The Next Stage of Life in Today’s Garden

July 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

My yoga teacher gave us that quote to take with us in our practice yesterday. As an aside, my yoga teacher has this uncanny knack for sharing quotes or book excerpts that are the exact thing I need to hear at that point in my week. I thought this particular quote was a perfect description for how my life has unfolded over the past six months: a journey of self-discovery and blossoming of various creative endeavors. It’s also an appropriate description of what’s happening in the garden right now!

Even through the vagaries of our San Francisco summer — the weather alternating between foggy and windy to sunny and 70 degrees — the plants in the vegetable garden and the dahlias are marching along to their internal clocks.

The cilantro that bolted recently is establishing its flowers. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can get coriander seeds out of them…mmm, fresh coriander for cooking would be an excellent alternative to the cilantro leaves I’d hoped for.

The chard seedlings are starting to resemble what they’ll look like in adulthood — bright red and yellow stems and pleated leaves that I can cut and saute with garlic or onions. Soon, I’ll need to thin them so they don’t choke each other, and we can eat the thinnings in a salad.

The apple tree is thinning itself (quite self-sufficient, that apple tree!). Each day another green apple with red blush falls onto the ground. I’m keeping them in a basket on my kitchen counter because I can’t bear to throw them away, although the only mildly palatable-sounding recipe I’ve found for unripe apples is an apple-calvados jelly. I’m not sure we’ll ever eat that, so I haven’t decided whether to go through the trouble. This morning, tiny birds (sparrows? wrens?) were hanging upside down from the apple tree branches, pecking away — not at the fruit, so perhaps they were eating bugs.

A few of the first juliet cherry tomatoes are finally starting to ripen! This morning I noticed that the green had transformed into light orange. One early girl cherry tomato has a yellow-orange tint as well.

And the dahlia buds are starting to stretch open, one petal at a time. I’m so curious to see what stage the flowers have reached when we return from our week on the east coast.

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