Welcome to this “Six on Saturday” post (amazingly halfway through July already!!!) from north central Indiana. Let’s begin with a promised report on using leek blossoms as a cut flower. As you may recall, I was skeptical about them mainly because of their membership in the smelly onion family. Would they emit an offensive odor that ruined the pleasure of a bouquet? The answer is “No, they are not smelly in a bouquet.” And, they are extremely long-lasting, although the lavender color did fade a bit. The interesting thing to me was that they turned the water purple…yes, purple! It looks black in the photo, but it’s definitely purple. The next day when it was replaced with fresh water, that water immediately turned purple as well. And I’ll warn you, when the purple water is poured out, it does have a sulphuric odor. I washed the vase each day before replacing the leek bloom, too. Ten days cut, the flower still looks pretty good and it’s still turning the water purple!
2) “Unicorn” cherry tomatoes were the first harvested in the 2021 season, just two days later than last year’s winner (which were “Sun Sugar”.) I don’t know when I’ve had such a beautiful, more abundant crop of green tomatoes, and they are all bigger than usual. Looks like I’d better find some more canning jars this summer!
3) Strawflowers “Apricot Shades”
I haven’t grown strawflowers for a number of years, but in expanding the varieties in the Cutting Garden this year they were included. You may recall that over half the plants were eaten by rabbits before the bunny fence was installed, but those that are left are doing wonderfully. I’ve harvested and wired 30 flowers so far. Not sure what I’ll do with them, the nigella pods, poppy pods and feverfew bundles that are hanging in the Lady Cottage, but I’m enjoying growing them and seeing the range of colors from nearly cream through soft apricot shades to a brighter orange. Seeds were from “Swallowtail.”
4) Celosia spicata “Orange”
I have to admit I really had doubts when I saw Celosia spicata “Orange” listed in the Swallowtail catalog. I’d only seen spicata in pale pink and purplish shades. I really expected it to turn out to be a plumosa, but I decided to give it a try. Happily, my doubts were unfounded and they really ARE spicata! They are just beginning to form blooms, so I’m interested to see how they turn out, but they are indeed orange as well, so they are welcome. Celosias are terrific cut flowers, and dry extremely well, holding their color and shape for years if kept dry and out of direct, strong light.
This is the first purple cauliflower I’ve ever grown, and I can’t wait to taste it! I must admit that not all of the eight plants in the potager are going to produce a lovely head like this one. Two have already bolted before really forming a head, and there’s no sign of anything forming in two more plants but I’ll be patient. The white “Majestic” cauliflower were beautiful, but finished a few weeks ago, so this purple variety is more than welcome.
6) The squash borers have arrived, and despite efforts to repel them, they’ve ruined two plants. I know it is very distasteful to have to deal with them, but if a gardener just throws the plants on the compost pile, or tosses them into the woods, the borers will likely complete their life cycle and return in greater numbers next year. So, whenever a plant is a lost cause, do take the time to dissect the stems and destroy the borers. Some will be large and easy to spot and squash. Some may be quite small and take some searching, but if you look for that black head and white body you’ll see them eventually. There were 7 of various sizes in this “Jaune de Vert” plant, and 9 in the neighboring “Ronde de Nice” squash. I’ll be keeping a closer watch on the “Fordhook,” “Sunburst,” and “Bossa Nova” varieties that at this point still seem okay. Happily, there is still enough time to tuck a couple more seeds in another potager bed for a late crop of summer squash.
So that’s the SOS for this week. I hope your gardens are thriving and that you are enjoying a great growing season! For more SOS posts, visit The Propagator who thought up this meme!.