With the first welcome snow just gracing the ground, I've already started thinking of planting for the next year. It's easy to do so when frosty gales rattle the house and cause stately sugar maples to twist and sway in place like wall flowers at the edge of a James Brown concert. The seed catalogers know their targets, people like me who after the rich, heavy bounty of Holiday eating, and the profusion of root veggies and waxy greens at the farmer's market, can imagine themselves in the fresh air, grazing among the herbs, vegetables, and flowers. The photos are amazing, as are the descriptions that come with the images. With text and photos like this one for the Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomato ( my favorite!) from Seed Savers Exchange, it's hard not to think rhapsodically about the summertime and the possibilities ahead:
(Solanum lycopersicum) From Ohio SSE member Jerry Lee Bosner. Absolutely gorgeous bicolor beefsteak tomato, great for slicing. Beautiful yellow 1 pound fruits are streaked with red on the blossom end. Sweet and juicy. Heavy producer. Indeterminate, 85 days from transplant.
|(image and tomato description courtesy of Seed Savers.)|
I am also at the stage in several projects, where I am developing planting plans. Both projects include using medicinal plants as the foundation for the landscape experience. I'll be posting more about these projects in the coming weeks, but conceptually, I've been developing the idea of plants in the landscape as a metaphor for illustrating different stages in journeys. Specific plants in planned locations, through their growth habit, texture, smell, medicinal/cultural value and over all beauty (there can be some argument or room for interpretation here) I believe can help guide people as they progress through a garden and can activate the landscape. So often, people only engage nature through a window - car, train, home, plane and the world then becomes a view or scenery. Activating the landscape can inspire people to venture forth and connect to the land on a visceral level where there is exchange and dialog . Plants, especially for me, have that power to activate spaces and bring people out.
My favorite online resources to help plan landscape plantings and learn more about the plants include: