Seeds for Beauty and for Flavor

 

The French term potager expresses the beautiful, ornamental potential of edible plants.

A potager was traditionally a kitchen garden that emphasized beauty as well as fresh flavor. While you might find many of the same things growing in an ordinary vegetable garden and a fancy potager, the vegetable garden is more likely to have utilitarian rows of corn and potatoes and other “crops,” while the potager emphasizes eye-pleasing arrangements of fresh-picked beauties like lettuce, herbs, and even edible flowers. It might be helpful to think of a vegetable garden and a potager, not as distinctly different, but as gardens on a related spectrum. The vegetable garden at one extreme is entirely utilitarian. The potager at the other extreme might resemble the famous gardens at Villandry in France where blue leeks and red cabbages are planted out like annual flowers.

I lost my large vegetable garden with its picket fence and raised beds when we installed a new driveway here at Maplehurst. This year, I’ll be growing some of my own food again, but with a potager flare. I’ve identified a spot near our gravel terrace for four square beds. Here are a few of the eye-catching flavors I’ll be planting out in them:

  • ‘French Breakfast’ radish
  • ‘Cool Mint’ lettuce
  • Arugula
  • basil
  • Swiss Chard
  • ‘Lacinato’ kale
  • Nasturtium
  • Calendula
  • Cherry tomato
  • Beets (red and gold)
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Mini yellow bell pepper
  • viola (like the Johnny Jump-ups pictured above)

 

Introducing: Paper&String

 

For years my words have mostly been poured into my books.

Blog posts became more and more occasional.

We used to talk to one another in the comment section of this blog, and other blogs, but now we talk on social media. Yet I sometimes feel we have less to talk about when we are only responding to an Instagram caption or a Facebook link.

My days of regular, weekly blog writing have ended, but I have been searching for some new way to serve you: my readers.

Is there some way to give you carefully crafted words beyond the books I am continuing to write?

Is there some place where we can still gather and listen to one another? Somewhere quieter and more peaceful than social media, somewhere more communal than my blog?

Friends, there is!

You’ll discover it inside the pages of Paper&String.

Paper&String isn’t a blog, and it isn’t a newsletter.

It’s a digital monthly care package from the Black Barn created–not only by me–but by a community rooted in this place, a community of writers and artists, dancers and dreamers, placemakers and friends called the Black Barn Collective.

In each new Paper&String, we will invite you to

Read

Listen

Taste

Grow

Gather

 

Even better?

We don’t simply want to share beautiful written words, gorgeous artwork, recipes, and other seasonal goodness inspired by Maplehurst–which we will!–we want to get to know you. We want to hear from you. And so, we will also be opening the doors to a virtual Black Barn. During the first week of February only, each subscription to Paper&String comes with membership into a beta online Black Barn community!

No matter where you live, no matter how many miles lie between the front door of this barn and your own front door, you can come in. You can join the Black Barn Collective. We can’t wait to get to know you.

Doors open but doors must also close if they are to shelter those inside. Enrollment is only open for the first week of February. We will open the doors to the virtual Black Barn again but only once we’re sure we’re serving our founding members well.

Sign up here to be notified as soon as subscriptions are open!

Ep. 24 – A Gift For The Listeners We Love

This is a story about placemaking around the table.

This is Chapter Ten of Placemaker in Christie’s own voice (can you hear a hint of Texas drawl?).

Our favorite thing about podcasting is sharing stories with you in our own voices. With Christie’s new book landing in reader’s hands in less than one week, this audio “sneak peek” is our gift to you.  

So, put your feet up, pour the tea (or coffee!), settle in with a blanket or a small child (or both!) and listen to “Norway Maple: Placemaking Around the Table.”

Out of the Ordinary

The podcast for anyone who’s ever felt the nagging frustration of wondering if her life is too small, too boring or too ordinary to make a difference. Lisa-Jo Baker and Christie Purifoy, longtime friends and bestselling authors, explore the surprising ways that cultivating ordinary life leads to extraordinary stories.

Visit our official podcast page!

Christie Purifoy

Christie Purifoy

Co-Host

A writer and gardener, her favorite ordinary things include strawberry jam, homegrown flowers, and old books with someone else’s notes in them.

Find Christie’s books here.

Lisa-Jo Baker

Lisa-Jo Baker

Co-Host

A reader and writer, her favorite ordinary things include hot tea with milk and sugar, a good movie, her mom’s hand-me-down books and Sunday afternoon naps.

Find Lisa-Jo’s books here.

RECENT PODCASTS

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#outoftheordinarypodcast is on Instagram!

Today at church after our prayer of confession, we sang “Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy,” just those words over and over. My younger son poked his elbow in my ribs and whispered, “Mom, are these really the only words in this song?”
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The Greek word for mercy has the same root as oil. Mercy isn’t only forgiveness instead of punishment, mercy is healing, soothing oil. Lord, have mercy, we pray, which means, Lord, soothe me, comfort me, take away my pain, and show me your steadfast love.
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What other words do we need?
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I don’t normally post on Sundays, but it’s the first day of spring, I have picked the first daffodils, and I’ve now slept with my bedroom window open two nights in a row. Those things don’t erase all that’s hard and heavy, but oh my goodness, how they help. Spring, you are God’s mercy.
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A hard chapter, but not the end of the story.
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I’m a deep thinker whose love language is beauty, and I can’t tell you how many friends and family members, after reading my first book #rootsandsky told me some version of “Wow, I had no idea all that was going on in your head.” I try to remember that when my teenagers don’t seem to have much to say.
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Anyhow, I mostly show up here to share some of what I’m thinking about and some of the beauty I’m noticing, but sometimes? I need to stop overthinking and show my own face and simply say, “Hello! I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for receiving my new book Garden Maker so well. I’m glad you like it. Aren’t gardens the most glorious things? 🌿
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