Blog Going Green

Blog Going Green

This is the time of year when Vermont truly lives up to its name—seemingly overnight, the trees have leafed out, the grass has shot up, and mountains, fields, and yards are now intensely, startlingly green.

All around town, gardeners are watching pea plants break through the dirt and anxiously checking the weather forecast to see if they need to cover their heirloom tomato seedlings. Enormous patches of vaguely prehistoric-looking rhubarb leaves have sprung up, smack in the middle of otherwise unremarkable lawns. And in the perennial corner of the vegetable garden, the asparagus and strawberry beds have come back to life.

Strawberries are beloved and celebrated (and grown) in every state, but I'm willing to bet that they're anticipated more eagerly up North, where we could do with some color and freshness after the long, cold winter. When the first white flower buds start showing against those glossy green leaves, we pull out the shortcake and pie recipes and start dreaming about eating juicy strawberries. And while Vermont may be better known for the sugar-on-snow suppers of mid-March, folks line up just as impatiently outside Granges and church halls every June for a meal capped by a generous helping of crimson strawberries, tender biscuits, and genuine whipped cream—summer in a bowl!

The Rutland Garden Club (of which I'm a member) plants and maintains colorful pocket gardens throughout the city. To raise money for the supplies, we're holding our own strawberry lunch later this month, complete with strawberry bread, strawberry salad, and of course, shortcake. In keeping with the garden theme, we'll serve the meal outdoors—in my yard, which means I have a lot of gardening work to do. I've been weeding, clearing, trimming, edging, and mulching for weeks. Thank goodness for perennials. The phlox is blooming now and by the time the lunch takes place, the Shasta daisies and stella de oro lilies should be in full swing.

Everyone who comes to our lunch will take home a strawberry plant, a recipe book, and a tulip-shaped cookie cutter. I hope that the plants all bear fruit, and that the recipes and cookie cutters are put to good use. And I hope that all three gifts remind everyone, whether they're a serious or casual gardener, about the pleasures of going green.