|Lilacs are one of my very favorite flowers.|
Just a quick blog update...
This is the craziest spring weather I can remember. Spring in Colorado is usually all about snow. But this year, we’ve had incredibly mild weather and very little moisture. The state is a tinderbox with fire conditions very high as we head toward summer.
And down on the urban farm — that’s my house — everything is a few weeks ahead of where it ought to be this time of year. Our lilacs normally don’t bloom till May. Irises bloom in late May or early June. But we’ve got irises in bloom in the back at the same time that tulips are still blooming. The lilacs are out of control. And our peonies have big buds on them.
|Benjamin plants a mahonia bush.|
As some of you know, I believe very much in growing as much of one’s own food as one can, even in a very urban setting. All that space taken up by useless grass can put food on the table and make a family less dependent on jobs, on credit, on all of the unhealthy systems that exist in our society. By taking food production into own hands, we boost our independence.
The other benefit of growing one’s own fruits and veggies is that you can control what goes on and around them. Food safety has become a huge issue lately, and it’s a proven fact that certain chemicals, including herbicides and pesticides that are commonly sold in the U.S., contribute to cancer rates. I’d rather work a little and have a healthy meal waiting for me outside. We generally don’t shop for vegetables between June and September, which is nice.
My grandparents on both sides grew most of their own fruits and vegetables. The lived in the city, but had big lots. They grew and canned so many different things. My mother’s parents had a grape arbor, an orchard and an enormous veggie garden that fed a family of eight. My grandfather gardened up till the very end of his life. Maybe it’s in our blood.
|Our vegetable garden has been tilled and is ready to plant.|
We have full southern exposure on the side of the house (as you can see), so we can really grow a wide variety of foods.
|Another view of the lilacs and one of the veggie beds.|
Benjamin wants an oak tree.
We shall see.
|They look pretty empty now, but these rose beds will be alive with color soon.|
Of course, out front we have our rose beds. We are rosarians — lovers of the rose. I don’t care much for typical hybrid teas and prefer historical roses that aren’t so cross-bred that they don’t even have a scent. I have three rules for any rose bush that is planted in my garden.
1. It must have a strong scent. Why have flowers if they have no scent?
2. It must be a proven rebloomer. I want flowers all summer long.
3. It must be capable of surviving in this climate.
Fortunately, historic roses and shrub roses generally fit those criteria.
Of course, tending the garden takes a lot of time during the summer. There’s planting, daily watering (it’s very arid here), weeding, harvesting, replanting... And it goes on typically until the first frost sometime in September/October, when I end up running out with kitchen scissors for one last quick harvest, usually of greens and broccoli, before winter arrives.
|This enormous cottonwood is coming down soon. It’s almost dead and dangerous. I love it and will miss it.|
Only 70 days until DEFIANT is released! I’m so excited to share the story with you!