The house we bought last year came complete with several long benches that run the perimeter of our deck. Because we are not the type who throw huge parties, my husband decided to turn each bench into a garden planter. Due to his hard work, last year we were rewarded with a haul that included carrots, peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, a variety of herbs, some very pretty daisies, and radishes (of course!).


As the temperature here measured in at 56 degrees yesterday, I decided to peek at my garden beds.

Benches no more!

I have never been one to keep a historical record of my garden’s transformation from plain old dirt to summer’s bounty, but my discovery yesterday might nudge me closer to such a ritual. Supposedly Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “A good sketch is better than a long speech,” and this utterance has morphed into many variations, including “A picture is worth a thousand words.” So, if I did decide to journal about my garden, I would display the picture above front and center.

But because my little planter garden contains an impressive array of flora that few people appreciate (and also because I was looking for something to write about), I believe identification is in order. With that in mind:

April 25

“I took a stroll today to see how my gardens were doing, as the weather is brilliant (well, relative to what we have had!) and what do you suppose I found? I took a picture, (and so sorry that it is a smidge fuzzy), and I am still in awe at the variety of plants that chose to make their home in my humble planter. The gorgeous Annual Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum), one large clump and several others in varying sizes scattered about, is the star of the show here. And look! Just to the left of the large clump is a stunning cluster of Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris). In fact, the Columbine is strewn throughout, as if it has decided to defy those who might find it oppressive. Oh, but not I, for I welcome its cheeky defiance and will patiently await its lavender trumpet flowers (or not!). See that to the right of the largest clump of Annual Rye Grass? I believe it is Narrow Leaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata), and I wonder if others know this plant can be used in herbal teas. And above that, next to the smaller clump of Annual Rye Grass—what is that? Why, it is a nubble of Annual Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)! The filler, if you will, is none other than the lovely Spurge (Euphorbia) and is not to be outdone by a sprinkling of needles from the nearby white pine trees. I notice that the cream and yellow disc-like objects are the dried skins of last year’s cherry tomatoes. Oops! I almost forgot—the scrubby bit at the top left appears to be a Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal)! All in all, a cracking ecological community!”

Respectfully submitted by Kathleen Jae

Since it is the end of April and my first harvest of radishes is about three weeks away, I am afraid my first garden entry is not typical of what one might normally find in a journal. That’s okay, because I learned a great deal about the vegetation that I normally pluck out without thought. Today is a tad warmer, and I will again visit my garden planters. This time I will bring my gloves and methodically remove those pesky things that I must now refer to as Weeds!

A weed’s enemy!

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