I'm going to participate in VP's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner meme, but first I want to share some photos from a class I taught on Saturday at Project Grow, a local community gardening group. "Fun with Winter Seed Sowing" is my favorite class and I'm always excited to present it. This time, I also included a hands-on sowing session. This meant a little extra prep work sorting out supplies and tools (soil mix, plant labels, seeds, milk jugs, peat pots, spray bottles, pencils, spoons, scissors, and the handyman's secret weapon, duct tape). The night before class, I drilled about 250 holes into milk jugs (~10 holes each on 25 milk jugs) and pre-soaked some 75 peat pots (3 per person). Because we're really living the high life here at Garden Faerie's Musings, I can tell you.
Here's what Sandy looked like all loaded up. The trunk was full holding the milk jugs (big black plastic bag and two paper grocery bags) and visual aids (peach plastic bag).
The front passenger seat held the container of the moistened soil mix for the pots, while the floor held a bucket of dry soil mix (for topping the sown seeds), plus some extra soil mix just in case. (As an instructor, you learn to be prepared for contingencies!)
In the back seat you can see my wheeled three-drawer plastic cart which held supplies, another bucket of soil mix...
... and a huge bucket containing the pre-moistened peat pots.
I really wanted to take photos while people were sowing, but my attention ended up being needed to assist here and reassure there, demonstrate techniques, answer questions, engage in friendly banter, and "approve" the duct tape seals around the jugs.
People seemed excited about the idea of winter sowing in general and about their seeds in specific, so that was very gratifying. And on the way home it was so WARM (48F y'all!), I drove with the windows down!!!
And for those of you interested in my own winter-sown flats, I added two more the previous weekend during balmy temps of 42F! I only wore cotton pajamas and a fleece robe outside and I felt overly warm! The snow has melted off the earlier trays, but is still on the ground in the background.
Now, on to VP's meme. As usual, timing is not my strong suit. I believe my dinner should have taken place on February 7, but no matter. My table is set for February 9. And fear not. This slight delay just means reduced traffic congestion and slightly warmer temperatures.
And, I must stress, this shan't be a dinner as I'm not that great a cook. It will be more of an afternoon tea or Kaffee und Kuchen, similar to what I hosted in early December. In case anyone is a bit peckish for non-sweet treats, I'll also make hummus and triangle flatbread chips. (If those were the only food of mine you'd ever tasted, you would swear I were Martha Stewart!)
I would also use retro cool dishes, if I had a complete set, something along the lines of these (which I photographed in an antiques mall)!
Now, guests. Paul James is first and foremost. Not only does he know a lot about gardening, so it would be fun to have a good natter about plants, but he's also funny, practical, and irreverent, and he loves talking about food. (Hey! I said I don't like cooking, not that I don't like food!) I've sung his praises in an earlier post, so I won't babble on again.
Next, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), a pioneer in garden design, and a woman who earned her own living at a time when that was unusual. She was also a writer, painter, and plant aficionado. I just know she would have a blog, if she were alive today. I'd like to find out more about how she grew up, and what compelled her in her work. And, I must pose an admittedly pointed question: what was her beef with the color fuchsia? You see, one of my favorite heirloom annuals, love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), went out of style in the early 1900s after Jekyll declared her distaste for fuchsia flowers and banned them from her own gardens. She was such a trend-setter, people followed her lead in their own gardens, and love lies bleeding fell out of fashion.
And finally, Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986), a painter and lover of the natural world who captured the beauty of the landscape on canvas. Also an avid traveler and independent thinker, with whom I'm proud to share a birthday. I was unfamiliar with most of her work beyond the red poppies until I surreptitiously attended an exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum while visiting friends some 10 years ago. I loved her landscapes, especially the abstract. The "From the Lake" series is my favorite, though the scenes of Lake George also speak to me, as do the series of leaves and of cottonwoods. I'd love to talk to her about her travels, especially in the southwest, but also of her time in NYC and Chicago, and most of all, I want to talk to her about her own life journey. She is clearly someone who followed her own muse, and I admire her for it.
So cheers and guten Appetit!