I once grew a rose, Bibi Maizoon, that I considered to be as close to perfection as any rose could be. Its blooms, that is. They were cup-shaped and filled with loosely defined row upon row of pastel pink petals, nothing like the pointed, stiff blossoms of hybrid tea roses. Completing the old-fashioned feel of Bibi Maizoon blossoms is the flowers’ strong, fruity fragrance.
(In case you don’t know who Bibi Maizoon was, she was a member of the royal family of Oman. The Bibi Maizoon rose was bred by British rose breeder David Austin.)
The bush itself was as imperfect as the blossom were perfect. Where to begin? For starters, the thin stems could hardly support the corpulent blossoms. Couldn’t, in fact, so the blossoms usually dangle upside down. Upside down blossoms were not that bad because I considered Bibi best when cut for vases indoors to …
Some gardeners sit tapping their fingers waiting for the first tomato of the season to finally ripen. I don’t. I’m waiting to sink my teeth into my first-picked ear of sweet corn.
Not that my tomatoes don’t taste really good, but they’re also good all winter dried or canned, as is or as sauce. Or just frozen.
An ear of sweet corn, though, captures the essence of summer. Not just for flavor and texture. It’s the whole ritual of peeling back the husks and snapping them off at their bases, brushing away the silk before steaming the ears, and then, holding an ear at each end, biting off kernels from one end to the other like an old fashioned typewriter carriage. (An image perhaps unknown to readers below a certain age.)
An art to harvesting corn at the just-ripe stage, and anxiousness for that first taste, make …
Into the ground goes the stinking rose. That’s garlic. As a matter of fact, by the time you read this my garlic cloves will have been in the ground for awhile, since the beginning of the month, already sending roots out into the soft earth.
Planting garlic this early is sacrilege in most garlic circles. But it may make sense.
Garlic needs a period of cool weather, with temperatures in the 40s, to develop heads. Without that cool period, a planted clove merely grows larger, without multiplying. Which is why it’s planted in fall. Spring-planted garlic might still get sufficiently chilled or needs to be artificially chilled, but yields are generally are lower than fall-planted garlic.
Lower yields could also be because the cloves, planted in spring, must put energy into growing both leaves and roots. Roots grow whenever …
Aug 30, 2012 #34
A GARDENER’S NOTEBOOK
by Lee Reich
I killed Miss Kim. Sure, she was pretty enough, with lilac purple flowers late each spring. In fact, she is . . . I mean “was” . . . a lilac, although she was Syringa patula, a different species from the common lilac (S. vulgaris).
The very reason that I had planted Miss Kim was because she was different. She would blossom later than the common lilac, extending the season when lilac blossoms and their fragrance could be enjoyed. Later in summer, her leaves were never to be marred by the powdery, white coating — powdery mildew disease — that mars the leaves of common lilacs. And her expected stature, no more than 6 feet high, would be fitting for the bed of perennial flowers that she would call home.