Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What kind of garden to you have?

Frida guides us through the garden gate
I was recently asked this question. Oh I've been asked it before. But this time my answer was to laugh and answer "oh I crazy garden." The puzzling look on my friend's face signaled I needed to define more. "It's a cottage garden, and this time of year it's big and blousy: edibles and ornamentals all mixed in together." I could go on and on describing our crazy garden using terms like "garden rooms" and "vegetables out front" and "a dappled shade woodland walk." But I tend to just go to "crazy garden." You don't believe me? Oh here's some proof.
The front garden fills in

And here's some proof of the big and blousy. Ka-BAM! This garden grows on the power of zoo doo.
Garden in July: big and blowsy

But right now I'm dealing with the interesting conundrum of eating my borders. I love the look of cabbage: big, huge, round balls of purple and green. They make the perfect border edging. See?
Edible border
Edible front border
But now it's time to eat that border and alas, it will ruin my lovely line. Dang it! I didn't think about that. But that's the deal with mixing ornamental and edible: you eat the beauty.

And by the looks of it, we're going to be eating a lot of cabbage. Feel free to share recipes.


Kristina said...

One of my favorite ways to use cabbage is this:

Love your border. Red okra, eggplants and peppers make up the bulk of my "flower" border.

A Lewis said...

I'll tell you what kind of garden you have: amazing, fantastic, and beautiful.

Jacquelyn said...

*Sigh*. I love your garden. What an inspiration. I love that you don't have big spaces for weeds to grow like I do. It's the bane of my existence this year. You don't do any landscape consulting on the side, do you? :)

Heather said...

I love those cabbages. Hmms, me think it time for a really good cole slaw. Yup, time for Grandma's recipe box.

Marilyn said...

Gorgeous! What a magical garden! And who knew cabbage could be so lovely?...

Wacky Mommy said...

I love everything about your garden, but I especially love that you don't use Round-Up. Thank you for that.

Now, on to cabbage... Steve and I modified a black bean soup recipe from Kenny Shopsin -- http://bookreviews.krolltravel.com/culinary/FoodandDrink_0067.html -- it turned out great. Kind of braised/seared cabbage and onions, and added it to black bean soup. Then we made our own tortilla chips and served the whole thing over those -- yummy. Of course I have to put sweet-hot chili sauce over everything, too.


Black Bean Soup

1 1/2 cans black beans
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small onion
5 cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
1 carrot
2 tblsp olive oil
2-4 tblsp soy sauce
2-4 tsp cajun/creole seasoning
water – at least one pint
pepper and salt

1. Chop onion and garlic
2. Saute onion and garlic with olive oil on a very low heat – cover pan
3. Chop celery and carrot into small chunks and add to onion and garlic.
Also add one tsp of cajun seasoning and mix well.
4. Cover and leave until onion becomes clear – stir occasionally
5. Take off heat and make a roux by adding flour to veggies until you
have thick paste. Then slowly add tomato paste
6. Add water, black beans and their juice, 2 tblsp soy sauce, salt and
7. Simmer for a while until beans are warm, then add more soy sauce or
cajun seasonings to your taste. Add water if soup seems too thick.

Stephanie said...

I live in St. Johns, and I'm literally DROOLING over your garden photos! Did you start with a typical front yard, and transform it into this magical secret garden?!? Do you have some before photos?! I'd love to see a wider shot of what you started with because it appears you have a huge front yard (which I don't) but I'd love to do something similar even if it's in the back!

LeLo said...

Kristina - THANK YOU for sharing that recipe: am definitely going to try it. You must have HOT weather for okra and eggplants, both beautiful. My eggplants are just lagging along waiting for some hot hot weather here.

A Lewis - Don't make me blush.

Jacquelyn - Please remember, I don't take photos of my weedy spaces, but trust me, they're there. I think the key for us has been to plant thickly and get the weeds early in the season. But I hear ya sister. If you're serious about some consulting, yes I do. And remember, just choose one section at a time. Ours has taken 10 years!

Marilyn - It's so nice to see you again. :)

Wacky Mommy - You kick ass lady. I'm so rockin' that recipe. And you've even seen the garden in person!!! xxoxox

Stephanie - Yes, our yard was a lot of grass in the beginning. I have before photos, and I keep saying I'm going to post them. The front yard is NOT huge: it's all about how you use the space you have.

Stephanie said...

oh yes! Please post them!! I need inspiration...and seeing that you once started with a vanilla front yard and turned it into a creme brulee wonderland would be just the kick in the pants I need. Keep up the amazing work.

Stephen said...

I love your garden & your blog...
here is another NoPo garden:

best wishes!

Wacky Mommy said...

ps yes, i have seen her garden. there are no weedy spaces. it is magic back there.

Roey said...

My grandmother used to cook cabbage all the time: pigs in a blanket, corned beef and cabbage, but my favorite was when she just sauteed onions and cabbage in butter with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds. The caraway seeds are the surprising part--they are delicious with the cabbage!