There’s a jazz jam in the garden. No, the zucchini isn’t sitting on a piano bench. The cauliflower isn’t holding drum sticks. But, there’s a sweet sound of music coming from the soil if you have an ear to hear the rhythm in the garden. Spring is when the garden melodies start warming up.
Like a piano, melodic, emanating beautiful chords, the garden flowers delight the soul and sustain the bees. The bass is a steady force, bursting with strength and an occasional solo that arrests the background chatter for a spell. So it goes with the hearty root veggies, the incredible parsnip, the dependable potato and the oh-so-edible rutabaga. The drums are in the background, hardly noticed, but crucial to keep order in the combo. Compost is also unnoticeable, but without it growth is sporadic and spindly. The compost is crucial for a virtuoso harvest.
Throwing a flashy saxophone attention-grabbing riff into the mix is like walking past the pepper patch. The orange habaneros, bright red cayennes and yellow banana peppers grab your attention and slow your step while you think about spicing up the stew pot.
Brass horns provide a solid background with flashes of harmonic brilliance when they take center stage. So does the reliable tomato, sometimes in a sauce, but also topping a salad, adding color, flavor and pizazz. The trombone can slide in like a wild card and take over the gig. A little arugula in the salad has the same effect. So does basil, pesto-ing to center stage, or blueberries that harmonize with just about anything.
The vocalist is the main course, like wild caught jumbo shrimp or grass fed local beef. She is the center stage ingredient, but gives room to the others to shine on their own.
Though all members of the combo are artists in their own right, it takes them all performing together to bring the audience to their feet, demanding an encore. The same goes for the garden. It takes the entire lot of to make a feast.
Inspiration for this post came from a night at the Acton (Massachusetts) Jazz Café. We hope your garden produces a symphony of flavor. -G.H.