Tag Archives: Asparagus

Out My Kitchen Window


How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Spring arrived in the Shenandoah Valley with balmy mildness in mid March and carried into early April. Glory days. Roses and other beloved perennials responded to the unseasonable warmth by leafing out–too soon. Raw wind blasted the vulnerable plants as I battled to cover them with blankets. Tender leaves suffered from hard frost. Sigh. On the brighter side, early vegetables escaped and the roses, delphinium, foxglove…are growing out.

Image of the hills and mountains behind our farm taken from the kitchen window on April 27th.

Virginia is headed into the third month of the quarantine, so heaven knows I’ve had ample time for garden projects. I’ve expanded my memorial garden and enclosed the addition with a low stone wall and wiggly Piggly fence, laboring over them for days. The whimsical fence is made from lengths of wood, including the special sticks Dad had saved to carve into canes, far more than he completed. I incorporated a few he’d worked on.

Other wood I gleaned from our farm, my folk’s place, and daughter Alison’s field above the creek, plus I repurposed objects and old metal. Everything is carefully chosen. Dad would heartily approve as he believed in recycling and making things yourself from materials at hand. I’ve also gathered worms and composted manure from the farm and added wheel barrow loads to my garden and beds.

(Wiggly Piggly garden fence with water feature made from an old metal tub. I added the solar fountain. Bunny statue below by my stone wall. Only the bunny wasn’t repurposed, and is from Wayfair.com  And yes, I own stock in the company. 🙂

Garden savvy folk probably know this, but seeds from online catalogues are selling out like mad. I’m a seed addict and have a large box filled with packs. Even so, I need to restock a few varieties and was challenged this morning in my efforts. Like many others, it seems, I’m choosing heirloom kinds that produce savable seed. These are especially sought after. I’m also avoiding local nurseries this year and starting many vegetables, herbs, and flowers on my sunspace.  So far, they’re sprouting well.

Image below of my spinach patch we’ve harvested from for weeks. I sowed the seed last fall and covered the patch over the winter, added compost when I uncovered it. The spinach has thrived, as has the asparagus pictured below. It’s been here decades. And seedlings on the sunporch below that.

In these uncertain times, people are putting in gardens more than ever. If you have any interest, best hop to it and get your seeds while there are any left. The garden world, like many others, has run mad. Seed and plant companies are sending out emails saying they’ve never seen anything like the deluge they’ve come under. Some have had to shut down, others are sold out and or experiencing shipping delays. Oddly enough, you’re more likely to find a rose bush for sale online than beet seeds. Who the heck knew this was coming?

Not me.

The last of my tulips. These beauties are in a sheltered spot and have bloomed for weeks. My new favorites.

Onward ho and good luck with all your gardening endeavors. I’m in hustle mode before the heat settles in, planting and mulching like crazy.

Oh, and baby chicks are sold out. Backyard chickens have taken off.  I’m toying with getting an incubator and eggs, or ducklings…

June in my Garden in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia


Flower Bed along the road 8Husband Dennis was out with his camera this morning and captured some lovely shots of the flower bed along the edge of the yard that borders the road. We’ve had some sumptuously gorgeous days lately with low humidity and blue skies that reach to heaven. This time of year it’s very hard to be in when the garden beckons, and bird calls float through the open windows.

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat. ~Beverly Nichols

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. ~Walt Whitman

How can one help shivering with delight when one’s hot fingers close around the stem of a live flower, cool from the shade and stiff with newborn vigor! ~Colette

Flower bed along road 6-16-2014

Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock. ~Henry Ward Beecher, Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed. ~Walt Whitman

Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. ~Gerard de Nerval

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

larkspur and shirley poppies

A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect. ~Terri Guillemets

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair… ~Susan Polis Shutz

The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days. ~Robert Leighton

Flower bed along road 4

Image of: Roses, larkspur, Shirley poppies, calendula, asparagus, sage, lamb’s ears, lilies, hollyhocks, coral bells, California poppies, lavender, and numerous other herbs and flowers.

The Medicinal Value of Native American Plants: Pokeweed


Tender shoots of poke are beginning to emerge. The time of poke salad is at hand. Only the new green shoots may be harvested in spring. Once the shoots take on a reddish hue that resembles the toxic root, they are too mature to consume safely. The green shoots should be cooked in two changes of water and eaten like asparagus.

Despite poke’s potential toxicity, the medicinal value of the plant was highly valued in times past and used by Indians and colonists, though with much care. A very little bit of the dried root was steeped in several cups of boiling water and the concoction sipped sparingly.
Poke, more than any other plant, was regarded as having the power to dramatically alter the course of an ailment. Death is also a dramatic altering and that could happen if too much was administered. I suppose the healer then made a mental note to use less next time. If self-medicating, the patient didn’t have to worry about next time.
Last summer I found an extremely vigorous pokeberry bush thriving among the buddleia. I actually like poke with its deep purple berries (one of the first inks of the New World) if I don’t think about it reseeding everywhere, which it did. But I respect poke, so much more than simply a weed. New research has shown that the root may be valuable in curing some of our most challenging diseases. Just don’t experiment on your own. Consult an expert.