Sunday, June 29, 2008

The New Old Real Fake Well

Confused? We have a well in our back yard. It's not a real well, just decorative. But it looks like it could have been real. And it's not old, less than forty years, we reckon (yeah, I said reckon. That's what happens when you live with a southerner).

What the well looks like today.

When we bought the house, I pulled all the overgrown saxifrage out of the well and planted three small lavender plants. They grew up into huge clumps, and they weren't really all that nice. So this spring I relocated the lavender to a place along a south-facing wall, where I think they'll be much happier.

A close-up of campanules in flower.

I planted campanule (bellflower) cuttings in the well from the parent plants out front, and they adjusted pretty quickly to their new home. I also got a mint plant and added it to the well. I suppose that the mint will eventually take over and fill the well. In the meantime, I put a few parsley seeds in the middle and we'll see how they do. So that's the story of the new, old, real, fake well.

The great bergamot experiment.

Speaking of mint, when we were on the island in May, I pinched some cuttings of what we think is bergamot (monarda fistulosa or didyma). They rooted very easily in water and we planted them against the southern wall of the house. They're looking pretty good so far. If they do well, they should have bright red flowers on them next spring.

12 comments:

  1. And I don't even use the verb "reckon" any more. But our British friends sure do. Don't you reckon?

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  2. It's a bit variable. "Reckoning", yes. "I reckon" sounds a bit rural to me. I'll have to think about it.

    About your bergamot: years ago, on the radio programme "Gardener's Question Time", someone asked "What's the best time to take cuttings?", and a very distinguished professor answered "When nobody's looking".

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  3. "Reckon" might not be standard Br.Eng., but I certainly do hear it. It's not standard Am.Eng. either, but it is used in the (rural) South, where I come from. Must be rural in both places, but not in the U.S. Northeast, Midwest, or West Coast areas.

    That distinguished professor is a man after my own heart. Half the plants in our garden come from cuttings we've pinched on our walks and travels.

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  4. Walt, I have the same little campanules in a hanging basket at my backdoor, and they simply look marvellous! Martine

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  5. Hey, I wondered about that well! Wondered if it was really used as a well... thanks for the enlightenment :)

    I never heard the word "reckon" in real life when I lived in New Jersey... sounded SO hick to me then if I heard it on TV. Out here in St. Louis, it's not used except in the most rural areas-- it still feels very southern rural to me, or British.

    Walt, inspired by your birthday "steak au poivre" tradition (yes, I've been reading in your archives again), I made Pork Chops au Poivre yesterday (with sauteed portabello mushrooms thrown in, and with asparagus on the side)... yummmm yummmm yummm. Speaking of archives... you have an architecture degree? and an engineering degree? Holy cow!

    Judy

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  6. "you have an architecture degree? and an engineering degree?"

    And he cooks and paints and walks dogs and .....

    Every house should have a Walt! :)

    BettyAnn

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  7. heh heh, Betty Ann... it looks that way!
    Judy

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  8. autolycus, ken is much more daring than I when it comes to snipping off bits of others' plants. The bergamot was in the courtyard of our rental house, so it was pretty easy.

    martine, I'm hopeful that these will grow over the wall of the well and down the side. I've seen some clinging to rocky walls and they look terrific!

    judy, pork chops au poivre sounds delicious! And yes, Berkeley was good to me.

    bettyann, I'm available for hire. ;)

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  9. OK, I'm totally confused. I always thought bergamot was a citrus. Sort of a cross between a lemon and grapefruit and used to give Earl Grey tea its distinctive aroma. Did a bit of googling and discovered that monarda fistulosa is wild bergamot, a member of the mint family. I learn something new every day.

    And add to the catalog of Walt's talents: he bakes like an angel (assuming angels can be bothered to bake).

    ...Susan

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  10. You'd be worth hiring for cooking and baking alone.

    I have a kitchen, Walt, because it came with the house!

    BettyAnn

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  11. susan, I had the same problem until I did the research - thank goodness for the internet!

    bettyann, I don't come cheap!

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  12. Bergamot is a citrus. We used to eat candied bergamot in Crete with our yogurt. It is also apparently a name used for an herb from NA (which I read smells faintly like oranges - perhaps that's the reason for the repeated name?)

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