Tuesday, January 29, 2008


While on a North American Rock Garden Society meeting in the summer of 2007 I had the chance to see Deschampsia flexuosa (Wavy Hair Grass) in its native habitat as pictured above. I am always fascinated by the frequent contasts in appearance and behavior of plants in the garden (see below) and in the wild (see above).
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Monday, January 28, 2008


Deschampsia flexuosa (Wavy Hair Grass) is a fairly obscure native grass that I have enjoyed growing in my garden. It was slow to take, but as can be seen in the picture above it has begun to fill in nicely. It is notable in part because it is shade tolerant unlike most other grasses, and it forms short dense mats with pleasantly soft flower and seed heads. I saw a line drawing in William Robinson's The Wild Garden of peonies growing in a swath of grass. Maybe this Deschampsia can be that swath of grass for my peonies growing on the edge of the canopy of a silver maple.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fitting Homegrown Food into a Gardening Lifestyle

One aspect of synchronizing my garden with my day to day life that has proven to be a challenge for me is homegrown food utilization. I have never been much of a vegetable gardener, although I love to grow perennial foodstuffs like asparagus, apples, raspberries, and so forth. I am also rarely without tomatoes, but my challenge has always been in organizing my meals around food available in the garden. I will often forget that asparagus needs to be cut; I won't feel like eating what's ripe; or I will be in a hurry and not want to take the time to pick and/or process what's out there. The most memorable frustration along these lines was when my then spouse insisted on buying lettuce at the grocery store rather than walk forty feet to three rows of different lettuces she helped select.

Some successes have included raspberries and blueberries which are like picking candy to me, making fruit "leather" from apple sauce(my kids love it), growing potatoes and garlic which can be harvested all at once and stored, and drying cherry tomatoes to make so called sun dried tomatoes. (I use a dehydrator, not the sun alas.)

I am alert to new way of getting better satisfaction from the large surplus of food I grow. For example, this year I am keen on trying fingerling potatoes which may offer a bigger reward than the varieties of potatoes that are so amazingly inexpensive at the grocery store, but I am looking for more and better ideas.