Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Love Elizabeth Park!

My grandfather left me a trunk full of slides, many of the park in the 50's
Day 56
The Daily DuBrule

Tonight I spoke to a large group of people at the Pond House in Elizabeth Park in Hartford. I got there about a half hour early, about 5 p.m. and the parked was packed. Folks on blankets, basking in the sun. Teenagers playing frisbee. Joggers. Mothers pushing strollers. The greenhouse was packed to the rim with gorgeous flowering plants. There were beds of yellow daffodils in bloom. The birds were singing, the ducks were quacking, and everyone was happy. I LOVE Elizabeth Park. It sits on the border of West Hartford and Hartford. I spend my childhood there. My grandparents took us there constantly to run in the rose and flower gardens, listen to band concerts, swing on the swings, and skate on the pond. As an adult and a professional gardener, I was thrilled to return to find this park is a horticultural mecca.

I spoke tonight on blending edibles with ornamentals. This is a really fun topic. I explained that you need to understand exactly what an edible plant does for the entire growing season in order to successfully incorporate it into you flower beds. Some edibles like dill or coriander bolt to seed quickly when it gets hot. Ditto for lettuce and spinach. As pretty as they may look in the spring, they won't go the distance in the flower garden. Other food plants are absolutely gorgeous. Swiss chard comes in rainbow colors of red and golden yellow. 'Bull's Blood' beets have deep burgundy red, glossy leaves. 'Ruby Streaks' mustard is a frilly green. Peppers have glossy leaves and grow to a manageable size in any garden. Scarlet runner pole beans can climb up a trellis. Their brilliant red blossoms are edible and taste like beans! The flowers attract hummingbirds, an added bonus.

As with the other talks I have given this winter on growing food, everyone had questions. There is such a lot of interest in this topic. No matter where people live, how small the yard, even if their gardening endeavors are limited to containers on the deck or patio, you can grow food. Edible figs. Purple carrots. Kale. Yum. Give it a shot. As I said at the end of my talk, stretch a little this year outside of your edible comfort zone and grow a few new types of food in your gardens this year.

1 comment:

  1. We attended the talk and as always you have sooooooooo much garden information to share!! I can't wait to go out tomorrow before I go off to the Uconn Perennial Conference in Storrs and plant some arugula, peas and spinach! I took a peep at my hardy "Chicago Fig" which is in its 3rd year in the ground. I cover it with evergreen boughs in late December. It's looking great and the figs last year were delicious!!