Archive for April, 2013

Would you eat this? Two cabbages from the Root Cellar.

Posted by Mark Wessel on April 18th, 2013  •  Comments Off on Would you eat this? Two cabbages from the Root Cellar.

Napa Cabbage straight from the cellar.

To many of my readers this may look as appetizing as a six month old crock of Kimchi unearthed in the Korean hillsides.In this age of lacto-fermentation some of you may truly understand what I am talking about. This picture is not from a fermentation vessel or any other well controlled environment. This ball of slime is straight from the fungal and bacterial playground I call my root cellar. The root cellar is actually our garage which is built into the side of the hill. The humidity levels stay incredibly high and the temperature never drops below freezing.

Napa peeled of rotten layers.

This is a Napa cabbage which I picked in November 2012. Who would have thought such a tender leafy vegetable would last this long. I should not be too surprised. When I store them in the refrigerator, they never seem to go bad. Just peel a few layers off and good as new.

Storage #4 before

The other cabbage in the root cellar is the more traditional european cabbage. This variety was specifically bred for storage. It was also picked in november 2012 and still has many months left in the tank. They are solid as rocks, with not even a hint of space between the layers. In our two person family, one goes a long way.

Storage #4 peeled

Even though this is the time to start planting early season cabbage, with six still in storage I do have my reservations about adding to the cabbage load. However, the storage cabbage has lost a bit of its appeal and something fresher may be in order.

Storage #4 sliced.

I raised both cabbages from seed. The Storage #4 was started in late may and planted in the garden in July. The napa cabbage, Rubicon, was started in late july and planted in early September. Both were purchase from Johnny’s Seeds.

Napa from storage starting to bolt or flower.

Posted in : Vegetables  •  Tags: , ,

Two Hellebore Sales: Clara Berger and Yew Dell Gardens

Posted by Mark Wessel on April 5th, 2013  •  Comments Off on Two Hellebore Sales: Clara Berger and Yew Dell Gardens


Just in time for a weekend that might actually feel like spring, there are two excellent Hellebore sales in our area. The timing could not be better. Usually by sale time, the plants are well past their peak. The cold, late winter and spring has delayed the bloom and extended the season. They are beautiful!

Helleborus x hybridus "Branywine"

The first sale is this Saturday from 10am -12pm, April 6th, at YewDell Gardens in Crestwood Ky. Yew Dell is located just 14 miles north east of Louisville Ky. A bit of a drive from Cincinnati, but well worth the effort. I could wax on endlessly about how diverse and wonderful the gardens are, but I feel it would be best to use the description from their website.

Helleborus x hybridus "Pine Knott Seedling"

“Yew Dell is a nationally-recognized center of gardening and sustainable horticulture that offers extensive display gardens, a diverse slate of educational programs, family-oriented community events, ongoing research into new and better garden plants, and a wide range of private event facilities. All of this activity is offered in a unique setting that artfully combines elements of Kentucky’s rural heritage with modern, cutting-edge architecture.”

Helleborus x hybridus unknown stock plant

Yew Dell’s collection of Hellebores is quite extensive with at least 90 to 100 varieties planted. They will be offering  at least four varieties from the Winter Jewels series developed by the hottest Hellebore breeder in the USA, Marietta O’Bryne.Red Sapphire, Amber Gem Sparkling Diamond and Onyx Odyssey.

I was told that the sale opens at 10am and they sell out by 10:30am. Don’t be late!

The second sale, Sunday, April, 7th, will take place at Clara Berger’s on State Road in Anderson Twp. She is located across from El Coyote.

Clara has had her finger to the pulse of the Hellebore world for 20 years. Her passion for Hellebores started with seeds from the legendary U.K. collector, Will Mclewin. Will scoured the Balkans as some of its native populations were being bombed into oblivion during the Balkan war.

Although the species and regional varieties from Mr. Mclewin lack the glitz and glitter of the new hybrids, they offer a sublime beauty that is wonderfully displayed in Clara’s Garden.

Helleborus ?

As the Hellebore renaissance has advanced, Clara has continued to keep up with all the new introductions.

This years selections include Rose Quartz,Double Ellen series, Hellorus x Ballardiae and the incredible Helleborus niger “Jacob“.

Helleborus x hybridus "Goldfinch"

She will also have a small amount of other plants for sale. The cool spring has limited the amount of non-hellebore offerings.

Between the weather and a few great plant sales, inspiration for the garden should be plentiful.

Posted in : Perennials, Uncategorized  •  Tags: