Gardening Adventures in April, Part II
Last week, I started my series of Gardening Adventures in April. In Part II of the series, I’ll share about my tour of Colonial Williamsburg with Becky of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.
Becky took me back to Williamsburg and on Sunday I gave two lectures at their 66th Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium: one on edible landscaping and the other on heirloom vegetables and flowers. As usual, when I go to these seminars I always learn something. In this case, it was about both the new and the old. Lee Reich gave a real refresher course on unusual fruits and how they can be used in the landscape and the curator of the Williamsburg vegetable garden, Wesley Greene (whose official title is Gardener of the Historic Trades, Colonial Williamsburg) spoke to the old techniques in gardening. I was struck by how energy-saving and efficient they were. While I was there, I also took time to walk around their historical gardens, and I’m sharing my photos with you here.
The evening lighting captures the vivid colors of late spring. Note the wonderful middle bed filled with four fig trees and countless thyme and rosemary plants. Our ancestors needed the edibles to survive but added the flowers for their own pleasure.
Cold frames are a time-honored way to grow leafy greens over the winter and to start seedlings in the spring in cold climates. Like all good cold frames, this one is shorter on the south side to let in more sun. Notice the windowpanes, now stored behind the frame to let in the heat during the day. On cold days and at night, they are put on top to hold in the heat. Note, too, the heirloom lettuces, in all their glory.
Imagine my luck watching this cardinal look for caterpillars among the broccoli. After a while, he came out with a great big, fat caterpillar and commenced to eat it. All of a sudden, his wife appeared and harangued him. “That’s for the kids. You can’t eat that!” I got so swept up in the drama I didn’t photograph that part. Sorry. Natural pest control aside, these heirloom broccolis and cauliflowers will produce for months, unlike their modern cousins who produce one large head, and maybe a few small ones, all within two weeks.
Boy, wait until you hear the rest of the month. To be continued . . .