Friday, May 21, 2010

A Soggy Spring

It's raining here in Oregon--shocking, I know--and though I'm more than ready for some sunshine, I love what the rain is doing for my gardens, the vineyards, and all the crops. I grew up in the Southeast, so I'm used to lush vegetation, but this place is ridiculous. I've only ever seen this many shades of green in Ireland. One runs out of words to describe them.

So the garden is coming right along: the first strawberries have appeared, the spring bulbs have bloomed and gone, the rhododendrons are coming in waves, and the roses are just starting. I confess: I bought this house for the garden. It is the cottage garden I longed for during the long, barren years in Oklahoma, where the extreme weather and poor soil killed all but the most stubborn plants. Here, one can grow just about anything, except vegetables that require a lot of heat. My cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and basil have not prospered. But the roses make up for everything. And the irises. And the peonies. The hydrangeas. The rhodies. The clematis that bursts out in a shower of white blossoms enveloping the front porch at the end of February. The rosemary and lavender that grow like weeds. I adore it all so much. I have come to the conclusion that I am first and foremost an ornamental gardener. I mix in some herbs and peas in with the flowers; I have a bed of strawberries and several blueberry bushes that supply me with fruit for my morning yogurt and granola; and I always have to have a few heirloom tomatoes. However, when I have a limited amount of space, a CSA subscription, and two weekly farmers' markets in summer (one of these is year round), I see no need to expend a ridiculous amount of time and money--not to mention sweat and toil--attempting to grow vegetables I can buy locally. Support the farmers!

The name of this blog is a quote from Voltaire: "We must cultivate our garden." Do what is in front of us. Take care of things that are important. And always, always make time for flowers.

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