Green with ambition

Little Jack would have been envious of the package I got in the mail this week.

I might not have a chance at the golden goose, but I am one happy gardening gourmand now that my seeds have arrived for the season.

We have our trusty vertical garden indoors during winter, so we have had a winter taste of home-grown lettuce and a few herbs.

Now, things kick into high gear though; I get the greenhouse dusted off and set up, till the vegetable garden and start to plant my herb seeds.

I am fortunate to have plenty of garden space here at Rabbit Hollow. I have raised boxes for my perennial herbs and edible flowers, and two small plots for some quirky plants like chervil, ginger mint, Queen Anne’s lace and edelweiss.

Then, there is the greenhouse for peppers, and the veggie garden for oddities such as black carrots and cucamelons and rainbow tomatoes.

Oh, and we have our edible fence of berries and stone fruit.

Hobbies can often get obsessive. Once we get enthusiastic about something we love, we want to learn more, do more with our skills and try whatever is new.

For me, that means planting unusual vegetables and lesser-known herbs and edible flowers. I fill all the spaces with my new finds each year; my enthusiasm knows no bounds.

There is a saying, “a man should never plant a garden larger than his wife can take care of.” When I stroll through the gardens on summer mornings and enjoy the many colours and aromas, I love all the bounty.

At the end of the day, though, when my back is aching and I look up knowing I’ve only made it halfway through the weeds, then I wonder if my wonderful hubby might have overestimated my ability.

My main problem is that I am a wimp when it comes to plants. Much of what I plant are old varieties, often heirlooms, which means their seeds can sprout freely, growing volunteer seedlings.

In the spring, when I see the new shoots that have managed to get through the composted winter leaves, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

It takes all my inner strength to channel more of a practical attitude and remember they are not part of my original plan.

(Our farmer neighbour told me once that a weed is a plant growing where you don’t want it. She is right, I must stay strong.)

For those of you who shudder at the thought of maintaining more than a few window boxes, I am here to tell you that satisfaction is possible without obsession.

Gardening uses all our senses, making us focus on being in the moment without other distractions.

Even a little bit of time spent digging in the dirt is a great way to find moments of inner calm. Growing things also gives us a sense of accomplishment, and a chance to connect with Nature.

Maybe you like rewards for your work. If you want to add in the component of harvesting what you grow, those window boxes can be lovely with lettuces or herbs instead of flowers.. Or, you can look for edible blossoms to add in salads or use for garnishes.

(NOTE: These are best planted by seed unless your nursery bedding plant mentions it is edible.)

I know there are those who have no interest in getting their hands dirty or worrying about tending to plants. But what if I told you I can offer you a wee taste of what it’s like to be in the garden, or eat fresh produce, maybe venture out to a quaint village market with garden stalls?

From Here You Can’t See Paris by Michael Sanders is a delightful tale of a family that spends a year living in a rural French village. It will give you a dose of gardening, cooking, culture, history and beautiful views – all from the comfort of your patio chair.

I know not all of us are destined to be gardeners like Jack with his beanstalk. But everyone can enjoy the benefits in their own way.

As all those volunteer plants have taught me over the years, there is always room for one more to enjoy the space.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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