My life’s obsession with books and reading is only eclipsed by one thing and one thing only, and that thing is gardening. Maybe books about gardening? (As I stare at the six gardening books I have on my bedside table) My obsession with gardening is only from January until September every year so it is not so bad. Really really, promise. I am one of those people that get giddy when I get new seed catalogs in the mail and instead of buying new shoes or something, I buy a plant. I went practically apoplectic today when I discovered a local nursery had tiny and cheap Japanese Painted Ferns. A plant that I had been looking for for the last 5 months for six freaking dollars.
Today in the mail I received a teeny tiny packet of protea seeds that I ordered from a dealer in Quebec. Protea is a type of flower that looks like a Hibiscus and a pincushion had a baby, then spray painted it neon. It is all spikes, and color while being delightfully and garish and tacky. I freaking love everything about proteas. If I had a spirit flower it would probably be them. Here is the kicker. They are ridiculously and stupendously difficult to grow. Sunset magazine says that if you don’t have perfect soil and perfect climate, and perfect gardening practices; give up and enjoy cut flowers. I am never one to shy away from a challenge. CHALLENGE! I throw down my shears and hoe in the face of such a farce of a seed. It will not beat me!
(it totally isn’t going to grow)
But, I will try and it will be a unique and fun experience. Proteas along with the Black Magic Rose are the two Unicorns that I have always wanted to try and grow, succeeding doesn’t really matter. I’ll add updates as this experiment goes along. I think it will be a damn success story if I can get one seed to germinate, like at all. Here goes nothing.
Hey! Ever wanted to go out and try as many different types of fruit as humanly possible? Me too! Living in the Pacific Northwest I am afforded the unique opportunity to try all sorts of fruit that is available up here, that is not commonly available in other areas. Blame the weather, the geographical location or whatever; Portland has a lot of fruit. This got me thinking, we as consumers, only have access to a few varietals at the grocery store. These varietals are ones that do not rot quickly, can take some abuse from travel and taste moderately good to the majority of the population. What other flavors are out there? When is an apple not an apple, but tastes more like a watermelon? This set me on the path of trying fifty different fruits one year. Fifty is not much. There are about a gazillion varieties of apples alone, but fifty is hard to find when you are trying to get stuff at the grocery store. I scoured every grocery store, fruit stand and farm I could find within fifty miles of Portland. I wrote down everything, I made my friends sample and be guinea pigs with me. It became a slight obsession for 2012.
I learned some interesting things. Firstly, it is really a shame that we have only a few varieties at major grocery stores. It teaches kids that all apples are Red Delicious, oranges are Sunkist, and watermelon is the red kind with the seeds that you spit out. Did you know that Apples come in every color imaginable and span the taste spectrum? I tried ones that tasted like celery to ones that looked like a watermelon but taste like an orange. My favorite orange fruit is bright pink and lacks the sharp acidic bite that Sunkist oranges have. Fingerling limes are way cool; it looks like caviar but is actually lime flavor explosions that pop in your mouth.
Horned melon is something from another planet. It tastes like if beer and grass had a baby. I took this one to a friends house and made them suffer along with me for the sake of SCIENCE! Durian smells like week-old socks but tastes odd and interesting. Plumcots are amazing little bits of sunshine in a purple shell and kumquats are not good no matter how you eat them, roll them or beg them to be sweet.
It was a year of fruity adventure. Now that I have my garden going, I am putting in some strange fruits to try this year. Let’s see what I can do with white strawberries.