July 12th, 2020

blackhat

(garden)

I was hoping to have nasturtium pods to ferment with the surprise nasturtiums that have been taking over the berms. Just one pod. I bit into the sharp flavored morsel there in the yard. I suppose if i have two at once perhaps i will start brining them.

I pondered eating seed pods from the butterfly weed. They're just at the edge of too tough per https://foragerchef.com/milkweed-pods/. This morning i read an agriculture bulletin about how deadly milkweed is for cattle, horses, and goats. So i started poking around. I found this article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362972/ which ascribes an eye problem to the milky sap of Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) -- which does NOT have a milky sap. (https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/asclepias_tuberosa.shtml) I've skimmed the dissertaion at https://shareok.org/bitstream/handle/11244/14193/Thesis-1989-O34t.pdf?sequence=1 and am inclined to limit experiments with eating milkweed to butterfly weed. Its long use as a food and the limited effects of toxicity in the livestock experiment seem encouraging. But i'm still not sure how brave i am.

I picked enough blueberries from the middle bush that Christine could make well blue-berried waffles this week. The north end bush is still covered with the grape purple berries it's had since April and May. The south end bush is the sprout from the roots of a plant that essentially died -- i won't expect anything from that plant for another year.

The blackberries and roses and apples are all suffering from the Japanese beetles. I just haven't had the fight-back energy needed.

Gladiolas have had the last bloom lean over to the ground. I've added it to the vibrant display on the mantle. The cardinal flower and blue lobelia are blooming but the rose mallow, a hardy hibiscus, is showing off in a dramatic manner. I managed to get two to maturity from five seed i bought from swallowtail seeds. One is a purple-red that i think i will move as it somewhat clashes with the cardinal flower's red. I've bought five more seeds of a red rose mallow that, even if they aren't the same as the red in the cardinal flower, will hopefully be red enough to compliment the cardinal.

I spent a great deal of time plotting removal of the nonnative azaleas which seem to have an infestation of Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott). I've identified leatherwood as a shrub with some nice spring and autumn color (yellow) that can do well in the shade of that corner. If it fails due to too little shade, i suppose i can replace it with Little Suzie, a native witch hazel selection. I'm imagining purple toned heuchera and a variety of yellow flowering plants (perhaps even begonias in the summer). It was fun to plan.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/817565.html .