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Saturday, June 12, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The sun finally came to Portland! And I'm thrilled to announce that the forecast looks promising. I think we're out of the woods.

I was skeptical this morning when I expected to wake up to sun streaming in my window and instead woke up to panicked scratching at my door (Sunny) and an overcast sky. But I refused to succumb to despondency and went to the farmer's market. If you've never been to the PSU farmer's market I'll share a little about the layout. It's located on the park blocks in front of the university downtown. Huge trees shade it almost entirely. So it wasn't until I left that I noticed the clouds had cleared entirely and we had blue skies. And not blue like this:

Which was enough blue to get me excited earlier this week (view from my office window). But true, I saw a mountain on the horizon today for the first time since April, I think summer is actually well underway, that doesn't have even the slightest tint of gray in it, blue. Which makes me turn my attention to another color, green, and the myriad things being cultivated in my backyard at this moment.

We (my roommates and I) built four 4' x 6' boxes in our backyard early in March. We dug, we sifted, we chased out neighborhood cats and we purchased a cubic yard of 4-way (compost, top soil, manure, and something else, I can't remember right now).

We also wore schnazzy bucket hats, mud boots and garden gloves, like so:

Sadly, it was much sunnier and warmer in March than it was in May...

Mother's Day weekend I purchased lettuce, tomatoes, sugar snap peas and basil and after about a month, this is what I've got:

I also made a visit to my absolute favorite shoppe in Portland last weekend: Portland Garden Nursery at SE 50th and Stark. I spent almost $60 (yikes!) on annuals for my flower basket. As per usual I bought about three times as much as I needed and therefore had enough to fill this other pot.

I'm aiming to match my glory days - my flowers on my back porch my first summer in my second apartment in Chicago. I remember sitting on the El on my way home from work and hearing people comment on them. "Did you see that porch!? Those flowers were beautiful! Wouldn't it be lovely if everyone who lived along the red line planted flowers like that! It would make my commute so much more enjoyable." On a number of occasions these comments were directed at me and sometimes I said, "Yeah, that's actually my porch." To which my fellow El riders would congratulate me on my green thumb and tell me how they'd never managed to keep even a basic houseplant alive. I would swagger home, pretty pleased with myself after such encounters.

So I've planted bacopa, two different potato vines, marigolds, portulaca, petunias, cosmos, creeping Jenny, some tall stringy bugger with purple flowers on it (I can't remember its name, maybe salvia though), coleus, geraniums and verbena.

Someday, I would like to have a garden from which I could make bouquets like so:

It's shocking to me that this is only $20! Having worked in a flower shop that sold combinations like this for upwards of $50, this seems like such a deal!

I really love the gardening frenzy that has swept the younger generation here in Portland. I'm hoping that by summer solstice (which I'm hoping to mark with a fabulous garden party) I can make a huge salad with my greens. By the time my family comes in August, I'm hoping for big tomato salads, tomatoes on toast, salsa, etc.

So how am I enjoying today's sunshine, you ask? I'm sitting inside, watching the US v. England game. Somehow now that the forecast is less grim, I'm feeling less of an urgency to spend every dry second out of doors. Weird how that works.


In short:

I discovered yesterday: that when driving to Opal Creek on a cloudy day I like to sing sad Gillian Welch songs on the top of my lungs. When driving home from Opal Creek on a sunny day I like to sing this on the top of my lungs:

Dog hair covers approximately 77% of my life (but it's cleaning day!).

Sauvie Island strawberries are ripe. I will be picking and eating them tomorrow.

Summer is not a time for dramatics. It is a time for gelato and vuvuzelas.

I would very much like a vuvuzela to call my own.

My life in a nutshell: ebullient

1 comment:

  1. so glad I caught up on your blog today! I was seriously considering colorizing my bookshelves and then the gap that already separates us would have grown larger...yikes! ;)
    I too planted raised bed gardens this summer. hope yours turned out better than mine. turns out, I like the idea of being rurally domestic more than I actually enjoy being so!
    love you, girl!