The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Kiss the Earth
News on the kitchen garden front was excellent this year. We saw First Lady Michelle Obama and an army of helpers break ground in March on an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn. We'll never know how much impetus for that came from Roger Doiron's "Eat the View" online campaign, but more than 100,000 people signed the petition in favor. Roger is an inspiring gardener in Scarborough, Me., who took a page from history. The White House traditionally had vegetables growing. Our earliest presidents, in fact, grew their own for family and guests. Although the Clintons had a small rooftop vegetable and herb garden, the Obamas' garden is the first full-scale lawn version in more than half a century, since Eleanor Roosevelt's Victory Garden in World War II. I was heartened to read earlier this month that the current "First Garden," as media types are calling it, got its "First Hoophouse" - row covers that will allow the White House staff to grow lettuces and other food year-round. How amazing is that? But wait. As they say: There's more! Even Queen Elizabeth got into the act this year, commissioning the first vegetable garden at Buckingham Palace since WWII. Great news but strange, given son Charles' visionary leadership on the organic front over the last two decades. Still, way to go, Lizzie, and what an interesting list of veggies you have in there, not that we're making fun: climbing French bean 'Blue Queen' and dwarf French bean 'Royal Red' and 'Northern Queen' lettuce, and tomatoes named 'Golden Queen,' 'Queen of Hearts' and 'White Queen.' And also sage - hey, just like my garden, photo taken this week! Now, in the interest of maintaining cross-the-pond friendships, and in the honored tradition of gardeners everywhere, how about sharing some of those royal heirlooms? We're here all week.