Saturday, July 18, 2009

A welcoming sight - and the story of "Lila beans"

The Shepherd has planted these bright and cheery zinnias in the front bed by our gate - this picture was teken about a week ago and they are already about 1/2 again bigger and brighter.

He had some left over so he planted them in pots for my planter by the back door.

His corn, sunflowers and pumpkins are all growing on the same row.

Unfortunately, the thieving raccoons have been stripping the ears off his corn this year. He is not a happy camper! Next year? Electro-net!

The green beans are coming on like gangbusters. He picked two of the BIG yellow Tupperware bowls full of beans today - 1 green and 1 purple. I'll snap the green beans tomorrow a.m. to take with us to our church potluck tomorrow. We call them "Lila" beans - here's their story -

The original bean that these came from were found in the crop of a duck that "Lila"'s father shot over 100 years ago up at their home up in Canada. Ever the frugal wife, Lila's mom decided to keep the beans for the next spring and see if they would grow. Turned out they not only grew but they provided very tasty beans - both green and dried. The family kept the seeds from year to year. Lila took some with her when she married Leonard and set up their own farm here in Whatcom County. What they didn't eat fresh or save to dry for seed, Lila would can.

When I first met Lila, she was in her late seventies. Leonard's family was one of the founding families of the little church that we go to, and whenever there was a potluck, Lila always brought a big pan of beans for the dinners - As Lila was getting on in age, she knew she would not be able to keep planting these beans forever, so one year, for our fund-raiser auction, she provided 4 or 5 little jars of seed to auction off. We bought one of the jars, and, since then, Lila has passed on. The Shepherd has now become "The Keeper of the Beans". Unfortunately, they don't freeze well (and I don't do canning) but they are excellent fresh - so I freeze the extra purple pole beans that we have, and for three or four glorious weeks in the summer we have all the Green Beans that one would ever want.

He will save enough seed for ourselves and for about 2 dozen plants to sell at our church's summer plant sale where they are very popular. (although when he's told people what we call them "Lila beans" they often will say, "Oh, I don't like Lima beans" and so the story of the duck beans gets told over and over.

We also have two huge patches of nasturtiums that reseed from year to year. They are bright and cheery too - sometimes I don't think that the digital photo's capture the color as well as they could. I used some in a green salad that I took to some friends last week. It was very pretty.

Across the driveway from the nasturtium bed are the "Turk's cap" lilies - they don't have any fragrance, but they are very cute, don't you think.

I hope you've enjoyed our walk through the garden. Come again soon, you hear?


Franna said...

Wow! Your garden puts ours to shame, and I love the story of the Lila beans. Do you have enough to share with us? :-) :-)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I would love to buy some Lila beans, too. You have such a beautiful place -- but we should expect that from a landscape professional, right? ;-)

thecrazysheeplady said...

Great story!

vlb5757 said...

Your beans and flowers look great. My beans got attacked by Japenese Beetles and did take a little longer to recover the attack but we have been getting some beans every few days. The rabbits have discovered my lima beans and I doubt we will get much yield from them. I second what Michelle says! Can he come here and do my backyard???

Mim said...

Wonderful story and your garden is beautiful. Our garden is not so good here this year.

Kathy said...

I, too, would like to buy some of Lila's Beans seeds. Would the Shepherd be willing to sell some to the Shepherdess? :)

Let me know and I'll start counting my "beans" to send him.

Lovely story. And it was really good to talk to you.

Leigh said...

Your garden is gorgeous! And it has it's own heritage too. Beautiful photos. Hugs to you all!

Sharon said...

Electro-net sounds like something I need to know about. I've never heard of it, but it makes sense. We have everything imprisoned in wire cages. I like Electro-net already. I hope you'll blog about it.