April 2012 Issue #28
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You want holiday hoopla? April's full of it.
Sure, you know Easter, Passover, April Fools' Day, Earth Day and (a moment of silence, please) Holocaust Remembrance Day. But did you know April is Grilled Cheese Month, or that everybody's Polish on Dyngus Day? Best of all, we honor the immortal Bard's 447th birthday on April 23, a.k.a. Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Hie thee to thy local publick house and get thy Elizabethan on!
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida: Spring is always early in the Panhandle. That's why we're there, to give you a leg up and a head start with sun-soaked, energy-laden liners. Looking extra great now: Astilbe, over a dozen varieties ready to root rapidly in your gallons; Chasmanthium 'River Mist', the in-demand award-winning albino sea oats; Juncus 'Big Twister', 'Frenzy' and 'Spiralis', ornamental grasses with a twist. What a rush!
Farm manager Daniel Neely with Astilbe trays
Pennsylvania: A sudden spring inspires fair flowers and festive foliation indoors and out. PA is a riot of cherry blossoms, phlox, forsythia, hellebores and more. On the bench, bloodied blades of Imperata 'Red Baron' and slender sabres of Crocosmia 'Lucifer' (see What's Hot) thrust boldly forth. Our double-poly houses would boggle the Bard, but he'd recognize the trays of columbine, bellflower and alum root within.
Imperata 'Red Baron' - on the bench and in the landscape.
RANDOM USELESS DIVERSION #1: Flay 'em With Flowers
Don't settle for lame 21st century insults. Invoke the phrase generator at museangel.net and dis that dawg with "Sirrah, thou'rt an artless, beetle-brained codpiece!"
Crocosmia 'Lucifer': A devilishly beautiful flower; a blessedly easy garden plant.
This South African native, named by the late Alan Bloom, launches blazing red florets on arching stems over upright, sword-like leaves. Florists use 'Lucifer' two ways: with dazzling flowers open & opening, and post-bloom, when its seed pods are also lovable in a vase. Watch for spider mites, especially in dry conditions. Irrigate well.
RANDOM USELESS DIVERSION #2: Egghead Egghunt
Find three places herein where the Latin word for "eggs" lurks in the text. Extra credit for not resorting to Ctrl/F.
SWEET WILLIAM'S GARDENS
A Shakespeare garden consists of the many plants cited in his writings. Had he used Latin names, perhaps binomials would be as common as his many coinages, like "What's in a name?" or "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," or "Where's the beef?" Alas, he shuffled off this mortal coil nearly a century before Linnaeus shuffled on. We have a plethora of pretties that qualify for inclusion. We lack lovage (Levisticum officinale), but we'll bolster your Bard's border with columbine (Aquilegia), fern (Athyrium, Cyrtomium, Dryopteris, Polystichum), harebell (Campanula), larks' heels (Delphinium), daisy (Leucanthemum & Bellis) foxglove (Digitalis), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, L. xintermedia & L. stoechas), pinks (Dianthus), rush (Juncus), bergamot (Monarda), sedge (Carex, Cyperus & Isolepis), and wormwood (Artemisia).
Aries: Spontaneity is splendid. Plan on it - but don't fight the urge to fight the urge.
Taurus: A standing ovation for your performance. That rodeo clown had it coming.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you lemon grass, make whoopee! Cymbopogon citratus isn't just another pretty Poaceae. Yes, it's a fine ornamental, with soft green blades and upright/arching habit. But its distilled essence is a prized ingredient in Asian cuisine, enhancing everything from chicken soup to Tom Yum Martinis. Check out Tom Yum Martini Recipe, A Thai Cocktail to Remember and Thai one on!
The Last Word
We've decided to bag International Pooper Scooper Week (4/1-7) and celebrate with a draught on New Beers Eve, April 6th: On 4/7/1933, Prohibition ended, rendering adult libations legal again. Such modern follies would doubtless bemuse the toping Elizabethans, but 'tis how we live now, and all's well that ends well. May thy frenzied Spring hold days of glory and happiness. Lack nothing. Be merry.