Late last year, upon picking up Greensgrow’s biweekly winter CSA, I came across a box of canna lily bulbs (actually rhizomes) marked “FREE, TAKE SOME.” I tossed a few in the bag and later Googled the plant to better understand how to grow them. After the danger of frost passed, sometime in April, I dug 2-3 inch holes around the back of the garden and set the rhizomes in, eyes up. Now, the first bud is here! Cannas are among the most colorful summer bulbs, boasting immense, paddle-shaped leaves and strikingly bright blossoms. A tropical addition to South Philly.
Today marked the first harvest of the larger tomato varieties (Rosso Sicilian and Pineapple Bicolor) that typically have a longer time to maturity than the smaller ones I’ve been enjoying for the last couple weeks. Purchased May 3 at the Bartram’s Garden Plant Sale, these heirloom veggies have been thriving in the heat and humidity. Also of note: the Chicago Hardy fig that had all but died off in the Polar Vortex of 2014 has new growth!
Two bright red Principe Borghese tomatoes that easily loosened off the vine were the main ingredient in my omelet this morning. Fresh dill and basil from the garden complemented the pesto and onion I added. Before breakfast and after our morning run, McBaine and I played fetch in and around his new pool: a classic turtle sandbox converted into a doggy oasis. A neighbor had put this out on the curb, so I said, why not? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
The marigolds and violas had faded, so it was time to take them out and replant the front window box. In went ‘Blue Star’ Japanese aster, flanked by red lantana, white ‘Breathless Blush’ euphorbia, and yellow million bells. Upstairs, I decided to finally plant the two boxes. Symmetrically, I put in two varieties of sedum, a red and a green, with a Shasta daisy in the center of each. These drought-resistant plants are meant to tolerate rockier, drier soil and hot temperatures, so hopefully will thrive in the full summer South Philly sun. And in the garden, 18 lilies are blooming!
It’s heating up, yet we’ve been getting a storm every few days. The rain and watering can together with the hot sun have produced more blooms and fruit. The cherry harvest yielded only 7, thanks to the prolonged freezing cold temperatures this winter. For comparison, last year I had nearly 100 and made a pint of jam. This year, I just ate them as is!