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The delicate beauty of the rich orange pomegranate flower always amazes me.

The delicate beauty of the rich orange pomegranate flower always amazes me. My tree this year, its third, is flush with flowers which means lots of fruit this fall!

Sometimes neglect yields great surprises. My garden is my sanctuary and I feel very disconnected when I am not able to spend time weeding and cultivating. These times when I feel so overwhelmed by life, my friend Mother Nature steps in as if to say, “I’ve taken care of your garden for you so you can catch your breath.” This seems to be a frequent occurrence in my land of fruits and vegetables.

Handfuls of mini, almost like wild, strawberries suddenly populated their leafy home.

Handfuls of mini, almost wild-like strawberries suddenly propagated prolifically in their fertile home.

The month of March entered and left so quickly that when I finally took time yesterday to purge the lettuce gone to seed, I was able to take a closer look at the activity. It was as if a magic spell was cast upon my garden and my fairy godmother left behind a few things to surprise me.

A layer of gravel lays between my raised garden beds. It’s not unusual for random weeds to pop up and survive in this bone dry rocky dirt. Over the weeks, I watched as unusual “weeds” randomly sprouted. I did not pull them out, thinking they might be dandelions. Yesterday their identity was revealed – they are Italian Chicory from last winter’s garden. How amazing that they rooted themselves in gravel, amid serious neglect and are now growing tall dark green stems! Even though I am surprised, these guys found a place to camp that mirrors their native southern Italy with its dry, arid weather. This was one of my favorite plants last year as it finished off its cycle with profuse periwinkle blue blossoms that continued to bloom into May. These squatters can stay as long as they like.

I would never have guessed that Italian Chicory could survive in a land of gravel.

I would never have guessed that Italian Chicory could survive in a land of gravel.

The leaves of my hidden beets are so pretty, I admired them, (and ate their leafy green tops all winter) longer than I should have. As I finally plucked them from the earth, they emerged as veggies on steroids, at least twice their normal size. Lesson learned. These will be pickling beets – ginger pickled – to be enjoyed for weeks to come.

Heirloom beets with an attitude!

Heirloom beets with an attitude!

As I made my way to the back fence to check on my grapes, all I could do was gasp. My severe pruning last fall paid off and now the vines are reaching over the fence. The best surprise – teeny, tiny clusters of lime green infant grapes clinging to the tendrils! It was as if they grew a foot overnight. Summer fruits awaits.

I love the delicious green grape leaves that will soon decorate the length of my fence.

I love the delicious green grape leaves that will soon decorate the length of my fence.

It’s time to plant tomatoes and I am in love once again! Thank you my gardening fairy godmother for continuing to keep me dazzled and inspired.

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Ciao for now! Love,

Mary