I saw a lot of amazing plants on the desert trip, some with fascinating stories and critical ethnobotanic ties to the region. Yet, with so many to choose from and so many photographs far better than these, even I find it a little bit odd that I chose to begin with one so tiny and insignificant.
I suppose my affection for this plant has something to do with how I found it.
I’m not sure when I made the transition from rose-hater to rose-eater. These days I have several roses planted in my garden, most of which have been chosen specifically for their eat- and use-ability. All roses are edible, but only those that smell fragrant taste good. Scentless roses are flavourless.
I recently returned from a long trip to an explosion of fresh blooms specifically from the three climbing roses that are planted in front of my ramshackle shed. Two of the three were planted last season and are doing well, but the third, a beautifully scented orange and golden variety called ‘Westerland’ that is now in its third year here has gone absolutely gangbusters. I have been harvesting a generous basketful of fresh blooms every day since my return and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Once this flush is done there will be at least one more smaller flush later in the season.
I preserve the blooms in several ways, but today I thought I’d share the quickest and easiest method: drying.
I have long sung the praises of the perpetual aka perennial onion. Allow a few to multiply each year and you will have them forever.
I started growing one such type, ‘Egyptian Walking’ onion (Allium proliferum) aka tree onion in my community garden plot well over a decade ago. The exact date is a lost memory to me now as is how I came by it in the first place, but I suspect that I may have been growing from the same stock for approaching 18 years. In that time I have passed on countless full-sized onions and bulbils (the small bulbs that form at the top of mature plants) to friends and neighbours without making the slightest dent in my own yearly harvest.
We arrived home last night from what I can only describe as an epic desert road trip. I had planned to start doing posts on specific places and plants today, but decided that one more overall post is in order. I saw, learned, and experienced so much in those ten days… my head is absolutely reeling. While I may have tweeted and posted a lot of cellphone pics over the course of the trip, what I have shared so far is only a speck of sand within a vast desert of STUFF. Wow, wow, WOW. What a place!
We are still on our desert road trip. Yesterday we drove through Joshua Tree National Park, down a road that took us through a box canyon with some crazy terrain, and then down along the east coast of the Salton Sea. I was surprised to see a lot of agriculture out there in the middle of the desert. Needless to say it was an incredibly varied trip. Unfortunately, we have left the relatively cool temperatures in Joshua Tree and are back in the land of hot, hot, hot. Hot. HOT. If you ever find yourself driving through the desert during a summer heatwave, I highly suggest purchasing a $2 spray bottle with which to mist your face. Cools you down quickly.