Friday, December 14, 2012

Garden Haul! or: The End of the Beginning, Part 1

Well, with the year and semester being over, we begin to hunker down for the cold months that await us. As the lake freezes and the soil sounds crunchy beneath our feat, we turn now to Loyola's Medieval Garden? 

Just how did she fair this fall? Well, there's an old saying: If at first you don't succeed, redefine success! I kid, I kid. But the semester has had its ups and its downs, for sure. First, I think I need to reiterate just how I found the garden:

Though the image quality is dreadful, you can see the overgrowth and the lack of order. Fennel, Pseudo-Hyssop, Creeping Charlie, Crabgrass and thistles were allowed to run rampant over the entire garden. Some of that is still present, I'm afraid, but through hard work a lot has been accomplished. 

The pansies added in September. Much to our dismay, rabbits loved pansies and not in the good way. 

My friend and graduate student Hector Escobar tilling the soil. In December. Odd weather we've been having.

The harvest was not plenty but the workers were indeed few.

The man of action himself. Take note, readers on how a man disposes of chaff. 
With some photos explaining our progress over the semester, it's time you folks found out just what we were able to pull out of the garden.

Our various root vegetables.  

Much like the real Middle Ages, only 20% of my children reached maturity!

Medieval Studies: Now with more hardship!(TM)
As Hector and I were pulling out our produce, I could not help but chuckle at the realization that if this were the real Middle Ages, I would have insured my own demise this winter with the pitiful haul. 

I believe it really is a combination of the extraordinarily dry and hot summer, the lack of rain, and resurgence of the rabbit population on Loyola's campus that hindered this particular growing season.

Despite these setbacks, I remain hopeful for the spring. Several big plans are in store for the garden:
  1. Expansion of main garden/potager zone 
  2. New Signs explaining both the garden and the labyrinth to encourage individual learning and satisfy curiosity.
  3. New plants to be installed, such as catmint, borage, chervil, and more
  4. Possible creation of a dedicated strawberry patch
  5. NEW! Terraced garden - we have plans to start terracing the potager, to give our garden a very distinctive and medieval look to it. We are currently working out the details, but be sure to look to it in the new year!
  6. Construction of a fence to keep critters from eating our produce
Points #5 and #6 are definitely what I am most excited about. Not just because a fence ensures that our plants can thrive and survive, but the terrace would really bring attention to the garden and I think considerably raise appreciation for it. 

So while the semester is indeed ending, and my internship is coming to a close, the garden (or my work there, it seems) is far from over. Winter gives the soul and nature time to rebuild itself, and reflect on the passing year. In our case, the other new Medieval Studies interns and I will now reflect on bringing our Medieval Garden into Loyola's future. 

-to be concluded-

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