Rhubarb’s Many Happy Returns

It seems odd to write about rhubarb as summer draws to a close.

Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables to be harvested in the spring.* 20180805_120622158844458296092871.jpgIt’s an herbaceous perennial that comes back to life from rhizomes every spring. The timing is perfect for it to be paired with another perennial favorite, strawberries! I can’t think of anything else that marks the start of summer like strawberry-rhubarb pie. Unfortunately, that time came and went quickly this year and I never made that pie. I ended up putting all of my effort into something less fleeting; jam. I made strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb jam.

*That’s right, it’s a vegetable! The courts were able to declare it a fruit back in the 1940’s because of its culinary association with cobblers and pies, but it was mainly done to help businesses who imported the stalks from having to pay taxes!

The jam was good to make but, I did miss getting to bake. Here’s a Gardenkeeping secret confession: I love to bake as much as I love to garden! The only problem with baking is that, if you’re not careful, everyone gets chunky around the middle. It’s definitely not a victimless pastime. So, please, please be careful if you find yourself alone in a kitchen with flour, sugar, butter…!

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Smoky and Blue

The Woods a Blaze

There are wildfires burning throughout the western part of the United States. Here in Washington State there have been 470 fires in 2018 so far. I was surprised to find out that every year the fire season officially starts on April 15th with burn restrictions in place on all DNR-protected lands. It turns out that as soon as the spring rains stop, everything starts to dry up and is at risk of catching on fire. This year we had a wet spring but, once May hit, the rain stopped and they began predicting a challenging year for fighting wildfires. Then came the summer.

Summer’s Haze

20180822_0720422416147092205226845.jpg

I’ve had to cancel work for the week. The air quality has gotten that bad.I tried to work a bit but, it was truly miserable. Last week I was out in it and ended up feeling pretty crummy. When I showed up at work the following Monday, K came out of her house and was amazed that I was there, “We’re not even letting our dog outside today!” That was when I realized how quiet it was Uptown: an eerie air. There were no other people outside and only an occasional car driving by. The smoke had driven everyone inside to hide from its ghostly presence. I said I’d reschedule and then left for home. My head hurt and I felt tired, so, after a bath I went to bed and stayed there.

Subscribe to get the full story

Help keep the shovels sharp and the shears oiled. Sign up today to gain full access to Gardenkeeping’s premium, ad-free content!

The Maple Mysteries

“I think something really amazing just happen.”

I said to myself as I walked through the door after a long day at work. I was shaking and feeling a little crazy after having a smile stuck on my face for the last 30 minutes. David wasn’t visible at first so I went looking for him. When I found him he was busy on the phone. I ran back outside to gaze upon my good fortune.

It was a little while before David came out to see what was up. I looked at him, still smiling, ” I think something really amazing just happened! You have to come and see!”

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

“Light…Wind…Action!”

The time is late July.

The sun is heating up the land and the sea and, as it sits overhead, the directness of its rays reach down and hold you in place. If asked what you’re doing the answer better be, “Not much.” It’s obvious you’re not getting anything done today. Just admit it.

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

This is How We Get In

How do you take a lovely family visit and make it into something that seems dark and unsure? You go for a walk in the woods!

This last month my sisters and their families gathered at a house that is tucked back on Blue Mountain Road just off of Eaglemount. The last time we were there was four years ago. It’s a favorite for all. They even have tunnels and slides that kids (and grown-ups with good knees) can crawl through to pop-up at various other places in the house! Pretty cool. Another great thing about this spot is that you’re acres away from any neighbors. If they’re around, you don’t see them, just the dirt roads that lead to…?

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

A Scenic Drive-By

We spent a really great weekend in Roslyn, WA celebrating my sister’s birthday. It was my first time there, but a favorite place of hers since she and her husband started dating 28 years ago. Thanks, Colleen, for inviting all of us to that special town tucked into the east side of the Cascades!

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Pathways: A Garden Divided “Part One”

What do you picture in your mind when I write the word ‘garden’?

It’s different for everyone. There are those who think of endless beds, full of flowers that are always in bloom. Maybe it’s having plants that surround your house without a lawn in sight. Is it what you grow in containers on a balcony or patio? What about the garden being a view through a window, which I wrote about here (click!). For me a garden is where I can be alone with my plants. I hardly ever visit with anyone there.

What I have learned from working in gardens for 20+ years is that almost no one thinks of people when they think of gardens, but what is a garden if people aren’t considered in the planning and enjoyment of it? From this gardener’s perspective, it can make for a very unwelcoming space, but who wants to hear that from their gardener? This is why I write.

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

The Good Shit

It was a late start; April instead of February.

My work and the rain have made it difficult for me to get to into my own garden. If you read my last veggie post (Can You) Dig It , we left off with me planting a winter garden instead of a cover crop.  The spinach, lettuce and kale did a great job of getting us through the winter, but then a snow storm hit in February and left snow on the ground for a week, which is unusual for Port Townsend. That freeze was enough to kill off the last of my lettuce. Then the rain started falling and has hardly let up since. Gardening these last few months has left me questioning some of my life choices! Yes, it was getting bad.

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Oh Deer, Why So Many Tulips?

Tulips are one of the spring bulbs that came with my garden,

but there were years when I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, the red ones that is. They had been planted along with the usual suspects: grape hyacinth and yellow daffodils.20180421_083004561354931.jpg These three types of bulbs are sold as a package deal every year at the nurseries and every year I wonder why. I find it unnerving when these colors come up together in the spring. They seem so out of place. This is when the season’s light is still at an angle and most flowers are blooming in pinks, purples and white.

 

The last time I wrote about color was in a previous post of mine Seeing Red? I don’t mean to pick on the color red. The truth is it’s a favorite of mine. There are just certain times of the year (OK, really just in the spring) when it is too intense by comparison to the sun’s light. Of course there are exceptions to every rule: I love the red blooms of the rhododendron when it’s in the shade.

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Spring-a-Ding-Ding!

•Ding!•

A bell tolls for spring

We’ve been stuck in a rain cycle for a while now. This week’s forecast was for rain every day, so I was prepared for another rough one. I’m use to the rain routine at work; get on my rain gear, keep tools tucked away and then spray mud off of everything, including myself, when I get home. I still managed to work a full week, but it hasn’t been easy: rain, wind, sun (kind of?) and then a cloudburst or two. We have definitely been swept up by the full swing of spring!

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.