Sunday, October 21, 2012

From Gladioli to Gobo: Flowers, Food & Friendship

1st Blooms of a hardy gladiolus - a gift from a friend
When we first moved to Alberta from sunny, frost-free Brisbane, the Home Bug Gardeners hadn't much of a clue as to what we could or should grow, just a vague idea about making our yard a nice place for bugs, birds, and people. We extirpated lawns and planted the major trees and shrubs under the guidance of our friend Adrian, but the rest was up to us. We wandered the local greenhouses with starry eyes, quickly disposed of our disposable dollars, and carted home many beautiful plants in ugly black plastic pots. We still have the pots stacked high in the garage, but hardly one of those early perennial purchases survives. As to produce, we got little: mostly woody celeriac, zucchini covered with downy mildew, and green tomatoes.
Leafy bounty at the Snagwood garden
Fortunately, we soon made friend with others of like mind and far more Zone 3 experience. The Currah's garden, Snagwood, is far outside the Urban Heat Island benefits of the city, but each year they raise a stunning bounty. Even better, they meld two horticultural traditions with an interest in experimentation and are happy to share it, even with strange bug people.
Red-leghorn & Snagwood's summer flowers
The first benefit to the HBG was Gladiolus imbricatus, the flower at the top of the post. The most recent, gobo (Arctium lappa), a crunchy and yummy root crop. In between, we've been treated to innumerable tasty treats, from ginger cookies to roasted rooster, and many lively discussions. We haven't been able to return much in kind, but we would like to devote a special issue of the Home Bug Garden to Satomi: some virtual vegetables, flowers, and chickens to wish you a happy birthday!
Salt, rice, saki from Satomi to Gopher Hill

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