Friday, March 09, 2007

Another Day, Another Deadly Sin

The other day, an over-wrought Victorian allegory about vegetable adultery caught my fancy. Strangely, I find myself thinking of another of the seven deadly sins today. How will I ever find homes for all the seeds I bought during those dreamy cold winter afternoons I spent with seed catalogs? I am a seed junkie. Was it simple greed?
I bought just a few seeds each from different vendors, so until I sat down in the spring sunshine yesterday to sort things out, I didn’t realize just how much. About half of the seeds are for edible plants, which I can arguably claim to be for the public demonstration Veggie Garden where I volunteer.

This year, we are experimenting with warm season edible ornamentals. I found two okra varieties from a delightful place: Victory Seeds in Molalla, Oregon. Small staff, but excellent personal service. I got seeds for ‘White Velvet’ okra, recommended in a book, Feast Your Eyes by Susan J. Pennington.The book includes an entire chapter on ornamental vegetables – those grown as much for their lovely appearance as for their bounty.

About okra she says, “Because okra is in the hibiscus family, naturally gardeners first appreciated the showy cream-colored flowers with dark accents. Dried okra pods were also considered ideal for avant-garde flower arrangements”. She recommends, for it’s particular beauty, the ‘White Velvet’ cultivar. While I found that at Victory Seeds, I also ordered another variety called ‘Aunt Hettie’s Red’. Victory seeds says this seed was “raised for us by David Pendergrass of Tennessee and is an old heirloom from his family. He tells us the following about this old red okra: ‘It was passed on to me by a cousin who received it from my Great Aunt Hettie Tidwell in the early 1970s. How far it dates back in our family’s history is not clear but it is known that Aunt Hettie grew it for many, many years’."

Now all I have to do is plant, add water, and wait…

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