Winter is here, and I’m dreaming of a Game of Thrones garden. There will be dragons in my beds, along with wolves, stags, and lions. It didn’t start out as a Game of Thrones homage; rather, it’s due to letting my nine-year-old grandson make the choices. He likes the vegetables with fanciful names that depict animals.
But the garden reflects my mind and I’ve been binge-watching the medieval-meets-fantasy show since getting the entire series for Christmas, so a GOT garden it is. The grandson is too young to know the darker meaning I’m assigning to his choices; I’m content to let him choose which Houses are represented by his innocent youth.
Wolf pumpkin is one to plan our Jack-O-Lanterns around. The large, orange pumpkin weighs in at 16 to 24 pounds and sports a giant stem, making lifting the cut top easy. Exclusive to Johnny’s Select Seeds (johnnyseeds.com), they recommend giving this gourd plenty of space to grow. I’m not growing tomatoes or other nightshades this year, so the wolves can roam free through the vegetable patch.
We shouldn’t have a wolf without something named snow, so another Johnny’s Select Seed product, Snowball pumpkin, has made the list. Both child and grandma are excited to try this white, round little globe because it’s perfect for painting in fall. While he’s thinking ghosts or bats, I’m thinking of house sigils and what best sums up our clan. Flamingos come to mind.
Deer tongue lettuce, an Amish variety, is an early season choice with soft leaves and nice flavor. It doesn’t stand up to hail, so put it in a protected location. Tasty enough to be listed on Slow Food USA’a Ark of Taste (slowfoodusa.org/ark-of-taste-in-the-usa), its flavor is nutty and a bit sharp,
but excellent in salads. Seed Savers Exchange has these
Flashy Trout Back lettuce is another Ark of Taste member, and well deserved: the buttery, soft leaves and mild flavor make it a favorite of gardeners. Also known as Forellenschluss, this variety is easy to grow and productive enough to make any House Tully member proud. Renee’s Garden Seeds has these (reneesgarden.com).
Little Finger carrots promise kids and adults a taste they’ll never forget. With their petite size and sweet flavor, this Nantes type grows well in our heavier clay soils. Carrots are ideal for spring sowing, and then sow every three weeks until the end of July. Botanical Interests offers these (botanicalinterests.com).
Dragon’s Egg cucumbers are ones I’ve grown before, and they’ve earned a place in the garden year after year. Producing tasty, egg-sized cucumbers, the portion is perfect for smaller households. Since I can relate to many of Khaleesi’s moves, these are perfect for our themed garden. Find them at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com).
Where are the lions, for house Lannister? Look no further than the weeds around the yard and you’ll see plenty of dandelions. Annoying, invasive, and everywhere I look, this is an apt representation of the grasping clan with delusions of grandeur. If you cut off their heads they make a nice little wine.
By Carol O’Meara. Colorado State University Extension, together with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, provides unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. For more information contact Colorado State University Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd., Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6238, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ext.colostate.edu/boulder.