I finally remembered yesterday to harvest my sweet potatoes - of which I now have a small pile of, and will consume over the coming week. I roasted a few last evening, and they melted like butter as I ate them. Both freshly dug potatoes and sweet potatoes are quite different in texture when freshly dug, and always a treat.
In the fall garden thus far: swiss chard, tuscan kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, mixed lettuces and collards.
I moved into my place in the Summer of 1994 - and my one acre consisted of a few large clumps of pampas grass, six live oaks, a small (relatively speaking) southern magnolia, a fledgling water oak (which I should have cut down when I could) and a Camellia japonica 'Debutante'. There was also a lot of grass - grass that I've been slowly getting rid of ever since I moved in. During a recent visit to Virginia, I found this photograph that I had sent my parents - and I scanned it in. I think it's one of the few 'before' photographs that I have of my place.
One of the first gifts I received after moving in were three bald cypress saplings - one is shown in the image above after almost two years of growth (on the left, in front of the southern magnolia). You can also see a clump of pampas grass in the back left corner - and in front of it is a southern magnolia. Then there is me - mowing, as I always felt like I was doing back then.
Twelve years later the same corner looked like the image below. The southern magnolia is huge (it fills that corner, and has long since shaded out the pampas grass). In front of the magnolia, on the left side of the image - is what once was the bald cypress sapling. A river birch was added - it was probably only a few feet tall when it was planted. I love it in the fall, it provides a hint of fall color - and I'll take any fall color that I can get.
Then there's everything else (including, in the image below on the right, a pile of old butterfly bushes I was cutting down). Now - there's even less grass, something that I'm pretty happy about. Chaos is probably the ruling design principle - but that's okay. For the past week, there's been a screaming barn owl high up in the live oaks, and everytime I take a dog out late at night or early in the morning, it lets us know that he's out there. If you haven't heard the scream of a barn owl, well, you're missing something. After jumping off the ground and going through all of the viable alternate scenarios (e.g., a supernatural being has taken up residence in the live oaks and wants me to leave) - you feel pretty lucky to have such a noble visitor in the garden. This morning, after he screamed (and I jumped) - I saw him fly off. He's probably back tonight, sitting in a live oak, as I type this.
Today I received the best kind of 'care package' in the mail - one with plants! Inside the box were Iris germanica 'RIP City' (a tall carmine-colored bearded iris) and Iris germanica 'Orange Harvest' (a beautiful orange reblooming bearded iris). The irises were from my Mother's younger sister (my aunt) - she and I always admired my Mother's iris bed, and have been trying to catch her orange bearded iris in bloom (unsuccessfully - we think some of the irises have gone the way of many a neglected garden). These are now planted in my own garden - fingers crossed that they bloom next year.
~photograph of Marchesa boccella (a 1842 Hybrid Perpetual, image taken on 11 May 2013)~
I had a new experience on Friday evening (4 October) - I was the featured artist (I'm using the word loosely here!) at my friend's gallery, Limeblue. I've printed out very few of my photographs before - but for the show I printed out 15 photographs (taken in Virginia and South Carolina) and framed them. I learned a number of things in the process... I learned that different images look best at different sizes (and for the most part, bigger is better). I learned that good paper is important (Rick Rhodes Photography did a wonderful job printing out the photographs), and that anti-glare glass is worth the extra money (half were done with, half were done without). Mostly, I learned that if I ever do this again, I'll have to be more savvy regarding the framing.
But it was fun - fun to see folks I haven't seen in a long while, and fun to do something that forced me to print out a few images and learn something.