February has brought the familiar heat of summer and the garden has slowed down, a bit. The carrot seedlings took longer to sprout. Just as I was going to give up on them, I began to notice the hair-like growth pushing through the soil, after a few damp, cooler days.
Plants are so clever. Nature knows what we do not know. The garden happens on its own time. What if the Crinium Moorei lilies in my neighbour’s garden are flowering profusely and mine, just a festival of leaves? It was I that gifted the bulbs years ago. Now I share in the joy of their floral profusion as I wait for my mine to follow suit.
Gardening is a shared joy. I share plants with pleasure. The joy of them returns in so many ways. To plant vegetables is a life-enriching experience. One that is filled with the joys of harvest and the agony of failure.
We had little of the latter, I am happy to say. We are harvesting and eating healthy vegetables that defy description. How can I describe how it feels to plan a meal from a packet of seeds? To watch the seedlings grow. To harvest the healthy organic produce. To enjoy as a celebratory meal under the oaks.
|Fresh green beans with pink tomatoes and olives|
To spend time in a garden is one of the best forms of therapy. Apparently, gardening decreases the levels of cortisol. That is, the hormone which is released during stress. Gardening is more than conventional occupational therapy. I can agree with that. We spend a lot of time in the garden planting, sowing, weeding and harvesting. One does feel rejuvenated by any gardening activity.
|Purple figs and gorgonzola|
Where possible, we enjoy our meals in the garden. Eating a healthy meal that was growing less than an hour before. I don’t know what the other vegetables must think of us, eating their friends and family in full view.
What can be better than a traditional South African braai (barbeque)? Making fire is another form of therapy. When there is fire, I take the opportunity to roast in season brinjals and make from them, a baba ganoush.
The smokiness of the fire-roasted brinjals, compliments the other ingredients from the garden. These include the likes of lemon, garlic and parsley. For good measure I use my homemade tahini.
|Homemade baba ganoush|
For us, there can be no better way to celebrate the Towerwater garden than to eat from, out of, and in it. Home-grown food rejuvenates the mind, body and soul. Enjoying a meal al fresco on a hot summer’s day, is a good opportunity to enjoy a local wine or craft beer. Refreshments barely made a stone’s throw from the house.
|Local craft beer|
Nothing beats sitting back and inhaling the fragrance of summer. It is a fragrance that hangs in the air with hints of lavender, rosemary, geranium, meaty smoke from an open fire and the hint of yeast emanating from a crafted beer.