Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Close encounters

A pair of very young doves has made the terrace home. They are unafraid and like to perch on the railing in the sun or on top of the anti-squirrel wire in the windowboxes.

One of two Thai limes is very happy. Both trees were pruned hard - branches and roots - in January (while still in the bedroom!). They were incredibly lush but I had to be ruthless: I am not giving them bigger pots. They have to be portable. And so I downsized them. The other tree got scale in April, as they both normally do, and it has been much slower to recover. In the mornings I sit outside with my coffee and hunt scale. I'm a little obsessed.

Oak leaf lettuce is growing in the windowbox. Ready for small salads.

The bay tree also moved out with the limes about a week ago. It grows very fast, and has already been root pruned once, late last summer. I bought it last spring at the Union Square Farmers market.

I love fresh bay - it has a penetratingly aromatic flavor that we don't use often enough; a dry bay leaf always seems an afterthought. Try tucking four fresh leaves under the skin of your next roast chicken, and a handful more in the cavity, and more underneath the bird. Salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a splash of water in the roasting dish. An hour and fifteen at 450'F. A nice rest, then carve, spooning the juices over the meat.

This is a close view of the pot where the little prickly ash tree lives (I ordered it from an Alabama nursery years ago to experiment with growing this very interesting wild edible). You can't see the prickly ash trunk, but you can see a couple of the arugula plants and native foam flowers that share the pot. The darker leaf belongs to bugbane (black cohosh, black snakeroot). It also came from our last garden, at 1st Place. Loves water, and prefers some shade on this hotter-than-I-expected terrace. The dark foliage is very beautiful.

And the all-arugula pot. Time for a big salad. The best dressing for perfect and peppery arugula is one where you toss in a handful of microplaned parmesan at the last moment.

It was how I lured the Frenchman to eat leaves when I first met him. He is a changed man.


  1. What a lovely way to start the day. Thank you.

  2. Wish you could change my man, too! If it's not Iceberg he won't touch it! So boring!! It's been so cool here that my lettuce is still going strong and showing no signs of bolting. I hope to get a couple more weeks before it realizes that it's suddenly warm - comfortably warm for humans, but not so much for tender greens. A good project for this morning ... gather lettuce for a big salad tonight. Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Makes me quite nostalgic for Iceberg... I guess it's better than nothing, though. Luckily the Frenchman was open to arguments about nutrition and health and leafy greens :-) Glad your salads are still growing strong. It has been such a cool season xx


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