Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clear weather

The temperatures yesterday were stunning. 99'F/37'C. After the sky collapsed on us and rainwater turned gutters into cataracts they dropped by 20'F. One remembers early June, fondly.

The new roses: the red Munstead Wood is not enjoying July. The flatleaf parsley has bolted, muttering imprecations about impossible climates. So I need something new to fill its pot.

Pink Abraham Darby (in bud, behind the echinacea) keeps right on trucking. I never did throw out the diseased but much-loved specimen. It lives on the roof, in blooming quarantine. It still suffers from the dread die back, but the living part sends forth irrepressible canes every year.

Gin infused with cucumber and red currants, plus tonic. Say that, fast. And it is surprising how fast some slices of cucumber impart their flavour. To gin or to water, for that matter. The evening ritual. Roof farm inspection with drink. The calabacita squash sent new tendrils out so its execution has been delayed. Above it is the strange ground cherry (Physalis sp.). And an errant chard leaf.

Up here it is all about the tomatoes, now. The waiting... Skinny purple eggplants get longer every day - I'm thinking something sweetish with soy, for them. And miso. I have cleared my troughs of trout lettuce going to seed and need ideas. What to put in them? Chervil? 

And last night we ate our first big shiso leaves, wrapped around succulent bits of lemon grassy pork rib.

Big hit. Now, how fast can they make more?


  1. Saw you in the NYTimes. What a lovely blog. I am hooked.

  2. Have you tried pineapple sage? It does well with heat and sun. It does take a lot of watering if no rain falls. It would be a good replacement for the parsley. It would be perfect in your summer cocktails! In my Georgia yard, the hummingbirds LOVE the red flowers it sends up late summer. I grow it in a pot and it gets about 3' high. We were so mild last winter that mine overwintered on the front porch. Hoping that the breath of fresh air brought by the rain holds out for a few days.

  3. I've enjoyed growing borage this summer, which produces star-like blue flowers. It will need more room than the parsley did , though. I mention it because it evidently used to be used to flavor gin and Pim's because of its cucumber flavor. Might be fun to try in your drink, and the flower would make a pretty garnish.

  4. Congratulations on your NY Times feature -- and on the Book! How exciting. I remember fondly our judging the Greenest Block in Brooklyn together - with Stephen. Let's celebrate, ok? LMK when is good for you.

  5. As I was reading your article in the NYTs and before I got to the part about your lovely blog, I was already hoping for more. Any there you are.

  6. Thank you, Anonymous...

    Barbara - it's a good suggestion for the conditions... I like pineapple sage's scent but find I rarely use it. It's also a bit rampant, as you say, for the side of the terrace.

    Anonymous II - borage is gorgeous, But prrrrickly! Maybe on the roof.

    Thank you, leeann :-)

    Thank you, Michelle, - a very nice thing to say.

  7. I know her I causally mentioned to a bus mate.

    Well enough, I think, to be over the moon about your lovely article.

    Nice to get more of life's details. Your "spare" prose leaves out the details every Virgo lives for.

    Now we live for the "book".

    Hat in the air!

    xo J.

  8. I find chervil bolts quickly in NY summers also, so I suspect you'll be disappointed. I use basils as extra filler at this time of year. Some are very ornamental (Tulsi, Thai, even the little balls of boxleaf basil). The Union Square greemarket usually has a good selection, so Borough Hall might too. Plus, the pollinators like basils. Other ornamental edibles that make good fillers during the dog days include nasturtium (tropaeolum), Cuban oregano (plectranthus actually), true oreganos (also very popular with pollinators), and stevia. --Klaus

  9. Perilla seems to do the most growing late in the summer. Last year I gave them an occasional compost tea and they became shrub sized and out of control. You might benefit from this recipe in the fall:

    PS cheers on the Times feature. Anne Raver better watch her back.

  10. Was grabbing a coffee at lunch break, spied the Times on the counter and recognized those square feet right away. Congrats. Nice feature.

  11. Marion in SavannahJuly 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Just found your delightful blog. Thanks, NYT! I haven't delved deeply yet (but will...) so I don't know if you've considered any of the thymes, or rosemary. Both do well down here in our horrendous heat, and thyme will drape nicely if it's in the front of a pot.

    Congratulations on your book, and now I'm off to delve more deeply into your blog.

  12. Great blog! I can't wait to hear what you do with your skinny eggplant, I have a ton of that too. Keep your eye on chervil, it will bolt, or is that cilantro,...or both?


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