Monday, January 21, 2008

Best of 2007: Chives

When I decided nine years ago that I wanted flowers instead of a strip of lawn in the backyard, I was woefully unprepared and terribly uninformed about starting a garden. I tore up the turf to reveal something that resembled soil and started sticking plants into the ground. No soil amendments, no fertilizer, no compost, no nothing. As the years passed I realized my garden plot was little more than a dumping ground for someone's old renovation project. Nine years after the first shovel went into the ground, I still occasionally pull out a partial brick or slab of concrete. Needless to say, this sad state of affairs led to many failures in the garden. The chives are not among those failures. In fact, they are one of the resounding success stories of my garden.

The small pot of chives I stuck into the then-hostile environment of my garden plot not only survived but thrived. Every year, there were more and more chives. Now they are massed in large bunches at the garden's edge and form part of the garden's border. Chives are early bloomers and once they fade I cut them to the ground. How do they respond to this apparent cruelty? They send up new blades and offer a second, although somewhat more restrained, bloom period.

I appreciate chives even more since my daughter came along. She is a very picky eater. White toast with a little melted butter is about as much flavour as she can stand. Almost everything else is usually deemed too "spicy." But for some reason, she loves chives. She'll stroll out to the garden, pluck a blade and chow down. In a world where some kids think that food comes from grocery stores, I'm glad my four-year-old has learned a very simple lesson about where it really comes from.

Chives were an early favorite in my garden experience. They'll always have a prominent place.


Pam/Digging said...

Isn't it wonderful when something so lovely thrives while asking so little of us? And how nice that your young daughter enjoyed them so much too. Beautiful pics.

Gardenista said...

I find chives are nearly unkillable - which is good in difficult places and climates. It's the only plant that is unmolested in the dog's yard and it has infiltrated our lawn, which produces an onion-y smell when the lawn is mowed!

Ottawa Gardener said...

Chives are glorious and as gardenista says 'generally easy to grow' but if you want impossible to get rid of (and you don't), grow garlic chives. Actually these are great plants: tasty, nice flowers yadda yadda but 'deadhead!'

Beautiful pictures.

Connie said...

I love the early cheerful booms of chives! They are definitely in the "tough as nails" plant category for me, as well.