Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Garden Magic

Tis the season of planting, pruning, weeding, cleaning, and high hopes. This year for Mother's Day, my 15-year old son got me a hanging strawberry planter because we ripped out our strawberry bed two years ago (they weren't producing anymore and we wanted the space for pickling cucumbers) and I have been pining for my favorite fruit ever since. Not that I haven't enjoyed strawberries in two years, but there is nothing like picking your own homegrown strawberries and downing them still warm from the sun.

Anyway, I planted 15 strawberry plants in this hanger--5 per level. You add a bit of dirt, then shove the root end in through the hole, then add dirt and repeat. The strawberry plants seem to love their new home. Usually plants get a bit droopy just after they're planted, but these have remained perky since being planted in "their deluxe apartment in the sky." I wonder whether I will have enough to share with my JASNA group at our "Strawberries at Donwell Abbey" meeting in June.

My husband put in most of the rest of our garden this year--the peas, garlic, onion, spinach, and lettuce went in about a month ago, and are looking pretty good, though our spring has been pretty cool with some nights still dipping into the low 30's F. This week he put in the tomatoes, peppers, squash, and eggplant, and we just got new herbs for the deck (thyme, sage, oregano, parsley, and basil). We also planted potatoes in bags this year--our soil is so heavy with clay that they've never done well for us, even in beds that are heavily composted yearly.

Now on to books...I pulled out Crazy About Gardening, Humorous Reflections on the Sweet Seductions of a Garden, by Des Kennedy, former monk and avid gardener. It's okay (I got it for Xmas)--his sense of humor is a bit thin, but I did find one part worth earmarking in the little bit I've read so far.

Gardeners, after all, are dabblers in magic, comrades with wizards and witches, magicians and alchemists. They are shrouded in mysteries, poring over their cabalistic catalogues, puzzling out the riddles of rhizomes, deciphering the runes on rutabagas. Their ways are as inscrutable as the arcane twistings of wisteria, as enigmatic as hens and chicks.

From there, the prose gets a bit purple, sort of like what a young Anne Shirley would have written, but I liked the notion of gardening being like magic. You bury a gnarled bulb and you get a gorgeous flower. You bury a bit of potato and get a whole crop. Sort of like the miracle of loaves and fishes, if you ask me.


  1. What a clever little hanger, I imagine the Strawberries also receive more sunlight. I dabbled in gardening a teeny bit before but no longer have a garden but I plan to have a few small potted plants on my balcony. Best wishes for those strawberries and the vegetables you and your family planted!

  2. Jane you are so lucky to have a big garden! I would love to be able to grow veg but alas, no room! So much for living in a cottage eh. I think theres something in what Des Kennedy says about the 'alchemy' of gardening, plants have always been shrouded in mystery by the 'wise' women. I love those medicine knot gardens.
    Just started 'Hawksmoor' by Ackroyd, takes a bit of getting into because of the Olde Englishe language, but I have the hang of it now and will review.

  3. I fancy a hanging strawberry hanger, it sounds like my sort of gardening. I agree that gardening is like magic, my difficulty is that it's also back-breakingly hard work - all that digging etc.

  4. What a great strawberry hanger. I have been considering getting one. I saw them at Fred Meyer last week and considered it. Seeing yours in action now I think I just might have to go back and get it.

  5. I have only seen the tomato versions of these hanging planting systems. I love the idea of a strawberry one. Next year I'll have to look for one!