Tuesday, June 28, 2016


After a weekend away for work, visiting other peoples' gardens (in Buffalo), it was good to come home again, and find the Formosa lilies in bloom.

The garden is not there, yet, but it is so much more there than it was, when I first saw this space last August.

When I am impatient, I remind myself...


So, then this feels better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

After the weeds

Above, last August, when we moved to our new digs, in Carroll Gardens.

DIGS. Get it?

Man (Wooman!), I pulled and dug a lot of weeds. While being strafed by stripy-legged mosquitoes. And there are still daily dozens of morning glory volunteers. Neighbors don't let neighbors plant morning glories.

Above, this morning's snap, into the sun, with arugula flowers in front, more arugula and mixed Asian greens to the lower right, an invisible row of bronze fennel (transplanted volunteers from last year's fennel that moved with us from Harlem), purple basil rows, lush upland cress still going strong (to my surprise), red-veined rocket (fancy arugula), and bush beans and tomatillos beyond. Potatoes (left) will be dug in a  few weeks.

No garlic to show you. We have eaten all the garlic.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Common milkweed recipe

My common milkweed bud lunch, yesterday, snarfed up with a pair of chopsticks. It was very, very delicious: salty, tart, a tiny bit sweet, luscious (if you have no common milkweed, broccolini would work very well, or young and tender green beans, for that matter). I needed some fresh pictures for my Gardenista article about milkweed (meals, myths, monarchs), so I prepped, cooked, shot and ate in quick succession. 

And then I started two liters of milkweed flower cordial, one liter of honeysuckle-lindenflower-elderflower cordial, two bottles of elderflower vinegar, and pickled two jars of field garlic flowers.

Happy Sunday, doing what I love.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The face at the fence

Meet Beeskwee (Biscuit), my occasional gardening companion, on the other side of the fence.

The fence is actually falling down. The rusted post at one end, far left, is loose, and it is kept propped upright by a concrete birdbath on Biscuit's side and a big stone on ours. I had intended a better fix but it's harder than we thought, because of rocks, rocks, rocks. The post in the middle (behind the birch pole) is very sturdy. No one knows whom the fence belongs to. The chainlink is ugly so in this case I am grateful for the existing English ivy.

I also planted tall North American natives Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus, far left) from store-bought tubers, Veronicastrum virginicum (in bloom, above), Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium pupureum, right) and a South Africcan gloriosa lily (Gloriosa supberba) to do more screening.

But Beeskwee still has this convenient gap where she sometimes sits and stares at me. She likes it when we braai meat, too. Sniffing appreciatively. Perhaps waiting for the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Gowanus Nursery

I was happy to be able to write at last (for Gardenista) about an inspiring place that is dangerously within reach: the Gowanus Nursery. Follow that link for more photos and the story.

What does its owner, Michele Palladino do every day? Water. For one-and-half hours. And then she works. She keeps a remarkable collection of plants in the nursery, and designs and plants and maintains gardens on the days when the nursery is not open. A lot of labour.

And the 'g?' Dutchman's pipe - Aristolochia tomentosa, a species with petite flowers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Black raspberries

The black raspberries change color almost by the hour, now. The plants - acquired from the defunct Liberty Garden Center in Red Hook (I began with one, it made more, some died in a drought last year) - have traveled from an all-sun Cobble Hill rooftop, to a Harlem terrace with four hours of midday sun (and a sweet crop),  to Carroll Gardens, where the hours of sun yaw wildly from full-shade winter to sunny summer, with about five to six hours of direct sun, now.

I met a formidable black raspberry the other day at the Gowanus Nursery, which is 10 minute walk away, over the pedestrian bridge that crosses the roaring eight-lane BQE. I wrote a story about the nursery and its owner, Michele Palladino, for Gardenista - many of her plants are rooted in our new garden:

Shopper's Diary: Gowanus Nursery in Brooklyn.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Market table

What became of them? Well, the drink was drunk (makrut lime-infused gin and tonic - it tasted a lot like the Rose's Lime Cordial that my grandmother used to take in her gin and tonic before lunch on Sundays).

Strawberries? Mostly just rinsed and eaten straight up, while I watched a movie. Others cut in half and doused with some black currant gin to sit for a few hours before being scooped up with cream.

Leeks: Vichyssoise. Of course.

Onions. Hm. What happened to the onions? Oh. Chopped finely and mixed with cilantro and lime juice as a dressing for super-fresh braaied bluefish.

Asparagus. Steamed. Olive oil and lemon. A bit gritty - I should have soaked them longer.

What is at your farmers market?

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