History.org: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

The Ancient Gardener's Instructor: Dispatches from Wesley Greene

February 19, 2014

From the Garden: Locust poles and a new apprentice

The hotbed has proved a disappointment, generating but a paltry heat but even with this inconvenience all of the lettuce seedlings have sprouted as well as several varieties of cabbages and the cauliflower so it seems the spring crop has yet persevered.   In the cold frame we have begun to tie the last of the Cos lettuce for blanching as it is the most suitable of all lettuce varieties for producing what the shoppers call “Hearts of Romaine.”

Beds edged with locust poles

Beds edged with locust poles

Rosemary has been utterly destroyed throughout the town which is a singular occurrence as it has been several decades since we have seen such devastation to this normally reliable herb.  What is even more remarkable in my garden is that the Bay Laurel, which stands not six feet from the Rosemary, has escaped the cold unharmed while in past years we have seen the Bay tree frozen to the ground while the Rosemary remained perfectly sound and healthy.  Such is the mystery of nature.

On Monday I uncovered the broad beans, or what the Italians call fava beans, and discovered them largely unharmed by the freezing weather.  With the proper precautions this is certainly one of the hardiest legumes known to man.

Jennifer with marigolds

Jennifer with marigolds

The ground has remained sodden from the frequent rain and snow showers which has given us the opportunity to mend the bed edgings with the locust poles we had previously stripped for this purpose.  They make a very fine show with the shells replenished and raked in the walks.  We completed half the garden this year and will repair the other half next year.

As we bid farewell to Don McKelvey we welcome Jennifer Mrva as our new garden apprentice.  Jennifer has traveled here from the colony of New York in order to practice her trade in a more congenial climate.

 Try recipes with lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower:

To make a Salmagundy

To dress salad

Soup meagre


Leave a Reply

  1. Hi Wesley,
    I hope all is well.

    I’d like to welcome Jennifer to the CW garden. At an appropriate time I think we’d be interested in some of Jennifer’s background. Especially how she came to CW.

    Jennifer, best of luck to you. You have a wonderful and caring teacher in Wesley.

    Have a great Spring,

  2. Welcome Jennifer.