Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Design a Kitchen Garden plus The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook talk at the Strauss Museum

I was very honored to have been asked to provide a presentation at the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society about How to Design a Kitchen Garden plus talk about my book, "The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook."

An edible double-header, no?!

The Strauss Museum is the charming Victorian home of the Historical Society and an ideal, homey, venue for a talk about homegrown food.

The Atlantic Highlands Historical Society volunteers couldn't have been nicer.  Kathleen Ligon - while out of town helping family in Arizona -- still managed to write and distribute a press release for the event and the news ran in a number of local news sources, including the Asbury Park Press, The Atlantic Herald and local blogs.

I did several interviews with local news, and the feature story with the Two River Times about post-Sandy garden restoration, included an announcement about the talk.

All that pre-event buzz plus the support of my garden design clients and word of mouth, made for a very well attended talk.
In fact, it was pretty much SRO.

I had checked out the room the week before so I was already in Victorian-design heaven envy.
When they say "They don't make them like that anymore," couldn't be more true than at the Strauss.
The green tiles around the fireplace, the parquet floors, the wood paneling -- it's all so quality.  And lovely.

The audience seating was set up in the parlor and extended out to the wide, wide hallway.

The guests were so friendly and kind and enthusiastic -- very keen to learn how to grow their own food.
And there were more than a few Master Gardeners in attendance too!

Show & Tell
I brought lots of seed catalogs to enhance my point that there is not one kind of any plant.
We've gotten so far away from growing our own food or knowing anything about plants -- edible or ornamental -- that all too often, people don't realize there is more than one kinds of say, tomato or sage or lavender or..
I refer to the seed catalog as a "Look Book" because like a fashion collection the catalogs present the most beautiful, sexiest plants that seduce us to possess them.
We have to have them!

I also brought a number of books from the library in order to illustrate how easy it is to get DIY books on how to design a kitchen garden.
Or to learn more about the plants. Or to learn more about the soil. Or to learn more about plant care.
One could devote an entire life to any of these subjects.

I brought a full-color kitchen garden design I did some years ago for a client where I divided a blah strip along a fence in the front of the house into color-coordinated parterre bed sections divided by pea gravel.  Each bed boasted a design and the color themed vegetables and herbs.
It was/is so pretty (post-Sandy, not so much..)  
It was/is fun, too, with Jersey corn, melons, a pizza garden with basil and tomatoes, a red garden with swiss chard, red carnations, strawberries and red-hued herbs, for example.

The garden design layout is very pretty too and I used the drawing to show how one can plot out a formal kitchen garden.

I forgot to bring the soil jar test sample we readied the week before...

So there was lots of pass around, show & tell material.
Afterwards a guest asked to borrow one of the catalogs!

The talk was about an hour long.  The presentation slides cooperated so no tech hassles once we got it to go full-screen with the help of my savvy (and beautiful) neighbor, Stacy.  
Stacy to the tech rescue
She has two perfect daughters too.  She surprised me by attending - and there I was asking for her help!

We enjoyed a very lively Q&A too.  Good questions and thoughtful input.

Here I will share most of the Powerpoint presentation and a few extra images.
Sorry for the photo "dump" but somehow all the photos from the file got onto the blog post! And I don't want to tease the blog gods so will leave it as karma...

our GardenState farm-ette overlooking the Raritan Bay & Sandy Hook

Our Herb Garden off the terrace
Not our house - ha!  Gotta love a White House/The People's House with a kitchen garden. Finally...

Our homegrown leeks

starting our seeds

The audience gathers before the talk. The gorgeous redhead? Maria - my beloved garden muse I cite in the Homegrown book's Acknowledgements -  & a garden design client

I'm showing two of my garden designs in the book, "The Cottages & Mansions of the Jersey Shore"

Video of Soil Sample Testing


Laying out our farm-ette some years ago

Thanks to everyone who attended, purchased a Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook and supports sustainable, edible gardens.

Happy Eating. Happy Gardening.
It is the ultimate in luxury.  And that's true glamour....


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