I worked for about four hours in the garden yesterday. Transplanted more basil and seven different types of peppers, moved the gaura (butterfly-like flowers) to their front garden spot, pruned the butterfly bush way back, pruned a couple of azaleas, prepared a spot for the coral bells that will get moved later this afternoon, readied the terrace bed for tomatoes, transplanted several more herbs (dill, parsley, chives, Vietnamese cilantro, stevia, spearmint) into pots or spots in the garden, pulled out bolting chard plants and cut lots more lettuce, cleared the front garden pathway and mulched the hydrangea, and dreamed about what to do with the front garden and all the perennials that I got for a buck a pot last fall. Looks like they may just stay in the beds they were plunked down in because they're looking very healthy and happy and it's probably too late to transplant them. I'm going to have Asiatic lilies and obedient plant in bloom before too long, I think. And for the first time, my comfrey is blooming. I also have flax that I planted from seed last summer ready to move to a sunnier spot. This is one of my favorite perennial flowers with it's pure pale blue, five petaled flowers that wave on slender stems. It'll take center stage in the front garden just because I love it so much.
When I work in the garden, I alternate between feeling overwhelmed and delighted by this acre of land. It has lots of big trees and sometimes seems like it just wants to go wild. It doesn't want to be a garden. It wants to revert to forest again. If I just left all the oak leaves where they fell and gave up raking and cultivating, we'd have a forest in a few years, I do believe. On the other hand, when I dig and add compost, plant, prune, transplant, water and harvest, I feel such delight. My garden is co-existing with the trees. I may yet cut a couple to let in a bit more sunshine, but I do love they way they define this place. Most everyone that comes to my house comments on the trees and how shady and cool it is here in the summertime when other denuded, treeless neighborhoods are sweltering.
After coming in from the work, tired but satisfied, I sat down with a cup of tea to read. I checked Tonia's blog, Study In Brown and found this video which you might enjoy - if you are a gardener and dream of growing more food. It's about nine minutes long so do what I did, settle down with a cup of tea and enjoy.
That prompted me to look up John Jeavons online. I worked with John back in the late '70's/early 80's when he was still in Palo Alto. He gave me my start in gardening at the Ecology Action Research garden which is now located in Willits, CA. Check out his website and the Bountiful Gardens website, too, if you're interested in small scale sustainable agriculture. I'm excited that John is going to be in NC in October and hope I'll get to hear him speak and reconnect in person after many years!