Monday, September 14, 2015

Meditations on Visionary Gardening, Philadelphia, Summer 2015

Branch & Wood Garden Art. The sculpture with the shells is a creation of a neighbor who lives two blocks north. I couldn't believe the beauty of his work as I happened to pass by his house. He sat peacefully on the porch, while I got out of my car. As I walked to the sidewalk to begin a tour, he gets up and comes to the porch railing to tell me that he'll give me a good price. I left with several sculptures and a chair. 

                                                                          Gardening, Summer 2015
My daughter and I are in dialogue about how things are going to shift next year. We are going to focus more on the greens- kale, turnips, collards, salad greens- and I'm going to give broccoli another try.

Lucinato and purple leaf kale. What's amazing about these greens, including the swiss chard that's all gone now, is that if the leaves are cut off about 1/2" from the root stalk, the greens will continue to grow. It's September and I've had kale for 2 months. It freezes up nice too.

The kale was grown in a keyhole garden that I structured last year. In the center, I dug a hole, that serves as a composting bin. I'm reading about the exact ratios of leaves and scraps that make for ideal compost. 

In the keyhole garden next to the kale is rue, planted last year. It has more than tripled in size. This herb is used in cleansing rituals. I have another in the front sidewalk bed. I figure my house is protected. On Pinterest, I found this, "The Romans call it "Mars Herb" because it can be as fierce as the god Mars. It is known to relieve pain, colic and to improve appetite and digestion." 

In the keyhole garden between the kale and the rue are two types of tarragon, a dark and light green variety. I used them in a marinade for turkey chops, and then grilled them. The aroma was amazing, and the taste, incomparable! These herbs are perennials, so they'll be back next year. 

Gardening, in this time, in this period, I've discovered is multi-dimensional: it is a form of protest, it is an act of rebellion, but more than all of that, it is one of the ways in which we can shift how we are living on this planet. 

Three years it has taken me to remove all the grass from my yard, front and back (I'll begin on the side sometime next week). During the past three years, I have taken/am taking in everything that I can about the urban gardening movement and permaculture. In all honestly, I have had to take a serious look at my time. 

Gardening, on this scale, the scale where you eat what you grow, and you try to grow as much as you can of what you eat, is not a couple of days a week. Weeding is three or four times per week, given the size of the back and front gardens. Pruning, watering (especially during the dry spells, and we've had some dry spells in Philly this summer), staking, these are daily. Throwing in the harvesting time for some plants, like the fig tree I planted 2 years ago, seed planting, canning, the gardening season begins around March and extends into November. 

I have never been in Philly when the figs are ready. So as of next year, I will stick around, waiting until about November, to begin my migration to Mexico. I'll be making fig paste and fig and brandy preserves.

Then there are the tomatoes! Tomatoes! And more tomatoes! I grew two heirloom varieties of which I will repeat next year, the purple cherokees and  the yellow zebras. But the cherry tomatoes I will forgo next year.

What else? Cucumbers galore. I have been drinking cucumber, apple and ginger most mornings for the past month or so. I feel great! I went out one morning with the intention of cleaning the cucumber bed because I thought they were all finished, and this is what I discovered hiding behind the vines that had wrapped themselves around the gates of the garden entrance. 

Jalapenos (excuse the lack of accent), yellow wax beans, mojito mint (will come back next year), Thai red peppers (used a couple to season a mess of greens and some green, purple and yellow beans). When those purple beans hit the heat, they turn green.

Finally, there's the front sidewalk bed of thyme, rosemary, and in the front yard, lavender, oregano, sage and valerian! 

Lots of flowers from seed this year, and a little more focus on one of my favorites places of my sanctuary, the porch. 

Purple, spicy basil. Robust flavor.

Last year I cleared the grass under the side wall, that borders the driveway. The purple grass didn't make it through the harsh winter, so I had to find something else suitable for the area. 

Well I'm participating in a show coming up in December that requires 5 more pieces. I suppose I can focus on them now. I know that I haven't posted "here" since April, since we lost "Athelstan," (The Vikings).  There are two other publications on my plate,  the workplace blog and the ezine. It's a handful, but I love it.  
Oh! By the way, if you're into new earth consciousness stuff at all, I would recommend a book that I just finished. Charles Eisenstein's The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible. Fucking brilliant! Inspirational, motivational and right on point. I enjoyed every chapter. What else am I reading? The Way of Mastery, a thorough review of topics covered in ACIM and ACOL. I'll settle down this fall and start focusing on that 4th book that I wanted to finish last year. The Sessions in Shifting should be completed within the next couple of weeks, and I've decided to offer them for free. 

All and all,  I'm on it and the Source is with me. Always. Eternally.

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