us northerners can gloat in that can't be grown very far south where it doesn't get cool often enough, and where the warmth is too consistently warm for it. But where I live, one can also grow these:

Fig trees. This one is a Desert King, the prime fig tree (of the select few that can be grown here) for southern B.C. I'm debating how I should grow it; as a multi-stemmed shrub or standard tree; in the ground, or in some kind of rock pot.

One can also, if one does it right and in the right climactic zones, grow kiwifruit. We have a very unique climate. Very good for berry-growing.

This is what I love about oak trees:

The old dead leaves still cling to the tree when the new leaves come out. There's something about it that I like.

As a bit of follow up to last Friday's post on herbs, here's some mountain mint, starting to flower:

Here's some Hyssop:


There's this house in the town where I live. An old couple lives in it, and every year they grow a lot of vegetables (and fruit by the looks of the trees) on their property.

This year I finally saw them when they were working the dirt. There was an old man doing what he could in a wheelchair; an old lady looking on, and another old man standing and wielding a hoe as though he was barely able to lift it. Yet they grow tons of stuff. I imagine their pantry must be loaded with canned goods from down the years.

Annually seeing their garden(s) grow is one of the few humble, pleasant sights to see in this town, which seems to be changing for the worse [Man shot dead in the bathroom of the strip bar a few weeks ago, across from which is now a tattoo/piercing studio, and down the street from them, one of those high end Harley bike shops. They're all one sub-culture.] - for the worse, of course, in tandem with the million dollar rejuvenation/upgrade/facelift of the main area that many generations ago was the hub for the entire province.

But back to my own garden. The temperature here has been steadily in the high 20's, pushing into mid 30's (that's celsius) without rain or cloud. Just last Saturday I planted my beans:

and pumpkins,

and the Thursday and Friday before that Saturday, I planted the beets:

I thought I wasn't going to bother with melons this year, but I was at a nursery waiting in line and some packets nearby caught my attention. They are Minnesota Midget, a muskmelon, or what we falsely call cantaloupe. I'm growing them in two large containers, as theses ones are not prone to spreading very far. The melons are small but tasty, and quick to mature; perfect for northen climates.


Micki said...

Wonderful garden! I can't believe the mini-melons can be planted in a planter. I'm guessing they overflow and spread out of the container...please keep showing pics as they grow...Very interesting.

Paul Stilwell said...

Thanks Micki. Yes, they definitely will overflow. I'm not sure of the exact size of the pots, but I think they'll be big enough. I'll try to get some scale in next time I show more pics of them.