19 June 2006

Where the bees are '06

Gardening activity this weekend was limited mostly to the fabric-and- mulch operation in the front. Pretty boring stuff, although I did find a tiny Sisyrinchium bellum flower hiding under a Salvia leucantha. I finally removed the lifeless redbud stick. There's a surprising amount of space out there (20 ft.3 and counting), but the conditions are harsh, and I'm limiting activity to weed suppression until I can plan the attack.

Pretty much everything that hasn't bloomed out back is blooming right now. It's clear I'm going to need to focus on late-season flowers. One of the surprise stars of the June garden is this little cutting celery in the herb garden. I say little, but it's almost 4' tall. Normally I get annoyed when botanists change family names for no reason except to make them easier to mispronounce, but I have to admit that Apiaceae is a good name for these bee magnets. (It used to be Umbelliferae, which had the advantage of instant self-explanatoriness when presented with the flowers).

Cutting celery is awesome, because it's perennial, so you have instant celery flavor year round ("regular" celery is a perennial too, of course, but you have to kill it to harvest it). And it makes an excellent substitute for parsley in many recipes. The Romans, in fact, made no distinction between parsley and celery. They also made parsley wreathes for the winners of drinking contests.


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