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One Tough Little Water Lily PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 September 2011 17:22

Pictured on the first page of My City Garden is a water lily I've had since my daughter was one. I bought the water garden as a hobby and it's been with me ever since, withstanding skunk and raccoon invasions in Westchester County, NY and various bird, skunk and critter invasions in my present location of Jersey City.

Last year the Helvola miniature lily was dragged out and the root tuber left on the sidewalk by what appears to have been a bird. I popped it back in its pot and waited. And waited and waited. Finally, I had leaves and flowers again after about two months.

This year I moved the little Helvola lily into the larger tub with the other larger lilies mistakenly believing it would be safer. Back in June I awoke to another water garden debacle. This time even the poor trapdoor snails were taken leading me to believe it was a raccoon because the snail shells were cracked. The raccoons are a little more advanced in their dining techniques and able to eat clams and other water dwellers.

Once again the poor little lily was nothing but a scrap of tuber and one little leaf. Why target this one when so many larger ones were available? Demon varmint. Visions of high-power water pistols and mace danced in my head but I wasn't up to staying up all night to confront the wildlife here.

So I took the tuber, planted it in a small pot put the pot in a kitchen pot of water and placed that on the Aerogarden to use the light. And waited. And waited. Finally leaves started to appear but they didn't look like Helvola leaves at first. Oh no, I thought, maybe it was one of the other lilies in a sprout state and not my beloved little yellow lily. Well, I waited some more and wanted to put the lily back in its little tub but didn't want it to be a snack for a raccoon again.

The little tub garden is only about a foot or so across. Something flashed in my mind - a barbecue grill in the basement lying by the outdoor stuff. Hmm. Time to put the coated green wire fencing on the large tub to thwart the furry varmints and maybe the grill would fit over the little tub garden. Turns out the grill fit almost exactly. Best part is the tub handles hold the grill down further interfering with hungry furry critters.

water lily

The photos here are of the newly flowering lily and one of the grill that stays on the small tub overnight now. The larger garden has the flexible green wire over it. It's nighttime garden lockdown up here on the cliff opposite lower Manhattan. It is 20 years and counting for the little Helvola lily.

Helvola water lily
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2012 11:29
Why I love the summer PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 10:55

I love the abundance of the dwarf pear tree. This is the third year it has produced loads of fruit that has to be given away to my neighbors, family and friends. These are tasty Bartlett pears that I love yellow but some of my Filipino neighbors prefer to eat them crunchy and green. The tree was so laden down before the hurricane we removed most of the fruit so it wouldn't be blown off and wasted. I now have 4 brown paper Trader Joe bags filled with them.

summer pears

summer fruits and vegetables

Here is a kind of windowsill still life representing what else I love about summer. Early on, when I started this website/blog about urban gardening I received some criticism for the idea. One person commented, "But you are only growing handfuls of food!" (Why bother was the subtext here). Maybe the "handfuls" are what the point is. I won't always have fresh basil and tomatoes but when I do you can bet they are going into a salad, pesto or topping for margarita pizza. When I have Swiss chard or Beet greens, they substitute for Red Sails Lettuce that doesn't do well in the heat. The radishes and peppers are a spicy addition to a salad when the little sweet onions are gone. This makes summer eating more interesting. Spring is great too with Snow Peas, onions, lettuce, as is the fall with Kale, Beets, Radishes, etc.

The point is, I am eating what is available from my garden when it's available and I adjust the menu to accommodate what's available. This is similar to "eating deep in the season", meaning you eat what's there when it's there. I've seen this idea alluded to in reading about Europe. We, of course, are not going to replace the supermarket with urban gardening but we are going to be enjoying the special foods we grew ourselves. Growing and eating some of your own food also ties in with the idea of the 100 Mile Diet. This makes even more sense as gasoline prices start to climb again.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2012 11:33
Good Eatin Time Soon PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 August 2011 09:50

Second week of August and the tomatoes and peppers are enjoying the sun, heat and now the rain.This growing season seems to have had a slow start around here. Usually, we had more tomatoes by this time. Nothing beats fresh tomatoes in a salad along with fresh herbs and greens.

Mixed herbs in a fencebox. (Cilantro, Basil, Dill)
cilantro basil and dill

Hot yellow Pepper

yellow pepper

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2012 11:35
The Garden in August PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 August 2011 08:43

This is prime growing time in the garden. Below are some pix of what's happening in the City Garden right now...

green pepper

Hot weather veggies like peppers and tomatoes are flourishing

red and yellow cherry tomatoes

Roses and zinnias are going strong along with the petunias which just need to be dead headed to keep growing.

pink zinnia

Voodoo Rose flower

It's too nice to stay inside so it's outside to plan on how to use the garden's bounty.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2012 11:38
Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 11:00

Summer is going full swing with the heat and humidity here. Great weather for tomatoes and peppers. We've been enjoying Swiss Chard and Kale now that the lettuce and peas are done. The blackberries are starting to ripen and we've enjoyed some blueberries but the Catbirds did too...

Rocky Mtn. Coral Geranium

I am always amazed at how flowers at dusk almost seem to glow on their own and many seem to exude their frangrance at twilight too. Pictured here are geranium and cosmo flowers.

Cosmo Flower

These lovely orchids are back for an encore after last winter. They are white with just a touch of lavender

White and lavender orchid

The veggie department outside in the box is moving right along. We have had cucumber, chard, onion, herb and cherry tomato salads two or three times a week now.

Early Girl tomato


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2012 11:40
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photo: Jeannie Cote


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