Summer in the Garden
Summer has kicked in full force here in the garden. It’s still a work in progress, and I’m very much on a learning curve with it. Every year I try something new, just to see if it can grow in this specific climate zone. Some might be veggies or varieties I haven’t had before. Not all are successful, but many are.
Here in the Deep South there tend to be a predictable array of traditional vegetables, and locals are generally not experimental. In almost any backyard garden and farmer’s market you are going to see tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, squash, peas, and okra. I have most of those things growing too, but this year I decided to try some new plants, for example:
- Tuscan kale and red Malabar spinach for their heat-tolerant reputations. Not many Southerners like beets, but we love them. I’m growing two colors of beets – red and golden — and surprisingly they’ve held up in the heat. I have long purple Asian eggplant, plus the old-time white egg-shaped variety.
- In addition, I have some of the cutest little white cucumbers, aptly titled “miniature white.” I still long for asparagus, but haven’t quite gotten the courage to go for it yet. But I did plant some artichokes from seed, which are about a foot tall now. I’ve been told that in colder climates they are an annual, but being in a borderline zone, I might be able to get them to winter over.
- The lima beans are another experiment. We ordered some very large white lima beans called King of the Garden. I didn’t know they were a vining variety until we got them. So I planted them at the ends and around the edges of several of the beds, some with trellises and some just with plastic fencing for support. Now the vines are taking over the entire beds, reaching out to grab each other in the walkways, and trying their best to cover the peppers and eggplants. (See picture just above the beet on a plate.)
- My son mailed me some seeds for Fijian okra, which he says gets huge tender pods on tall stalks. Those are growing well, but still small. They won’t really take off until well into July.
Here’s a small composite of what the garden looks like right now. The first one is the newly-weeded flower bed. Yes, I had help! And the bottom one, which I didn’t previously mention, are Yukon Gold potatoes in bags.
In the garden just like the rest of my life, I like to shake things up a little bit. So how is this connected with art? Attitude is the connection. The desire to push through known boundaries, always trying something new and slightly exotic. The willingness to experiment and just see what happens. Starting things, watching them grow and develop, seeing which ones have promise and which ones are best left to someone else. Which ones are “me” and which ones are “not me.”
And now the art . . .
At times like these, I’m happy for collage breaks. Here are a couple of new ones. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.