Yet I'm very happy with my little flower and vegetable garden, which I am very gradually expanding, one square foot at a time. The big bed in the front, which we paid Rick to dig out and line with large cement blocks to create a raised bed, hosts a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, including the red giant mustard and Swiss chard I've been enjoying sauteed, in salads, and on the bison burgers Carl cooks for us every other week. The mustard is so easy and quick to grow that I plan to grow it year round if it doesn't bolt when our really hot weather arrives; it even sprouted in the grass from a handful of seeds I spilled and ignored utterly.

The flower bed in front of our window is full of a variety hardy, fast-growing zinnias, two types of sunflower, and a lone black-eyed susan my mom gave me, which I planted there simply because I had no more suitable place for it. Even the sunflowers are not yet tall enough to be seen well from the wide, front window, but I can see just the tops of their leafy heads and I like to see them waving in the wind or dancing in the rain. I'm looking forward to watching them track the sun's movement through the sky once they bloom and I know my zinnias will faithfully grace us with their color all summer long, and I've no choice but to be patient.

In a narrow strip of soil between the border of that flower bed and the path to our front door I planted an ancient pack of sweet basil seeds, which surprised me by sprouting almost immediately. The Red Rubin basil seeds I planted just across the way haven't fared so well, because I repeatedly disturbed the soil where they grew to plant a lovely, pale pink miniature rose and a typically robust lemon grass beside my already large and still spreading rosemary (is it any surprise? After all, rosemary is said to thrive near homes run by the women therein).

I have some seeds sprouting (or not) on our round table on the back patio. I'm disappointed that none of my blue shrimp plant seeds have sprouted, but I may need to scarify them with sandpaper or soak them to encourage them to germinate. I have gotten one, deep red sprout Love-Lies-Bleeding, which I'm hoping I can transplant to the front vegetable bed and nourish to its full, stately height. My calendula sprouts are doing well, as are the bush beans, the absolutely miniscule Phoenician mullein sprouts, and the little lamb's ears. Most of the seeds that have not germinated are very old, some of them were packaged for sale for 1995, but I thought I might as well give them a chance.

As Six_Bells_Chime suggested I'm going to plant some catnip in a hanging basket for the back patio, to keep the little fiends away from it! Then I can dole it out to them whenever I want a little entertainment. I've got a lot of other seeds to plant, as well, plenty that I ordered from Seeds of Change and a few common herbs my mom picked up at the most recent garden sale/show we attended at the Botanical Garden.

I think I may add a few sweet potatoes to my bulb garden if I can get some to sprout or find some cheap sweet potato slips at one of the local garden centers; I'll probably try Laughing Buddha, because the owner often has harder-to-find plants and supplies, although her overall selection is fairly limited. She also often has adorable baby animals, like the piglets and ducklings I saw during my last visit.

I'm already thinking of my fall and winter garden, which I want to fill with black flowers and plenty of poppies; Poppies do beautifully in New Orleans through autumn and winter, and I love their scent, which reminds me of the love story of Krishna and Radha, but they start looking rather strained after April. If I get ambitious I may even start some foxglove this fall; I've had luck getting them to bloom the first year and getting them through our hot summer before, so I know it can be done. I'm going to plant more vegetables, too, and I'd especially like to grow radishes, raddichio, and parsnips, and I would like to eventually grow asparagus.


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