It’s cold. So cold. I am a wimp. The days are growing shorter, and darker. My hands are like ice cubes almost all of the time. The days of fresh tomatoes and basil are coming to an end. Sweaters, warm socks, and months of dust are coming out from the back of the closet. My book manuscript, photos, and designs are due soon.
It’s getting cold enough at night now that most of my cold sensitive houseplants need to come back inside for the winter. This process takes time. Lots of time. It involves a lot of repotting, shifting, and rejigging my haphazard indoor growing situations (I can’t give these homemade contraptions a more formal description) to make room for my most beloved plants.
Now is the time when I am forced to make decisions about what stays and what simply can not be shoved into a window or underneath a light. Just how did I end up with 10 agave plants? I often wonder if the local cops have looked up at one of my south-facing windows and considered what goes on there. Surely no one would bother to put forth so much energy, time, and money into growing plants without a street value?
Davin jokes that I need a plantervention. Either that or more space and bigger windows.
One thing I do like about this time of year is taking the time to appreciate the great plants I am growing and seeing them in a new light after they’ve had months replenishing outdoors.
The first fruit on my friend Barry’s tree are starting to ripen and I managed, over the weekend, to collect a few from out of the clutches of the neighborhood squirrels. The fruit are ripe and optimal eating when they turn from green to bright red, and from hard to squishy. You should be able to squish the orange fruit from the centre easily. That happens to be just how I ate my bounty. The skin is unpleasant tasting. It looks like a lychee, with the texture of some of my favourite tropicals, sugar apple and sour sop. The insides are bright orange and soft, with a couple of hard pits. It tastes like papaya.
I’ve read that there is a lot of variation between trees and varieties, so if you have the chance, I’d suggest trying fruit from a sampling of trees. The fruit I ate are small but tasty. They are from a landscape tree that is bred for the flowers, not the fruit. But there are varieties with much larger fruit that are worth searching out if you’re looking for more than a light snack.
Our off-time on a recent trip to New York City was spent wandering around soaking everything in and taking pictures. I didn’t go out of my way to visit specific gardens or community gardens this time, but naturally found some along the way.
One of the community gardens I came upon was the LaGuardia Corner Gardens located in Greenwich Village between Bleecker and Houston Streets. I have come across this particular garden on past trips and have even taken some photos of it. I had a rough idea of where it was located and was pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon it on our last day.
I’m not sure what it is about this garden that had me hoping to find it again. Maybe it’s the location, which is particularly interesting as the garden sits smack dab in front of a supermarket with a fence around it.
There are several community gardens in New York City that are a good twenty years in the making. Through the years the landscape and socio-economic standing of the communities that surround them have changed, often times from poor to rich and from rubble to fancy metal and glass contemporary structures. As a result, these gardens and their gardeners always have an interesting story to tell.
The history of LaGuardia Corner Gardens is your typical community garden story beginning with local residents digging a garden on barren, unused land, then fighting to keep the garden alive amidst a changing neighborhood.
While I was taking photos, a woman came up to me and mentioned that a rooster had been spotted poking around in the garden the day before. She didn’t know where he came from or if he was still there. This exchange and information sharing is one of the things I enjoy most about photographing gardens. If you hang around long enough looking like you belong, someone is always bound to come by, eager to reveal the garden’s secrets.
Sure enough, as we made our way around the perimeter we eventually spotted him darting about, stopping now and again to take a bite out of a plant. I wonder if he is still there and how much of the garden remains!