It never fails! Though we’re called human beings, I’m feeling more being than human, and connected to creation, when I’m working in my garden. Time doesn’t exist in this space. I walk outside and hours pass before I notice. After returning inside I’m all new penny bright and shiny, feeling refreshed and part of something big. If you were to tour my garden, though, you’d see that it’s really quite small. Just big enough for one person to handle comfortably, separated into distinct parts.
The first part as you begin your tour is through Morning Glories Archway. To the left and around the corner, there’s Petunia Pot Place on the left and Pansy Park, on the right, followed quickly by Happy Hostas. To the right of Morning Glories Archway are more Morning Glories, trained this time on three black trellises, and finally there’s the potted “Thriller” .
“Thriller” is my favorite part, because it’s the part that got me started this year. For the past two years, I’d let the garden go. Looking one day this past April at my neglected perennial ferns, it seemed the perfect spot to place a large pot given to me by a friend, maybe a year ago. After planting the pot, I just got gardening fever and kept moving on. Across from my “Thriller” pot is my tomato and herb patch. It’s hard to believe how little the tomato plants were, and now this space is a riot of unruly branches. I just hope to get lots and lots of tomatoes.
In years past, the tomatoes have brought me stockpots of homemade marinara, and the basil has brought me pesto. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the lettuce spot, immediately across from “Thriller”. There I’ve got 9 little heads of lettuce, which continually give me salads all summer long. Though “heads” is not an accurate term here, for my lettuces have no heads; they are loose-leaved, and not tightly packed like a “head” of cabbage. The same goes for collard greens, and spring greens.
In the world of grasses, a “collar” is the term that refers to the structural part of the plant that is connective tissue, capable of growth. Though it’s said that the word “collard”, as in “collard” greens, is a bastard child of the term colewort, which means “cabbage plant”. I like to think that the word collard derived from “collar”, like grass’s collar, (and maybe it’s “collared”) because the lower leaves of collard greens can be harvested, leaving the growing bud and young leaves to produce more leaves, just like the grass plant. I know– I digress.
Back to lettuce and herbs. Well, anyone’s got the space and time for a little pot of lettuce, and an herb. Try basil. You can’t fail, and either of these grows very quickly. You can still harvest some of your own before summer’s over if you start soon. I recently read an article about the secret to the world’s best selling scent, Chanel No. 5. The author said the perfume was formulated in part from the smell of wet soil. Can you dig it? I can, and do everyday!
Here’s one of my favorite super quick salad dressings. Just mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey to taste in a jar. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder. Stir or shake well. I usually just mix this right over lettuce leaves and toss with my fingers. But to get you started, I measured this out for you; this makes about ¼ Cup, enough for 1 large salad or 2 medium salads, 2-3 servings:
Balsamic Salad Dressing
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Combine ingredients in container. Mix well and serve.