I just spent the holiday weekend purging books, magazines, and a bit of this and that from my living and work spaces. Since it was Thanksgiving here in Canada, we called it Purgegiving. Getting rid of books is difficult, but letting go of plants can be even more difficult. We humans can form attachments to inanimate objects, so it stands to reason that we might also form unlikely bonds with the living plants in our care. If it makes you feel better, I once left a very crispy lavender that was well past its due date in a pot for well over a month — and on my coffee table no-less — because I couldn’t truly accept that it was gone for good.
Last weekend I visited my friend Barry Parker, the man with the best backyard garden in Toronto. Barry recently returned from a botanical tour of South Africa (he is starting to post pictures on his blog) and we were treated to a slideshow of photos he took on the trip. So of course, I have added the Quiver Tree Forest to an ever-growing list of places I would like to visit someday.
Back to Barry’s garden. Unfortunately, I was lazy and did not bring a proper camera. As a result all of these photos were taken with my phone. Still, they may not be the best photos I have taken, but there are some wonderful things happening at Barry’s that I know you would like to see.
I love the idea of hot peppers much more than my body likes it when I eat them. For that reason I am always on the look out for what West Indians call “seasoning peppers.” That is, varieties that impart the flavour of hot peppers without the heat.* One of the best seasoning peppers that I have found is a beautiful, bright yellow-orange scotch bonnet aka habanero-type variety called ‘Trinidad Perfume.’
If you’ve been following my Instagram over these last weeks, you will have noticed that I have gone out foraging for apples with a friend on a couple of occasions. In that time I have received a few requests for more info, i.e. how I do it, what are the subtle “rules” to forage by. I thought I’d answer some of those questions and talk about my experiences foraging in the city.
Recently, my friend Margaret of A Way to Garden inquired about harvesting her first big bounty of tomatillos and turning them into salsa verde. If you grow your own tomatillos, late summer is when their papery husks start to plump up and split, signalling that they are ready for harvest. The fruit tends to ripen all at once (or very nearly), and when we spoke, I was just preparing to make up my own annual batch of sauce.