Friday, May 29, 2009

Riversong Garden

The 'P' Garden
Since moving to the country in 1987, I have always had a herb garden. BIG herb garden. We went from downtown Toronto to Riversong cabin: 18 acres on the Saugeen River in Grey county. There we planted the first of several 'teaching gardens' from which we gave our famous Herb Walk and Gourmet Lunch programs. 

The Herb Walks were an all-day affair, starting with a light herbal breakfast and introduction to the herbs of the season, and moving on to a tour of the roadside, meadow and riverbank wild herbs surrounding the cabin. The climax to the day came with a 6 or 7-course meal that featured all of the wild herbs we had gathered along our walk.

In fact, my first cookbook was a compilation of the three-season recipes I had developed over the 6 years of leading the Riversong Herb Walks. With subsequent moves, the herb walks became a memory only, and I moved on as well..

Which brings me to my newest herb garden. We call it the 'P' garden because TheBigGuy–landscape designer and head gardener poobah–decided that the center of the raised garden should be in the shape of a P (for my name, in case, like me, you didn't get it the first time).

First we tracked the sun as it came around the mill, which looms higher on the south side than even our building, because as everyone knows, herbs need 8 hours of sunlight to thrive. Then we designed the raised beds and TBG built them. Living in a small village with its own brewery has some definite advantages, and we were offered 21 25-kg bags of spent grain from the beer-making process, which we mixed with 3-way soil. [The soil was actually hot when we started planting out the herbs.]
While TBG was hauling around soil and grain mash, I was up on the second floor pouring over Richter's catalogue. About 200 plants were ordered, and last weekend, they went in. Here in southwestern Ontario, the golden rule of planting is "not before the 24th of May weekend" due to rogue frosts that are prone to devastate new seedlings.

A whole week later and two days of obliging gentle rain, and the plants are looking exceptionally healthy...enough so, that we have already enjoyed the first of many fine green salads...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I learnt so very much from this post. And that photograph of herbs is so evocative and makes one want to go into the kitchen.



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