Sunday, November 10, 2013

Next Year's Flowers

I had asked Marie if she knew of anyone who might want my remaining Crocus sativus, which were aggressively growing flower stems. They needed homes, or soils anyway, as I can't stand to throw away living things. She hooked me up with an energetic woman gardening a site in Greenwood or Windsor Terrace; a site that I long ago had noticed, but until the drop hadn't returned to see in many years.  

The gardener was about to plant several hundred bulbs, but still she was willing to look at my garlic stash in the back of the van. She wanted to plant garlic for its flowers. No you don't, I thought, then said what you want is elephant garlic! What? Yes, elephant garlic, Allium ampeloprasum. The notion took me by surprise, as I had been trying to sell them as food, yet was never fully convinced of their palatability. Suddenly I realized that I had it all wrong.

Out in the farm field everyone commented on the statuesque, otherworldly stem and spathe of the elephant. In the vase the elephant held up for weeks (without much if any scent) in our hot apartment. As food, if you were to cut the scape, that would be elephant's most delicious offering. Fat, juicy, tender, mildly garlic-flavored stems are as good as a garlic scape can be. I'm sure the cloves have some virtue, but I never really had the time to explore.  

So this morning, just before the wind whipped the leaves into a frenzy, I planted at least 20 large cloves around the garden. I put some in the back, as well as the front, as insurance against the pullers and cutters. I am really looking forward to experiencing these in the garden.

I have about 50 of these bulbs left which, when cloved, will become about 250 plants. If you or someone you know is interested, send me an email: and I will sell these to you at a discounted price (plus shipping if needed). And if you need encouragement, check out the images below. When fully opened, they will look like a fireworks display of white or purple.

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