Sunday, May 27, 2007

Strawberry Planters Aren't Just For Strawberries

Three days ago, I went online and expressed to the world wide web my disdain for container gardening. Three days later, I have to eat my words. It's okay. I'm happy to do it. My recent urn and window box acquisitions made me think twice about dismissing containers. So I hauled myself down to the basement, poked my way through nearly a decade's worth of cobwebs, and found an old strawberry planter I loved for its strawberry design.

I had great aspirations of using this pot to grow, what else, strawberries. The squirrels had something else in mind. For them, this was no strawberry planter. It was a buffet. The planter disappeared into deep storage as did my hopes for a small strawberry harvest. While I've abandoned the idea of berries for now (not forever though, those squirrels will be defeated), I decided it was finally time to put some life back into the planter.

So here it is, bursting with herbs. For the record, it's stuffed with Genovese Basil, Italian Parsley, Sage, Winter Savory, Orange Mint, Ginger Mint, and get this...Curry. I didn't even know that curry came from a plant until today. Of course, I never wondered where it came from before today either. The garden is a great teacher isn't it? Anyway, brush up against the curry just the right way, and the back porch smells like an Indian restaurant. Butter Chicken anyone? Or is Tandoori more your style? I sense some experiments with Indian cooking come mid-summer. All of the herbs smell great but the curry is especially strong. It's so strong that it impresses itself on the memory. I can smell it even now even though I'm nowhere near it. In fact, I can feel its heat. Now that is cool!

When "ooohing" and "aaahhing" over blossoms in the yard, it's easy to forget that there was a time when gardening wasn't a hobby but a way of life. There was a time when humans actually grew the food they ate themselves. When I first started my garden, I dedicated most of it to food. I remember the thrill of my first potato harvest. Turning the dirt to find a treasure trove of spuds. I had a really great tomato harvest one year. I even made pickled green tomatoes. Peppers were never easy but I managed to harvest a few. The garden evolved and soon the vegetables were gone and flowers were in their place. I don't know why. It just happened. But the herbs, their fragrance and their taste, have reminded me that I miss my harvests.

This year will be different. In addition to the herbs, I picked up two tomato plants of the beefsteak and cherry variety. I'll plant them among the flowers. Then one day in late summer, I'll be able to enjoy my blooms in a vase and my tomatoes and herbs on a plate. And as I take in the fragrance and the taste, I know what I'll be thinking: next year, I'm planting strawberries.


Connie said...

I'm not sure how I came across your site, but enjoyed the visit. I agree about Strawberry planters not being just for strawberries! Mine is clay and dries out very quickly, so this year I planted it with several different sedums, with hen and chicks in the top. Will post a photo on my blog after they fill in a bit!
Regards, Connie

Owin & Irena said...

Hello Connie. You have the honour of being the first person (aside from my smart-aleck husband) to leave a comment on my blog. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. I just discovered sedum last year and love them. I don't have any hens and chicks but really, really want some. Perhaps another strawberry planter is in order! Thanks again for the visit. I look forward to your photo.