Jun 21, 2009

The pleasures of being a kitchen gardener

To be a kitchen gardener has been a whole new experience for me, one that I relish every second of. Upon arrival I walked out to the kitchen garden, where I was met with what seemed like an endless amount of empty beds. I wondered how many people would possibly be eating the fruit and vegetables. It was then that I found out there were annuals to be sown and many of the beds had dormant perennials in them. Foolish me. So I immediately got to sowing seeds in the greenhouse. From annuals such as Cosmo bipinnatus 'Picotee' ,to vegetables such as Artichoke F1 'Amethyst', to the enchanting perrenial Meconopsis betonicifolia. For awhile the cloches were my only friends out there, who waited for the rhubarb to push their tops off from underneath. Soon the perennials awoke from their beds to introduce themselves. The roller coaster ride of spring had started, and soon enough a barrage of blooms were flying past me. The first to introduce herself was Pyrus communis 'Comtesse de Paris', and it was then I started to feel at home.
With the arrival of spring came more sun, which helped the lettuce seedlings gather together in straight lines so they could each get a turn in the spotlight. And more soon followed. If only all plants were so obedient... some prefer just to run everywhere..Fennel took off, and Broad beans showed up every week with Dill , who worked together to fight off black fly. The potatoes are a shy bunch now, with each time being afraid of exposing too much, thus pulling up more of the soil around to protect themselves. What could they have to hide...
It seemed like overnight most of spring flew by and the vegetables just took off. Filling in nicely, and climbing appropriately up their designated pea sticks.
A colorful bunch they were. Then the perennials showed up, stealing some of the spotlight. And Petal, who always knows how to get attention.

Other cast members include, mustard greens meshing nicely with mangold.

Peas, who slowly work their way up the pea sticks.

Cos lettuce 'Marshall' coinciding with Lettuce 'Green Oakleaf'.
A lovely mix of greens and the shocking colors of the red currants, can't quite hold the attention when the perennial blooms have started to take over. The poppies and foxgloves harmonized well with the peonies. The constant hum of the bees helps me realize I am not the only one finding pleasure in the kitchen garden.
It's a pleasure to witness the whole cycle and details of a plants life.
Papaver sommniferum
Or how colors can harmonize or contrast with each other, or how the evening light changes the garden.
The kitchen garden is chaos held within the hedges of Fagus sylvatica.

Sweet William.... Papaver nudicaule, Papaver sommniferum and Papaver rhoeas. While it is always nice to stand back and admire, it is always enjoyable to harvest. A basket stocked full of greens, rhubarb, carrots, radishes, and peony and dianthus flowers to be taken to the house.

What is sweeter than a bowl of harvested red currants...

As a kitchen gardener, it is enjoyable to deal with plants on every level; sowing seeds, taking cuttings, collecting seed, vegetables, annuals, soft fruits, hard fruits, trees, annuals, and perennials. The wave of work that is done there puts a smile on my face each day, to ride the line between order and chaos is a welcome challenge.


  1. nice work jimmy.

  2. Hello, Jimmy,

    What a gorgeous website! I can hardly choose between the beauty of your photographs and the loveliness of your remarks about the plants and your work. It is truly a joy to look at these "pages." Your work is most inspiring and I wish you continued pleasure in it.

    Thank you so much. Best regards to Petal.

    Eileen (friend of Cathy Mackenzie)
    Saugerties, NY

  3. Hi Jimmy,

    Love your pictures and writings! I got your letter but my reply came back, I need more info on the address. If you still have my email address, send it to me please! =D
    Amy P in GA