This spring, in a triumph of hope over experience, I planted vegetable seeds in the garden. Cool weather crops for the Oregon spring: peas, spinach, rainbow chard, radishes, and carrots. For my pains, I harvested three tiny radishes, two of then noshed on by slugs, three pods of very petit pois, and enough greens for a salad. One salad. Oh but les fleurs! Like me, my garden is primarily decorative and amusing, not practical or useful. As my brother says, "Face it, we're Eurotrash. All we can do is dress well and tell amusing anecdotes. Other than that, we have no useful talents." My garden may not be edible, but it is very decorative.
The English roses are in bloom! Oregon has to be the next best place to England for growing roses. They don't call Portland the Rose City for nothing. In the vineyards of the Willamette Valley, roses even serve a practical purpose: they act like canaries in the coal mine, showing signs of fungus or disease before the grapes are affected. Mine have only two purposes: being beautiful and smelling fantastic. Heritage, pictured above, does both. My favorite for fragrance, however, is Jude the Obscure:
Amazing scent: tea rose with touches of peach and lemon. Absolutely heavenly. And the name! I would have bought it for that alone. I'm waiting for another bush to go down with black spot so I can get a companion Tess of the d'Urbervilles rose. I generally don't care for red roses--so trite--but I might make an exception for Tess.
There is a reason why the Peace rose has been a favorite since its introduction after WWII: huge blooms on sturdy canes, dark glossy foliage, and a light fragrance. I don't like "hot" colors (bold yellow or oranges) in the summer garden, but the pale butter yellow tinged with pink at the tips is lovely.
Peonies and calla lilies, two very different but much loved blossoms, are also at the height of their beauty. The lily is perfection in its simplicity, while the peony proves that nothing succeeds like excess.
Shady paths and corners have their own attractions, though more subdued. There is the "vale of violets":
And of course, the cool charm of the cocktail corner, the perfect place to enjoy a G&T after a tough afternoon of deadheading roses and making a list of more strenuous gardening chores for my husband:
So in future, no more pathetic attempts at growing my own vegetables. That's what farmers' markets and CSAs are for. I'll just stick to what I know: being decorative and amusing.