The August Garden

On tonight's menu.....scarlet runner beans, stupice and sungold tomatoes, Tennis ball courgette.

August is my favorite time in the garden.   I have cut flowers in my kitchen daily and our meals are planned around what's ripening in the kitchen garden.  Whether I'm up close to vibrant black-eyed Rudbeckia, picking tomatoes or looking out from a window, August is when I feel most content with life at home and in the garden.

I'm a grateful gardener.  Not only is a well cared for garden a source of joy, it also improves my health.  I love planning meals around what's growing outside...there is nothing that tastes as good or is as healthy, as freshly picked vegetables. And while I don't have a money tree, this year's bumper crop of tomatoes and abundant blooms have been welcome gifts by my friends and families.  

My garden is always in transition and last years lessons are this year's success stories.  While a rainy spring meant a late start to the summer, I'm really pleased with what I was able to get checked off my "to-do" list from last fall.

  • Compost: My one year old plastic compost bin is now full of beautiful, rich compost that will be added to the garden after all food is harvested.  Recognizing the benefits of high quality and free-to-me compost, I built a large, cedar compost bin that is attractive and purposeful. As I harvest this year's food, vines and plants will be placed into the top and taken out the lower front door put back into the earth next year.  It's easy to do and with all the fresh food and Lavazza coffee drank in my house, the quality of my compost is higher than I would find elsewhere.
  • Raised bed kitchen garden:  A couple of years ago I went cycling in southern France and I have long remembered the classic French "potager" garden at the back of the villa where I stayed in Provence.  Inspired by my memories I was determined to build one for myself this year. I began to excavate my yard and bring in stone for the walls while planning where the courgette, lavender, herbs and tansy would go.  I built a bamboo structure for a variety of runner beans and loved how it looked at the back of the yard...but then life got busy, August was hot, and well...."Shed Happened".  So, for this year, I've downgraded my results from "French potager" to "kitchen garden".  Lots of good food, but the aesthetic isn't there yet! 
  • Red:  My mom avoided red flowers in her garden saying they "caught the eye" at the expense of the rest.  Last year I planted some Crocosmia "Lucifer" corms and I'm hooked by the orangey-red color.  I've moved in some poppies and added bright coral Geum (thanks to She Shed colleague Bonnie).  Fabulous and showy...I think my mom would probably forgive me this vibrant and eye catching indulgence!

And August will soon draw to a close...I'd love to hear about how your garden grew this summer!

Colleen Alexander

Colleen Alexander offers tailored human resource solutions to organizations who want to build capacity, strengthen internal capabilities and increase employee engagement. Individuals seeking professional career transition services benefit from Colleen's expertise and extensive network in seeking a new job or career. Colleen's management consulting background includes writing winning proposals and grant applications, customer surveys and marketing. Colleen is the Founder and Creative Director of The She Shed (www.thesheshed.ca).