Some of the fun in the garden is about scale–an oxymoronic giant dwarf Alberta spruce anchors one end, and the biggest pot of rosemary you’ve ever seen in your life lines a path. Gerald grows many things in pots, finding that basil, for example, does better in the heat of a pot than in the ground.
The garden is casually edged by ornamentals such as oriental poppies and tulips and many dozen rugosa roses, some of which you can see in the photo above, that add some color to the crucifers. Gerald uses raised beds, which allow the soil to warm up more quickly in spring. But he does not use those detestable, butt-ugly, nailed-together lumber raised beds. He simply manages his soil with a kind of precision that I can’t duplicate, stringing lines and then digging soil out of the path and piling it into neat long bars.
The very best thing about the garden is its spirit of experimentation. It’s easy to get into a kind of rut in a vegetable garden. You do the same thing with the same spinach every April. But Gerald, though he’s been gardening on the same spot for upwards of three decades, is always trying something new. There’s always some new plant or new structure or new way of managing a vegetable to admire. Why not grow pole beans up the side of a barn to the roof? Why not put boxwoods in pots, when they look nifty that way? Why not plant currants everywhere?
And of course, after the garden has thrown off its produce, there is always the quality of Bob and Gerald’s cooking and the warmth of their hospitality–but that’s a subject for another kind of blog.