Monday, May 28, 2012

Rose campion, that's what we think

OK, we think this flower is the lovely rose campion. It grew wild in my yard for years, clinging to tree roots in its forlorn neglect and surviving on dry dust, mostly.

Which, apparently, it actually likes more than good soil.

Finally showed it some love, and moved some to the north perennial border and the southwest corner at Madison Square Garden. But still couldn't identify it, since I'm not that good with flowers yet. People said the leaves look like lamb's ear, but I think it's the rose campion.  If so, I'm pleased to see it blooming here.

It's considered an old-fashioned classic, referred to and sold as heirloom. Though not native, the flower came to America in colonial days and Thomas Jefferson wrote that it grew at his boyhood home, Shadwell. Grown since the 1300s, the Latin genus name means "lamp" because the ancients used the campion leaves for wicks.

It's pretty romantic, but I don't know who planted it here. The former owners of my home have been kind enough to share its garden history -- who planted the strawberries, how long the river birch tree has been here. But no one knows for sure, so if you're knowledgeable? Stop by Madison Street and tell us what you think. If you're not, that's fine too.

There's plenty of other reasons to stop by the garden. We're picking peas on Monday, and some radishes. Thanks to Graci for all the weeding help she did Saturday on the green peppers, tomatoes and cucumber. All of the plants are taking off and also include: beans, spinach, kale, mustard and collard greens, corn, okra, tomatillos and hot peppers, several squashes, potatoes, onions and garlic. Please come take some garlic! We're trying to get it out of the bed now. It's the tall stalk with the globe at the top.

Other veggies and fruits include strawberries, raspberries and Lisa's new blackberry starters. The carrots. And there's broccoli, cabbage and a mystery brassica family plant we think is cauliflower growing from last year. I know it wasn't started this year, so ...

If you have any ideas about what to grow, let me know. We've doubled the tomatoes this year, and planted another little patch of cucumbers.

Other notes:
  • Welcome new friends: Jason, Ernestine, Tasha, Juanita and Diego among them.
  • Indiana tax credits for Unity Garden donors. Unity participates in the state Neighborhood Assistance Program. If you're not familiar, NAP credits work almost like a matching grant that benefits the donor. Any resident or business can take a 50 percent tax credit on minimum donations of $100. These credits are designed to encourage giving to local nonprofits, keeping the benefits in Indiana. Unity has "sold" more than 90 percent of their FY 2011-2012 credits, but still has a few days to go before the reporting deadline so now's the time! Check the link to Unity for donation info, or call executive director Sara Stewart at (574) 315-4361. Go online here for NAP credit info.
  • Tour de Unity is June 17, and my favorite bicycle ride around town. There's also a link to the right for more information about this family-friendly fundraising event. 

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