Thursday, July 25, 2019

July Update - The Flower/Veggie Garden

Summer is in high season here at Leyden Glen Farm. We have had an extraordinarily hot July with absolutely no rain — unlike last year when the rain wouldn’t stop. Until a few days ago when it rained and rained and rained. So glorious. I got my annual flower garden/veggie garden in and we are eating lots of squash and cucumbers, parsley and basil. Lost the beans to the birds - bummer - they love bean sprouts. Two weeks ago I planted the sunflowers. With the lack of rain, the sunflowers weren’t germinating. But the recent rain changed that and they are popping through the soil. Yay.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to plant this huge garden. With The Farmer’s hip surgery, I almost didn’t. But in mid June, just after before he went in the hospital, I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did because it gives me some quiet time outside by myself with the birds and the bugs and the disappointments and victories of gardening. I think that is what keeps gardeners gardening..... the possibilities of the next garden, the next year and what might be. All the unknowns - the weather, the bugs and blights, the weeds, the birds snacking on sunflower and bean sprouts - they all are uncontrollable by humans and they make it all so interesting and challenging and beautiful.

I have been spending a lot of time in my Pottery Shed getting pieces thrown and dried out enough for the underglaze decoration. Like I shared a few posts ago, I got accepted into The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival which happens the weekend of September 28/29. The Pottery Shed is next to my garden and right next to the sheep pasture. It is a walk from the house and I have to tote buckets of water down the hill to use while making the pottery. It is a very sweet little building that is serviceable and simple. The renovation of the Pottery Shed was part of my last book Crafting A Patterned Home. I totally love this space and the hours I spend there working with the clay on my wheel and building slab pieces. 

Making pottery is a lot like gardening. Because I am no expert wheel thrower - nor do I every intend or want to be - I sit down at my wheel with a ball of clay and then see what happens. I “center” the clay with an idea of what I want to make that day. And then I see what happens as I work it with my hands. Lately I have been making oodles of vases. Cut flowers from my garden have always been an important thing in my home and the vases that hold them - whether antique or handmade - are full of color and pattern. The vases look so pretty on a shelf all year long. I hope that people at the festival will think the same thing too. 

Next week I am going to try to start making some mugs because I know people who love and buy handmade pottery love a new coffee mug. There is something so intimate about making a handmade mug that will be used by the purchaser often. There is a special connection between maker and buyer that a handmade mug makes happen. That a handmade mug will go out into someone else’s home and become part of their special morning or afternoon ritual of coffee or tea is just so sweet. 

Here are a few photos from the summer garden and work in progress in the studio. 

Hollyhocks in front of the studio. I didn't plant these - they appeared magically. A few years ago I had a lemon hollyhock that died off. These must have come from it. 

The veggie and cutting garden. All mulched except for the sunflowers. 

Zinnias all pruned - now waiting for flowers.

The pottery studio

Some of the vases I have been making

The sheep grazing every evening behind my pottery studio.

Vases in progress - before and after decoration and awaiting firing.

Some finished vases and some before bisque firing but already painted.

Hope you all are having a nice summer and getting some outside time and projects done!


Kate/Massachusetts said...

I am curious how and why you prune zinnias? Some years mine do great, but this year they are mostly dead!

Kristin Nicholas said...

If you pinch the center leader of the zinnias out, they will send out shoots from the bottom and become bushier. I frequently get black spot but not this year because of dry weather. I feed my zinnias with something called Azomite a couple times a season - especially if they have black spot. It is organic and a little pricey but they usually thrive after. Good luck.

Kristin Nicholas said...

This article is helpful
Her book is very good too!

tjf said...

Thank you for sharing pictures of where you live and work. I enjoy getting a glimpse of your place and I love seeing your pottery - the vases are so fun and beautiful. I hope they sell well for you. (I don't see why they wouldn't!) :)


LannieK said...

How beautiful, every part!
I love at 7500' and gardening is a challenge. I so enjoy seeing your successes! As you said, keeps you thinking about next year's garden ~

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