Saturday, July 18, 2015


Leaning out and extending an arm I can take a side view picture of the bean screen.  The gloriosa lilies (Gloriosa superbum) planted in late spring at the base of the birch poles rocketed straight up and over the top, and have been in bloom for three long weeks. They are natural ramblers, indigenous to the understoreys of the southeastern coast of South Africa and parts farther north.

Above: this was how it looked in May, with emerging seedlings and shoots hidden under pots from the digging squirrel.

In previous years I lost the long gloriosa tubers to the rot caused by the freeze-thaw cycle. So late last fall I dug them up and they overwintered with some forbidden peatmoss in unzipped ziplock bags in our cold (c-c-c-c-cold) bedroom, near a leaky window (extra c-c-c-cold). (The real lilies - Lilium formosanum, and 'Silk Road' overwintered in the crisper drawer in the fridge.)

The gloriosas must be unearthed soon, in their prime, for our move. I will have to repot them in something portable, and very awkwardly, given their size. They need to keep growing for the leaves to feed the tubers for next season's performance. The frustrating thing is that they will be making new tubers, too, and I think the upheaval will mean that all this activity turns to toast.

The beans are doomed. Unplanting and saving them for a yet-to-be-found garden space would be Sisyphean. They were planted in May:

The scarlet runners have made flowers but no beans yet, and the lablabs we will not see. But we have enjoyed several crops of the purple pole beans ('Trionfo Violetto,' from Botanical Interests). And I am leaving some very fat pods to save seeds for a future I can't imagine, from where I sit right now.

Below,  a quick-pickled beet Caprese with buffalo mozzarella, Persian cucumbers and straight-up pole beans.

Our upstairs neighbor, Wolfgang, will take pictures of the terrace with us on it next week, and I will ask for another one when it is empty. The contrast will be interesting. He works in black and white only, which is how I feel.  He too, has not had his lease renewed.  It has been good to share space with him. My sourdough baking was inspired by feeding his starter while he traveled, and we have lapped up a few bottles of his own olive oil, pressed in Italy from his own olive trees (they are sick, this year, and their future, too, is uncertain).

So that's the bean screen scene.


  1. Donatella con tristezzaJuly 18, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    You have created great beauty in your garden. I know there are times of anger and despair while you document the deconstruction of your garden. Much love always, with no platitudes.

  2. So, beautiful! You should be proud that you've created such a lovely oasis.

  3. A beautiful garden, I'm sad you have to leave. I've seen the gloriosa lilies in full and rampant bloom at Victoria falls where they were everywhere to be seen.

  4. Still angry that you must go through this so abruptly, and I'm not even you! However, it has lent a bad vibe to this location -- if that makes any sense -- so am continuing to hold on with good thoughts for your next home. Mary


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