CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for April, 2009

A quest for true blue? Prepare for shades of gray along the way

This hydrangea is blue, but some petals are replete with hints of purple.

Even though this hydrangea is a vibrant blue, some of its petals display hints of purple.

It may not be up there with the search for the grail, but gardeners’ quest for “true blue” flowers can be equally elusive.

For a couple years now, blue has been the object of my garden affection. I’ve built my color scheme around blue and hunted for seeds and plants of that hue.

That passion took hold of me at the grocery store Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s showtime: pellets and seeds today, tomatoes tomorrow

Peat pellets expand in minutes, so it's not quite like watching paint dry. (See slideshow below.)

Peat pellets expand in minutes, so it's not quite like watching paint dry. (See slideshow below.)

They don’t look like much right now, but the small peat purses I’ve tucked safely away in a mini-greenhouse will, with a few seeds and a little luck, produce a bounty of heirloom tomatoes by mid-summer.

I finally chose four seed varieties to join my two stars (black plum and sun-sugar hybrid) in this year’s garden. Yes, I know I said I was only planting four or five heirlooms total, but I was so intrigued by my options that I decided to try and squeeze in an extra pot. So, drum roll please . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Herbs bring on the freshness – and everyone has a favorite

I get a little crazy when it comes to basil, note the pot of the purple variety (top).

I get a little crazy when it comes to my basil (note the pot of the purple variety, top).

I once extended a hand in greeting when making an acquaintance, only to be rebuked by the suspect non sequitur, “Sorry, I have pickle juice on my hand.” Well, it turns out it wasn’t a case of closeted O.C.D., it was just that the gent in question was serious about his dill. He actually made his own pickles, and, indeed, had pickle juice on his hands!

And while I plant dill for use in salads, dips and, of course, to season salmon, I don’t quite share his level of affection for the herb. Basil, however, is Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘recession garden’ and home-grown tomatoes

A black plum heirloom tomato plant just beginning to fruit a couple summers back.

A black plum heirloom tomato plant just beginning to fruit a couple summers back.

As you’ve doubtless surmised, I’m absolutely passionate about my heirloom tomatoes. What began as a lark and later became a hobby, has blossomed into a full-on obsession. So, when a friend drew my attention to the CNN Web site’s “recession gardens” report, I figured now was the perfect time to pull out my soapbox and extol the virtues of home-grown tomatoes.

The gist of the CNN article is that the recession (and possibly First Lady Michelle Obama) is encouraging an increasing number of Americans to make use of their personal green space to grow Read the rest of this entry »

Flowers can bring tidings of comfort, and joy

Morning glory's fleeting flowers last just a few hours, but sunrise brings a new crop.

Morning glory's fleeting flowers last just hours, but sunrise brings a new crop.

I should probably wait until we get to know one another better before I start going on about how gardens are a meditation on Life, and yes, I mean life with a capital “L” (smile). Still, it’s pretty difficult not to see concepts small and large — like growth, reinvention, death and rebirth — rooted in even the most modest of gardens.

Perhaps this accounts for why flowers, given at such joyous occasions as birthdays and anniversaries, are also what we reach for when Read the rest of this entry »