My parents are fabulous gardeners. Give them something vaguely leafy, sometimes thorny and often petally, and they will turn it into something verdant and sweet smelling. "Obsessed" isn't the right word, but nearly every square inch of the backyard was taken up by veggies, half the side and nearly the whole the front yards are inhabited by bushes, flowers and flowering bushes.
No wonder I believed they loved their plants more than they loved me...why else would they name me Jasmine?
Needless to say, I didn't take an active part in the care of my surrogate siblings. Sure: I'd eat what came out of the veggie patch--if only to lessen the enemy's numbers--but other than that, I found gardening so distasteful that I couldn't even be bothered to learn flower names. Yes, I can usually identify easy things like bleeding hearts, daffodils, irises, roses and tulips...but the rest are prone to my own naming conventions. Flowers are either fluffy or pointy. To distinguish them I'll add the colour. For example this is a yellow fluffy flower and this is a purple pointy flower. And for the reord, I prefer fluffy to pointy...all those angles....glah. I've never really needed to know more than that.
That's not to say I'm totally inept at caring for plants (or eating them, for that matter). According to friends with thumbs of green, my instincts are pretty bang on. I just look at the blessed things, decide what their problems are and then go about my business in fixing things as I see fit. They almost always become happier. At worst, they stay the way they are. Yes...I suppose gardening could be in the genes.
One of my friends told me because I really don't care what happens to plants, that's why it's easier for me to make "hard decisions"... apparently pruning is a hard decision. What's so hard? Just get out a snippy thing and snippety snip...
I fully admit when it came time to tend to my little patch of dirt, I needed some handholding. It's one thing to play around in the back where no one can see the mess you're making, but the front entry is a little different.
Sara has green thumbs, toes, elbows and earlobes, all of which contribute to her horticultural reputation. In return for her not making my front garden an embarassment, I offered her lunch.
Of course, me being me, I decided that there were plants I wanted to incorporate--I'd seen them in other people's flower beds or in sales flyers and just kept note of things. Apparently I came up with a pretty good mix of plants--all easy peasy lemon squeezy. Pretty darned close to idiot-proof. She was impressed.
She inspected my soil (I have worms!--in what other context would that phrase be joyous in this blog?), looked at the light and pondered my pie-shaped plot. Off her notepad came a simple but lovely little garden plan. Off we went to the nursery to buy my patch's new inhabitants.
While she yanked out the vegetal interlopers I busied in the kitchen, pulling together a lunch of salad and lemon-rosemary grilled chicken sandwiches with feta on ciabbata. Mediterranean flavours zhuzh what could be a rather ordinary sandwich, but what I think made the sandwich extra tasty was the feta spread.
To make the sandiwich, pound a boneless chicken breast flat and marinate in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, minced garlic and rosemary for 15 minutes at room temperature. Then grill.
Line the bottom slice with greenery of your choice (I chose a mesculin salad mix), roasted bell peppers and cooked chicken. Spread the top slice with the feta spread and close up the sandwich. If you've time, tighly wrap in cling and squoosh it with something heavy so as to have a pressed sandiwich. Serve with salad or soup.
Mix together the following ingredients into a smooth paste:
100g cream cheese, softened
50g feta cheese
1 tsp basil pesto
1 garlic clove, finely minced