Garlic scapes are the immature, unopened flowers that form at the top of the plant’s leafy stalk in early summer. They have a delicate, garlic flavour and are much less potent than the bulb. In fact, I can’t eat much garlic raw or cooked, but I can devour garlic scapes aplenty with no stomach upset.
This Plains Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) was a new addition to the garden, planted just this spring so I was surprised when a flower appeared. All of my other opuntias took at least one full season to put out flowers.
And what a stunning dusty peachy-pink colour it is! One of the small consequences of “going to the desert to see the really big cactus” (this is how I put it to my six year-old neighbour) is that I missed out on the first blooms produced by many of the cacti in my own garden, so I feel especially fortunate to have caught this one.
I got a handmade wooden pinhole camera for my 30th and now, with a month left before I turn 40, I have gifted myself this beautiful handmade alembic copper still from Portugal.
I’ve been doing a lot of wildcrafting this season and have been experimenting with D.I.Y methods for making plant hydrosols aka floral waters (although not only using flowers) from plant materials grown in my garden. Having tried and tried again repeatedly and having achieved some successes, but still not completely satisfied with the results, I got the crazy idea to buy an old-fashioned copper still and do it up proper. [I will write about what I learned through these experiments at another time.]
Day three of our desert road trip, we decided to “take it easy” with a short jaunt to the Yucca Valley and up hill to Pioneertown, which is at a higher elevation and promised to deliver slightly cooler temperatures.
I did not like the drive up into the mountains and so it was difficult at first to appreciate the views. What goes up must come down and I spent much of the drive nervously anticipating a horrible drop-off around each bend. Fortunately, that did not happen and the scariest part of the ride was when I yelled at Davin to do a u-turn so we could hit up a big yard sale that I spotted too late.
There’s something about perusing a yard sale with massive Joshua trees (Yucaa brevifolia) and dry, desert mountains-capes as the backdrop.
The summer solstice (June 21) has just passed and I thought it fitting to mark the turning of the seasons. Summer is my favourite season of the year, a joyful time of long days spent outdoors soaking up vitamin D and enjoying the bounty of crops as they come into fruition. However, having just visited the desert, I now understand firsthand how for some of you, summer is a difficult if not brutal season that is spent indoors. For that reason I’ve tried to keep this one open-ended so that you can approach it however you choose.