Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Garden Rambles

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt,
head in the sun, heart with nature.
To nurture a garden is to feed
not just on the body, but the soul.
-Alfred Austin

I looked and looked for my (pre-garden) garden pictures this weekend and finally found them. They are still in roll-of-film form, having predated my digital camera days. I delivered them, along with SIX other rolls of early Freeman House film I'd forgotten, to the developers yesterday. But they're coming. The horror show is coming!

It's fitting, I guess, that I spent Earth Day weekend in the garden. Saturday, as promised, I did the leg and back work no one likes doing but needs to be done. I pulled weeds and prepped for the gravel patio. (Tomorrow I'm going to share with you my Earth Day plan for building an organic gravel patio/oasis for less than $20. Really. It's pretty cool.) After unloading, moving, and spreading 750 pounds of gravel by myself, I was ready to start apartment hunting. (Just kidding.) But I was ready to do something a little less labor-intensive.

So I wired an outdoor light. Er... that is to say, I took two super-cheap lighting components and recycled them to make a patio light. That's it, above. I used a votive candle chandelier that hung in my condo in Dallas and wired it to an old, rusted floor lamp. The glass cups can now be filled with votive candles... or sand or gravel and taper candles... to light my outdoor patio in the evenings. (And before someone suggests rewiring the lamp for indoor use, let me say I tried. But after throwing a breaker - twice - I relegated it to the great outdoors. Plus, I needed an energy-free outdoor light. Two birds, my friends.)

Otherwise, I didn't get as much accomplished outdoors as I'd hoped. The weather has been very unpredictable lately, so Sunday afternoon was spent working on the sitting room. It's getting pretty, and I am determined to post pictures next week. Maybe Friday, if the paint dries in time. It's really an exciting spring at Freeman House. So much going on. So much I'm learning. So much to write about!

And so much happening in the garden. First, the edibles. The strawberries and blackberries have to be picked almost daily. It's amazing to me... novice that I am... to be able to toss organic, homegrown strawberries in my cereal each morning or blackberries in my salad at night. I got my plants directly from Nourse Farms, and I can't recommend them enough. If you're thinking of planting any berries, even if it's just one plant in a patio pot, check them out.

The squash and zucchini now have blossoms. They wave in the wind, making the squash patch look like an ever-shifting yellow rainbow. I've never tried fried squash blossoms, but I was thinking of giving it a go soon. Anyone have a good recipe?

Ditto for fried green tomatoes.

And of course, the flowers. I started so many this year from seed that it's great to have roses and gerber daisies to supply color while everything is being established. I read recently of this organization called Friends With Flowers. Are you familiar with them? I love the concept and think we need a local chapter. Besides, by June I'll probably need to be giving most of these pretties away! But I refuse to stop planting. Just look at these. I mean, can you ever have too many flowers?

Nah, I don't think so either.

Gosh... so much going on and so much to share. Isn't now a great time to be a blogger? (And a flea market/garage saler... and a gardener... and a fried-green tomato frier...)


Anonymous said...

i have a recipe and i'll email it to you during lunch. i cant wait for your patio illustration! connie

RoseMary said...

Everything looks fantastic, Brin! What a great job you are doing. Now, I could kick myself for not putting out strawberry plants this year--oh, well, maybe next year! I am really looking forward to the $20 gravel patio--sounds interesting.

Rhoda said...

Congrats on getting in the dirt this weekend. Looking forward to seeing more pics from you. Love your vegetable garden....that's great that you're tackling that by yourself too. We planted squash this year, along with our tomatoes & herbs. Can't beat fresh!

Southern Hospitality

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see all your pics. Just can't wait!!! Auntie M

Sue said...

I LOVE that lamp, what a neat idea!! I can't wait to hear about the $20 patio! If only we could take a virtural tour of Freeman House, that would be so neat, till then keep the photos coming!

Littlepenpen said...

Sounds like you had a very busy weeekend and I LOVE fried green tomatoes! You asked about the dress patterns I am embroidering. They were offered free last year, but now have to be purchased. If you want copies of my patterns, I'll be glad to mail them to you; just let me know.

Deb said...

Wonderful post and quote! I love your patio lamp - what a great idea! Looking forward to seeing more garden photos.

smilnsigh said...

Great patio light idea!!! Hope for pics with candles lit.