Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Summer in the jungle

And it's August. July slid by, filled with walks and picnics, and wild scents and red fruits. 

The terrace has filled out to its summer jungle voluptuousness. Fennel has shot up and is flowering and the South African milkweed is about to begin, too. Cardamom and galangal and black pepper and sand ginger throw tropical parties at night, after we have gone to bed.

What is missing is last year's lush screen of moonflowers on the birch poles, and also the raspberry along the railing (removed because of its incurable virus, and replaced with another, after scrubbing and sterilizing the pot). I regret the moonflowers, but an extremely late sowing of an unusual white lablab bean from Abbie Zabar's stash may still have time to climb. It's a baby. I also cut the Clematis 'Etoile Violette' right back to provoke more flowers in...guessing...mid September. (You can see the first one I grew here, in the original 66 Square Feet in Cobble Hill - funny, that post has an almost identical title.)

After a lavender hiccup (mistake, their roots needed more room) the windowboxes are fluffy with a yellow Agastache cultivar from the Gowanus Nursery, Nemesias that have not stopped flowering since spring (they are a wildflower from South Africa's Western Cape, in bloom there after wet winters, so it's fascinating that these can withstand intense New York humidity), and more South Africans: the daises are an Osteospermum, also planted in April. 

I made this warm salad that warm night by grilling tomatoes over coals, splashing them liberally with very good soy sauce (Ohsawa nama shoyu), adding crushed purple basil from the pot on the terrace, and a shredded sesame leaf (Perilla, but not the frilly shiso, which tastes a little different). 

Stuff? The pink sparkling wine is Graham Beck Brut rosé, a cold treat on a warm night. The kikoi is one of the endless collection that I stockpile after a South African trip (it's been 17 months, and counting) and the pillow covers I ordered online from A Love Supreme, also Cape Town-based. The ibis plates are from Anthropologie's discontinued Nature Table series designed by the whimsically wonderful artist Lou Rota (you can still find this series squirreled away on eBay).

So, there it is. Our oasis within Delta variant life.  Everything changes while it stays the same. We garden. we walk, we cook, we order in. Forage-picnics (for now) still happen, but proof of vaccination is required. We adapt, we wash our hands. We wait.


Next Walks? - 5th and 7th of August


  1. And so it goes...we order in or use curbside pickup, wait and hope and enjoy our Etiole Violette...the days go slow and yet here it is August already.

  2. Wow! What a heartwarming sight. Love the pictures. I am new to gardening and everything about it is really exciting me. I have bought small greenhouse kits to learn the use of that too.

  3. I've been watching a series on Acorntv.com... The Wine Show. One of the segments featured the wine a group of women in the township of Nyanga-East developed. The women began growing vines in their front yards.


    Pretty Amazing.

    This is about another South African woman starting a wine brand


  4. Hi Marie where do you buy your kikoi table clothes? They're gorgeous!

    1. Hi Bee - I don't remember where these came from. Possibly a shop at Noordhoek Village.


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