Kitchen Gardening After The Snow


Wow. Only in zone 8B can the days go from snowfall and ice to spring-like fantasia in less than four. Not only does the snow bring pretend winter to our warm climes, but, it awakes an appreciation in Charlestonians to get working in our garden toute de suite. Lucky us, Spring is coming quickly.


I Have Found the Drawing Board

Proverbial idiom aside, I really have just located my drawing board and I am so excited to see it, again. Hired movers moved my belongings from storage in the deep South to my Grandmother’s home recently without my supervision. I have a lost and damaged report that I am working on and I fear it may turn into a two page document soon (I would hate to sound too complaintful…I am grateful to have had the professionals do the job, however, the OCD section of my mind needs to make the list in order to put herself at ease).

I have returned to my native zone 8b after a four year sojourn around the globe and I have more chores to do this December than expected. And, the list of chores has me very, very happy. A gardener needs to keep busy in the Winter to thrive just as the landscape does. Dormant does not mean dead or idle and the best time for planning and plotting is now. I intend to put pencil to paper today and plot a preferred placement of the compost pile. Back to the drawing board!

Tea Party In Tokyo

I have been travelling around Asia lately photographing gardens. The Japanese take the cake in the 21st century for their style And, the 4th. And, the 14th. They essentially have three types of gardens, most of the influences begins in 400AD with Buddha and they continued to finesse until the 14th century. Karesansui Gardens, or Zen Gardens as we refer to them in the West, are the dry gardens that are abstractions…the box of sand with rocks and the rake, you might recall? These are for meditation. And, of course they exist not only in the miniature you are familiar with. Tsukiyama Gardens are the style that really makes the gardeners of the East famous with the gardeners of the West. These are the majestic sculpted gardens. I will talk more of these later as I have visited one of the style in Tokyo. And, finally, Chaniwa Gardens. Tea Party Gardens. The fountain above is typical and the visitor is to cleanse his hands before partaking in the sacred green Tea Party. The fountain is followed by lanterns and the lanterns light a path and the path leads to a tea house that is generally kept amongst the flora and out of site. These are the gardens that support the Western decorations of towers of cemented lanterns and fountains and such that are curiosities of our garden supply shops. In Charleston, South Carolina we have many formal gardens that have such accoutrement in them. The Tea Party was all the rave in the colonies, brought to America vis a vis the Dutch who colonized New Amsterdam (New York). The Dutch had the most magnificent Eastern trade on the ocean and brought with them the tea. Think about a serene scene and not these very, very misguided and embarrassing rallies that are going on across the United States today. The influence of the Japanese Tea Garden is one of my favorites: peace and harmony in the pretty garden.

The Potting Shed V

I keep wandering out to the country this Winter and I can’t seem to embrace an Urban existence. And, in my hometown the country is called the Lowcountry. South Carolina’s coastal plain is filled with neat things to visit and most recently I have found Botany Island and it’s subsequent park, Botany Bay Plantation to be just lovely. I ran right into this gardener’s shed on the now public lands dedicated to the Department of Natural Resouces. I was so excited to see this little gem with it’s oyster tabby walls dating to the late 1700’s that I ran back here to research the potting shed. And, boy did I find quite a lot of material on the history of the shed, from a philology of the word shed across Teutonic translations unto philosophical derivations of the existential “shedliness” of the word shed. My interesting trek through the Google myriad of articles led me to laugh out right with this one from the Telegraph UK. Leave it to the English to corner the market on a precious potting shed contest!

Daffodils on Botany Island

I found these yesterday while touring Botany Island, South Carolina. And, of course, the name of the island speaks volumes.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

-William Wordsworth, 1807

Succulents Have A Great Name

dsc_0059I found this guy tangled in sand spurs and sand dunes on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Still trying to find out the botanical classification of it, since succulents make me swoon. Why are they called succulent? Dictionary dot com says the definition of the word succulent is rich in desirable qualities. And, juicy. Wow. No wonder we love them so. I am quite sure this one guy is a sedum. Sedum is the large stonecrop genus of the Crassulaceae, representing about 400 species of leaf succulents throughout North America. Prized as a green roof garden plant. Some are cold hardy. Some are heat tolerant. Most are neither both. So choose your species wisely and start planting today!