I’m bringing back the Daily Botanical feature. Since I stopped doing them regularly I have sorely neglected to write about the new and interesting plants that I am growing or run into in my travels. It feels like the right time to bring them back.
The Sinningia you see in bloom here was the topic of a Daily Botanical dating back to September 16, 2010. It is only because I have this record that I now know that it blooms annually literally to the date.
I’m on a staycation of sorts. The last month and a half was overbooked and I’m exhausted. Burned out. Frazzled. Fried. I am trying to relearn that there is nothing noble or brag-worthy about working yourself to the bone at the expense of your health and wellbeing.
There is much gardening and preserving to do. My poor garden has suffered. It is an overgrown jungle. It is a bit of a mess and needs to be refreshed. I had visitors yesterday and spent the entire time apologizing for the state of the garden. Feelings of embarrassment and even shame lingered long after they had left. You could say that I too am a bit of a mess and in need of refreshment.
Clockwise from Top Left: 1. The first thing I did after friends left yesterday was pull out a giant cosmos that had seeded itself at the edge of a pathway. This photo does nothing to show scale. The thing was a multi-tennacled beast. I have a tendency sometimes to hold onto plants that demonstrate resiliency and determination, even when they are a total pain in the ass and need to go. There I go again, always rooting for the underdog. 2. So far I have spent the first morning of Operation Get My Brain Back taking photos of tomatoes and seeds that I am saving. Sounds like work (it is technically), but it is enjoyable, pleasurable, creative work and so I’m allowing it as a way to ease into a week of slowing down that I hope will eventually end in doing nothing. The tomatoes is in this photo are ‘Mennonite Orange.’ 3. A still life portrait of my kitchen this morning. The yellow enamel container in front holds radish seedpods; the basket contains tomatoes that need to be preserved or photographed; that’s edible chrysanthemum in the vase at the back. It too had grown into an unruly mess. I put the cuttings in a Mason jar vase to keep it fresh until I get a chance to cook it. 4. I bought a bunch of plants yesterday at the fall Ontario Rock Garden Society sale at the Toronto Botanical Garden. I purchased several plants gleaned from members’ gardens; however, those in this photo were all purchased from one vendor, Wrightman Alpines. I am planning to expand my Dry Bed this fall by removing a bunch of irises that are taking up space at the edge. I am so excited to have found two hardy agave to try out there this winter!
Assorted and Sundry
- Hey Toronto! I’ll be signing books at Word on the Street this Sunday, September 23 from 4-4:45pm at Queen’s Park Circle in the Toronto Botanical Garden booth. If you’ve never been, Word on the Street is a national magazine and book festival that celebrates reading, literature, and Canadian authors. It is a yearly must for people who love to read. Hope to see you there!
- My final article for HGTV Gardens was published on Friday. It is a quick and dirty seed-saving how-to. My previous article was on easy care yet cool houseplants for college students.
Again you are looking at last week’s photo, shot just before I took off for a road trip to teach a workshop at Margaret Roach’s garden in the Berkshires. The garden was fairly unruly and overgrown before I left, but nothing like it is right now. Total mayhem! I’m not exaggerating. Even the dog doesn’t know what to make of the obstacle course out back.
The hot peppers are in their prime, the late season tomatoes are ripening faster than I can use them, the sun is setting earlier in the evening (no more gardening until 10pm) and even the tomatillos are not far now. All of the hallmarks of the September garden have arrived. I am trying my best this year to enjoy it as-is without fretting about summer’s end.