Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Celebrating a Lifetime's Growth of a 60+-Year Old Seedling

During a now infamous interview, the great actress Katharine Hepburn once told Barbara Walters that in her old age she felt very much like a strong tree, and when pressed, said she hoped she was an oak, rather than an elm, which would have suffered from Dutch elm disease.

Yesterday I celebrated my 62nd birthday, and I figure I'm a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) -- a New England native, full of sweet sap and occasionally rather colorful.

I came downstairs and discovered this birthday card waiting on the kitchen island for me. The night before, Nigel had waited till after I went to bed and then snuck downstairs to put it there for me to find, along with a bar of dark chocolate from Theo's.

I'll get him for that, when he least expects it.

I had a very quiet, pleasant birthday, that included lunch out at my favorite local restaurant Mama Stortini's. I had one of my favorite meals, salmon -- an old reliable. I used to be driven to try new foods, new restaurants, etc., especially for a celebration such as this, but nowadays, I prefer a small, quiet, local place where I've eaten many, many times, where I know what I'm going to get before I even go through the door.

My parmesan-crusted salmon with rice pilaf and zucchini

Nigel's Ziti Bolognese with meatballs

Dessert -- Fried Oreos with ice cream

Alison saccharum as a sapling

When I returned from lunch, the mail had arrived, and in it were lots and lots of seeds that I had ordered recently! From Johnny's Selected Seeds, Swallowtail Garden Seeds, and Chiltern Seeds (in England).
This year's seeds

Many of these are meant for my new cutting garden. Here's a long, boring list of what I ordered.

From Swallowtail:

Salvia 'Rose Queen'
Salvia 'Blue Queen'
Salvia 'Merleau Blue'
Agastache 'Globetrotter'
Agastache 'Bolero'
Celosia 'Dragon's Breath'
Shasta Crazy Daisy
Calendula 'Solar Flashback'
Giant Imperial Carmine King Larkspur
The Seven Dwarfs Larkspur
Dahlia 'Black Beauty'
Ornamental Millet 'Copper Prince'
Ornamental Millet 'Purple Majesty'
Sunflower 'Red Wave'
Bronze Fennel
Seeker mix Statice
Giant Double Black Peony Poppy
Seriously Scarlet Peony Poppy

From Johnny's:

Benary's Giant Deep Red Zinnia
Queen Red Lime Zinnia
Senora Zinnia
Red Spike Amaranthus
Cramer's Burgundy Celosia
Midnight Blue Statice
Ruby Red Orach
Dara Ammi
Double Click Cosmos
Double Click Cranberries Cosmos

From Chiltern's:

Stipa capillata Lace Veil
Lupinus polyphyllus 'Band of Nobles'
Arisaema consanguineum
Arisaema sikkokianum
Arisaema triphyllum
Verbascum olympicum
Agastache 'Astello Indigo'
Centranthus ruber
Eryngium maritimum
Benary's Giant Wine Zinnia
Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais'
Salvia lyrata 'Purple Volcano'
Tropaeolum majus 'Black Velvet'
Salpiglossis sinuata 'Black Trumpets'
Knautia macedonica 'Mars Midget'
Linum grandiflorum var. rubrum
Amaranthus 'Hopi Red Dye'
Angelica sylvestris purpurea 'Vicar's Mead'
Erysimum cheiri 'Sunset Red'
Erysimum cheiri 'Blood Red Covent garden'
Coreopsis tinctoria 'Mahogany Midget'
Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Black Knight'
Delphinium consolida 'Blue Spire'
Lathyrus odoratus 'Windsor'
Lathyrus odoratus 'Matucana'
Zinnia 'Jazzy mixture'
Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'
Ammi majus 'Graceland'

You may notice there's a lot of red, purple and black. I've got plans for a new "Ruby Bed" next year. That's a lot of seeds, too. Many of them will get sowed into the soil of the cutting garden, right after Christmas, under cloches.