Friday, June 19, 2009

Borago officinalis


See it here in my current garden next to a tomato plant. This hairy herb is a favorite of mine. The flowers are also a favorite of bees, tomatoes, and children. I grew it in my first "serious" herb garden in San Antonio and later when my kids were small. Kids like the cucumber flavor of the blue star shaped flowers.

When the children were helping me garden we lived in the almost desert prairie of West Texas on 2 1/2 acres. The ground was caliche rock and blow sand. It can be a carpet of wild flowers in any seasons with just a bit of rain. But the summers are hot, windy, and usually very dry.

We had a nice water well and one February I got a load of topsoil for my birthday...a dump truck load of dirt! That was my all-time favorite birthday gift! But even with the additional soil I could usually grow flowers and herbs better than vegetables. But we tried!

Borage is suppose to be a great companion plant for tomatoes. I am hoping it will deter the dreaded great horned tomato worm. We found one of those on a pepper plant yesterday but not close to the borage.

Memories in the Garden on the Farm

Some of my earliest memories are of time spent with my grandparents on their farm in Central Texas. I would help Grandmother plant seeds in a lot next to the barn. It had incredible dirt with all that aged manure and decomposing hay! This was the kitchen garden for beans, squash, okra, potatoes, and tomatoes. She always started her own tomatoes rather than buy plants.

They also had a few garden rows out in the field for black-eyed peas, corn, and melons. Grandmother grew herbs and flowers in the yard. I remember mint, parsley, dill, garlic, and those wonderful walking onions with the baby onions on top!

She grew chili petines for my granddaddy; they would reseed each year. Once I added them to mud-pies and got mud on my face and peppers in my eyes! You don't forget a thing like that!

I remember hollyhocks, petunias, bells of Ireland, irises, pomagranet bushes, lilacs, and climbable mesquite trees.

We have been eating lettuce, spinach, carrots, baby bokchoy, onions, garlic, sugar peas, a few Italian bush beans, and small tomatoes. Also from friends and family with larger, earlier gardens we have had new potatoes and squash! We have small squashes coming if the bugs don't get them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not forgotten

After a long absence and silence here on the blog I am going to attempt a comeback.
No time for detailed backstory or excuses!
In the past year:
We have moved to a different house after painting the interior.
We have planted the whole backyard in garden.
Made gradual but definite changes in our diet...

I am struggling to find balance, learn to accept loss, and change, and I hope, to be content but not complacent! I am easily distracted from important but difficult areas of responsibility. There can be an exhilarating and almost intoxicating high from creativity. I can postpone thinking of other things while reveling in color, pattern, paper, paint, and fibers. I can numb my painful memories and present fears with a new project idea. Arranging and rearranging art supplies is a potent procrastinator's ploy!

But, I am still creating!