Comments: How does my garden grow?


Your terrace garden is lovely! I'll keep my fingers crossed for your violets; the blossoms are lovely in butters and goat cheese, in salads, and in omelets, too. This week my garden is filled with Johnny Jump-Ups, the tiny yellow-and-purple violets that grow everywhere in this part of southern New England.

Wow, Lydia, thanks for the tip! I actually only bought the violets out of nostalgia, not because I knew they are edible. I've been living in the city for over 20 years now, but have fond memories of picking them in the spring every year when I was a child. The same goes for lillies of the valley, which I have (unsuccessfully) tried to grow many times.

Ah, and lilies of the valley grow like weeds here. We use them for ground cover, because they are prolific and the deer don't like them (maybe they're poisonous?).

A woman in one of my cooking groups gave me a great tip for something new to try in my herb garden, and this should work really well on a terrace, too. Separate the cloves of a head of garlic that has already begun to sprout -- the heads that always end up on the bottom of the garlic basket and send out green shoots before you realize it. Use organic or other unprocessed garlic. Take each clove and stick it in the ground (or a pot), with the green sprout just above the surface. In 60-90 days, you'll have garlic scallions (green garlic). They look like scallions but taste like garlic! Harvest before the cloves begin to form into garlic heads, and when the greenery above ground looks just like a scallion. I'm trying it this year for the first time.

Lydia, my grandmother's house was surrounded by lillies of the valley, which is why I'm nostalgic about them. She used to call me when they were in bloom so I could come over and pick them. Unfortunately, here they force them in greenhouses so that they are all in bloom on May 1st - for some reason they are traditionally offered on that day and that day alone. I think that's why they immediately wither as soon as I plant them. Also, I'm not sure whether they actually do well in planters. I've put them in a nice deep one this time but they don't seem happy. So we shall see!

As for the garlic, I have indeed tried growing it a few times. Actually I can get the garlic you describe at the market this time of the year and made a very nice garlicky chicken stew with it recently!

Beautiful! I am envious :)

Oh, lovely! Keep posting updates on the tomatoes--I really want to see how that business of growing them upside down works. I may have to give it a shot next year.

Lilies of the valley are poisonous, btw. They smell lovely, but they are not for eating.

Violets and violas (Johnny-jump-ups) and pansies, nasturtiums, roses, daylilies and bergamot flowers are all edible and beautiful.

It all looks lovely, Meg. Keep up the great work!

Oh, and balloon flower is platycodon.

Barbara, thanks for the warning about the lillies of the valley. Providing they survive (which is by no means certain at the moment) I'll keep a sharp eye on the boy around them. Not that he's shown any tendency to eat any of the plants yet, but once he sees me picking tomatoes and strawberries he may get the idea!

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