Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Importance of Garden Cloches

Hello! I’m Katie, otherwise known as “Christie’s Daughter,” and just like Christie, I have the inner heart of Gardener. 
Well, I want to have the inner heart of a gardener, but recently I was just too plain stupid to be awarded the title.  I planted basil before Mother’s Day. 

Ah! I don't want snow-capped basil! 
But I’m not the only foolish one.  Casey recently wanted to surprise a friend with a gorgeous pink Begonia.  Her friend wasn’t home, so Casey left the specimen on the porch…possibly overnight…when it would drop below freezing. I think we know the end of that story. Just like me, Casey was seduced by early warm temperatures and we let our excitement for summer plantings run wild! 

But who is Casey?  Who is "Katie?"  You see, the legend of Garden Pastimes has a quirky family tree.  I’ll tell the tale.  First, Christie “The Strong One” opens Garden Pastimes in a plain cinderblock castle.  A few years later, Joey came along and started doodling murals on the walls and crafting lamp shades by hand (Joey’s not Christie’s daughter, but now as good as one).  These two artists-in-residence strengthen the colorful empire known as Garden Pastimes.  As time passes, young daughter Katie begins “hanging out” around the empire on weekends when not fulfilling quests across the world.  Around the year 2011, the smiley, fair-haired maiden, Casey (Empress Joey’s younger sister) is knighted “part-timer.”     Now, the two young friends in knighthood, Casey and Katie, add a touch of sanity to the ruling duo, while occasionally getting overexcited and impatient about things like gardening.

But this first entry is not about store family dynamics, it’s about my newfound reverence of garden cloches.  Back to business.

Spoiler alert! My basil lives!
I stopped by Surrybrooke recently.  Surreybrooke is an enchanting place, but should never be frequented by people with plant problems.  For those that do…you know what I mean. (Do you talk to your seedlings? Do you only need five more verbenas to call your house a home? Do you know Lacecap hydrangeas more commonly as Hydrangea macrophylla normalis?)

I know I have a problem with herbs, because I don’t think about them rationally.  I can’t just buy multiple identical specimens to fill out my garden, I have to get different varieties of each herb.   The warring Anglophile and Francophile sides of my heart made me buy both English Lavender and the French (“spike”) lavender.  I bought three types of thyme. Although we’ll use mostly sweet basil for cooking, I insisted on getting three varieties of basil.  Why?!  I have no idea.

A gratuitous picture of my cats and herbs
Because I wasn’t using my rational brain when I bought the herbs, I also wasn’t using it when I planted my herbs.   I know I shouldn't have planted before Mother’s Day, but what did I do?   I planted my herbs on April 20th.   But I love them! I had to!  Imagine my terror when I saw the weather forecast… frost… freezing temperatures… snow?!?

Finally, here’s where the cloches come into play.   I covered my basil with garden cloches. During the day, the soil stays warm from the sun.  As the sun sets and the temperature drops, heat from the soil is released. The cloche retains the warmth, keeping the plants from freezing. After multiple nights of below freezing temperatures, and one night of slight snow, my herbies live!  

What is the importance of Garden Cloches?  They saved beloved plants from an often irrational, occasionally mistaken gardener (admittedly in-training).  

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