Friday, February 8, 2008

Exit Tears, Enter Terra Cotta

I don't want to be inside today. I've been inside for two days, in the same pajama pants, listening to this song . Always this song. For two days. For crying out loud, someone get this girl out to the garden and give her a shovel.

Or maybe get her to the potting table and give her a spade. Yeah. We could work on the container garden. We could stretch out under the sun and get our fingers dirty and breathe in all the green and sigh very loudly.

Sounds nice. Let's do that.

I went to Dallas Wednesday. While I was there I stopped at Calloway's. If your journey ever takes you to Dallas, stop at the Calloway's on Greenville Avenue. It's my favorite green place in Big D, next to the Farmer's Market and the Arboretum. The orchid aisle will take your breath away.

While at Calloway's, I found some unusual herbs. Coconut Thyme? I have English Thyme and Lemon Thyme and Creeping Thyme, but who knew there was Coconut Thyme? Not me. It tastes very... Caribbean. I think it would be nice with chicken. Or maybe risotto... a coconut milk risotto. Or something like this, although I would never, ever make it, scared to death as I am of seafood ever since I threw up on a U. S. Senator after eating shrimp that one time.


Oh, and there were new (to me) varities of mint. A Candy Mint. (That's it... in the bottom right of the picture above.) Member of the spearmint family. It's sweet and yummy. I'm tucking one into a pot and hoping the other goes crazy in a partially sun/slightly damp area of my garden. Then, when I'm working in the garden, I could leave a note on the front door that says: In the Candy Mint patch. Come on back. And that would be a charming sign to come across, wouldn't it?

A lot of interested folks ask where I get my plants. Truth is, I buy very few actual plants, preferring to start many things from seed. Seed Savers is a favorite of mine. So is Pinetree Garden Seeds. If it's berries you're wanting, you won't beat Nourse Farms. And of course, digging around your local feed store or garden center is always productive. Yes, if you have the time and patience, gardening from seed is ideal. It's cheaper, for one, and when you buy seed you have access to a whole new world of heirloom and hard-to-find varities. And if it doesn't work... if the tomatoes are sour or the flowers are sickly or the herbs fry in the heat... you've lost... what? A dollar and a quarter?

Besides, when you start things from seed you get to buy all the Italian terra cotta pots. Even discount stores have them. For another dollar or two, you can hold a piece of Italy in your hands. For those of us who won't be getting to Tuscany any time soon, that'll have to do.

Most of the pots I have are very new... with the exception of the three big ones I found underneath Freeman House. But you'd never know it by looking at them. Here's the trick: whenever you bring pots home from the store, remove their stickers and rub them down with moist dirt. I mean, scrub them with damp potting soil. Then fill them with soil for a week or two. Water them. Kick them around. Slather others with expired yogurt or buttermilk and let them sit in the shade for a few weeks. Water those and kick them around, too. Then let time and moisture do the rest. It all sounds violent and cruel, I know, but it works. Take that one in the upper right corner of the picture below. I just got it last March and it was shiny terra cotta new. I gave it a buttermilk bath and it already has that aged look I love.

What is it about being in the garden... about soft, green plants and heat-baked pots and dark, loamy soil and sunshine... that can quiet even the most battered and raging of hearts?

I'm not sure what it is, but I'm grateful for it. So thanks, Lord, for our pots and our gardens - however and wherever they may be. And today, please...

Grant me, O Lord, a sunny mind -
Thy windy will to bear.
-Emily Dickinson


Lindy said...

Speaking of terra cotta pots... I saw the cutest bird bath made from terra cotta pots on HGTV the other night! Here's a link to instructions on how to make one:

The one on TV was painted, and the host glued some pretty, tiny glass tiles around the rims of the pots. But I'm sure a more weathered, rustic-looking one would be gorgeous as well.

I currently live in a condo... but when hubby and I buy a house... I will be sure to make one of these birdbaths!

Anonymous said...

if i listened to PG all day i'd probably be running out to a garden somewhere too. comeon Brin, all this over Clopton???? it is Clopton isn't it?? you could do worse with so much better. he's so so SO not worth it.

Sizzle said...

i've been stuck on patty griffin this week. love that song. i tend to listen to a song on repeat and cry my eyes out. somehow the repeat of the song comforts me.

hope being out in the sun with your hands in the soil helps.

Pamela said...

Oh, Brin you really know how to garden... I absolutely love herbs, had a Herb Farm years ago... Another mint to try is Chocolate Mint. One for drying is Mountion Mint, Awesome... I have lots of heirloom seed. I just might have to share... Have a Fabulous Friday, Pamela (Shoppe Keeper)

Anonymous said...

anonymous: downplaying someone's pain doesn't make it any less real. :(

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh I love old pots that look all grimy and mossy. I once made a blendered concoction of moss and yogurt and scattered it on my garden path. I may have too far with that one because now my entire west lawn is more moss than grass. Oh well, it's green and velvety.

Have you ever seen what Dawn at the Feathered Nest does to old statuary? You can find it right HERE on January 18.

Have a happy day in the garden!

Rebecca said...

Ok, I know what I'm doing this weekend. I have spring fever so bad! Its still cool in the north Georgia mountains but I bet its spring time at my local Garden Center. :)

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Herbs, your after my heart now! I've never heard of coconut thyme or candy mint, both sound yummy! Have a great sunny weekend!

Anonymous said...

Brin, when most girls are hurt they get nasty but you, you give gardening tips. Youre beautiful and smart and I will marry you tomorrow and make you forget all about this loser whoever he is. Whatdoya say? Are you busy tonight? Cory (I think you have my number, use it)

Jenny said...

I'm getting the itch to garden now, too. I'm definitely planting more moonflowers this year. Time to find pots, too!

Jenny in VA

Gigibird said...
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Teresa @ PlumWater Cottage said...

Beautiful plants...I can smell them from here! I'm so craving spring when I can dig in the dirt and smell the amazing herb scents.