It seemed that it was going to be spring before I could plant my garlic this year after the soil froze solid at the end of October, taking me by surprise! Then a long mild period starting at Xmas, the soil finally became workable the day before leaving for England and I got all my varieties planted, although I was unable to mix in compost as the compost heap was still frozen! About 10 varieties this year! This is the latest I’ve planted garlic since I planted my first shop bought garlic in 1984!
On the other hand oriental hybrids “are based on hybrids within Lilium section Archelirion,specifically Lilium auratum and Lilium speciosum, together with crossbreeds from several species native to Japan, including Lilium nobilissimum, Lilium rubellum, Lilium alexandrae, and Lilium japonicum. They are fragrant, and the flowers tend to be outward facing. Plants tend to be tall, and the flowers may be quite large. The whole group are sometimes referred to as “stargazers” because many of them appear to look upwards”
I’ve never tasted hybrid lilies, but maybe I should as two of the asiatics and all the 6 oriental species involved are eaten in Japan…most importantly L.auratum which is cultivated for markets on a field scale, the others mainly foraged I think! I wonder if anyone has hybridised lilies for food rather than beauty….an interesting project for someone perhaps?
From Wikipedia : “Fasciation (pronounced /ˌfæʃiˈeɪʃən/, from the Latin root meaning “band” or “stripe”), also known as cresting, is a relatively rare condition of abnormal growth in vascular plants in which the apical meristem (growing tip), which normally is concentrated around a single point and produces approximately cylindrical tissue, instead becomes elongated perpendicularly to the direction of growth, thus, producing flattened, ribbon-like, crested, or elaborately contorted tissue”
This deviant martagon lily (Lilium martagon) turned up in my garden in 2014. Martagon lily have one of the best tasting lily bulbs, and is a good edible for the forest garden as they are shade tolerant :)
The best tasting vegetable of the rhizosphere I’ve had the pleasure of eating is Cacomitl, one of the lost crops of the Aztecs, also known as Tigridia (pavonia) and commonly available on those racks of ornamental bulbs. It is also one of the best edimentals, witness the pictures from my garden today (14th July!) below.
I’ll keep this short as I couldn’t possibly do better than the series of witty and informative posts on this plant by my friend (I’ve even shaken his hand now!) Owen Smith on his fabulous Radix: Root Crop Research and Ruminations blog. You know you need to read these titles: