Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Art and Science of Gardening

What a grandiose title! Especially since I know next to nil. I'm a longtime wannabe gardener, this being one of Mom's passions but also because, well, a beautiful garden is a joy. I complain the weather here isn't conducive, but I've always been able to find an excuse. In Oklahoma it was the creepy crawlies in the soil, in Salt Lake watering was a hassle. That said, I still dream of the home grown tomatoes I produced in SLC.

Anyhow, our WI had a talk by folks from a local gardening centre. I took copious notes with little understanding. It's not just the Latin names, it's the simple terms that trip me up. For example 'herbaceous border' is a phrase you hear a lot here. Initially I thought this was something to do with growing herbs, though I wondered what it bordered.

American-British 'English' strikes again. In childhood, the large green (brown-ish) areas in front and back of our house were the 'yard'. In Britain, the 'yard' is an area of hard-standing (bricks, concrete), usually at the back where the sun rarely shines in the narrow strip between house and wall. If they hate green stuff, the whole of the front area is covered, with perhaps a potted plant. 

Mom's garden was the area with flowers and bushes in it, bordering the yard, or lawn. Suddenly it dawned: the herbaceous border was what we called 'the garden'. It borders the grass (or hard-standing).

As to what 'herbaceous' means, apparently even Brits struggle to define it. I'll go out on a limb (as it were) and say it's plants that aren't trees.

Bill and I were running errands and went to find the Greenwold garden centre down at Royal Quays: an outdoor mall, normally the coldest, windiest place on the planet. I don't often go. That's about to change. They're about plants, not kitsch. A leaflet listed some coming workshops, most for free (you pay for what you use). I signed up for several.

Fiona found this sweet little nest on the ground during a woodland walk.

Last Friday I got a lecture from Fiona on bulbs vs corms, the dormant periods, and of course, how to 'plant' bulbs in a pot (they pretty much sit on the surface). We started with breaking some crockery for drainage, which is always great fun. I brought home two shallow clay pots and saucers, one with blue hyacinths, the other for white narcissus (everyone knows the mythological story, right?).

I'm calling this 'winter gardening indoors' and counting it along with the dill and basil I grew in the back porch as baby steps towards practising... [see title].

1 comment:

Jenny Woolf said...

It sounds as if it would give me a huge headache to go to a gardening lecture in the US.Why do they need to have different names for everything? Not that there is really harm in it, but gardening is bad enough anyhow since I can rarely remember the names of plants so don't know what anyone is talking about unless they also provide a photo. !