Dahlias were the theme this year for Mother’s Day in our house. Pete, in keeping with tradition, covered the kitchen table with a stunning collection of bright yellow, purple and pink flowers just waiting to find a sunny spot in the soil around our deck. The near freezing mid-May temperatures this week prevented their planting (a stroke of luck for our 2 year old son and the 20 diggers that currently occupy the space) but my husband still had an A+ day in the yard weeding the strawberry patch, rebuilding the rock walls, transplanting raspberries, and preparing the vegetable and flower beds.
It is hard for me to believe that there was once a time when I was up at 6am in my pajamas transplanting blueberry bushes. I am embarrassed to admit that these days I would much rather kick back on the hammock with the latest paperback than plant tomatoes. To keep myself from feeling guilty I just remind myself how much my husband loves working in the yard. Pete likes to say that he takes care of everything outside the house and I take care of everything inside the house.
I decided to browse some books for inspiration. Deborah Madison (author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) just released an excellent reference, Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipe. This is not a “how to garden” book, but an exploration of the fascinating relationships between vegetables, edible flowers and herbs. I found some great recipes that I look forward to trying.
There is a new edition of the All New Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew. The new edition explores vertical gardening as well as teaching kids the square foot gardening method discussed in prior editions. The square foot gardening method is a grid based method as opposed to row based gardening, which the author claims will result in more produce in less space with less work.
Native Plants for Your Maine Garden was released in 2010 by Down East and is still a great reference for native Maine plants. In this book, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens executive director Maureen Heffernan provides information and inspiration for gardeners about how to choose the best plants for a variety of locations and provides tips on how to cope with challenging conditions. Heffernan discusses flowering perennials, foliage plants, grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees, and she provides sample garden plans designed by experts.
It was fun to look through gardening books, but I still gravitate towards the Hot Picks. I am thoroughly enjoying Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter right now and my desire to sneak in some hammock time this weekend outweighs my desire to plant flowers. Good thing my husband will be around!