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.