Garden Tour 2015

IMG_9733A few people have been asking me how the garden is this year. Here’s an abridged tour of the Vicar’s backyard from this past spring, and now summer.

Last fall, I planted five (5!) different kinds of garlic – each with an obscure name. Here’s my very accurate and detailed planting map:IMG_9683

Four of the five varieties produced beautiful, full cloves, most with pretty red and purple stripes. My harvest is now drying and curing in the shed.IMG_9716


I only planted one tomato plant (it’s just as well, with the chilly summer we’ve had), but I filled a bed with strawberry plants this year. This first spring only a handful of berries appeared, but there will be many more next spring (fingers crossed).IMG_8758

I planted fava beans for the first time, too. It’s fun to grow things you can’t find in stores. Fava beans have the most interesting looking flowers.IMG_8755

They take some work to shell, boil, and then de-skin but I thought it was kind of interesting work to do, feeling the beans in my hands. There was only a bowlful, too – a bushel might have been tiresome.IMG_9478

I tossed them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, fresh mint, and red pepper flakes and piled them on toast with parmesan cheese and some lettuce. Yum.IMG_9491Maybe I’ll grow two bowlfuls next year?

I replanted some of my favorite annuals – basil, jalapeños, nasturtiums, and sunflowers. I planted 12-foot sunflowers – but the rabbits ate every last seedling. The eight footers came up just fine (why?).IMG_9727

I also like to plant the annual herb, borage. It’s a strange little plant with hairy stems, prickly leaves, and the most beautiful star-like blue flowers. You can sprinkle the flowers on salads – they taste a little peppery.IMG_9729


Perennials are good friends and old favorites. Especially prairie natives, like coneflower, black-eyed Susan, and daylilies. They sing Summer! to me.IMG_9722



For the second year in a row, we have a volunteer gourd vine springing forth from our compost bin. Last year, two crept most of the way across the yard and along the fence. In the fall, they produced a couple dozen gourds. Our neighbor is letting one of them grow through our fence and across his yard this year, too. (“Gourd fences make gourd neighbors”???)IMG_9726

My garden sometimes seems like a bit of a mess, but it’s nice to see things come up, bloom and flourish, and finally die down — everything taking its turn with the season. We like to sit out there with coffee or wine, depending on the time of day, and take it all in.IMG_9443