By LYNNE IRONS
I know what I like. I’m absolute about my dislikes. I grew a number of eggplant and pepper varieties this year and, fortunately, made a map of the garden beds. Perhaps my observations will help you make your own selections for next spring’s ordering. Here are some of my favorites.
Eggplants vary quite a it depending on country of origin. We liked Ping Tung Long from Taiwan, Malaysian Dark Red, Ukrainian Beauty, Rosa Bianca, the French Ronde de Valence and the early long purple variety from France, Violette Longue Hative.
Not so popular with us were the following: Jilo from Brazil — too bitter, Red China — too small (probably suitable for table art), Thai White — too seedy, Turkish Orange — again too tiny and annoying.
Now, about peppers. I usually grow cayenne and Hungarian hot wax. It is a mystery why I persist in this habit. I don’t even like hot peppers. I give them away or use for decoration.
As far as sweet ones I have much to say (big surprise). The old standbys always work for me — California Wonder, Orange Sun and Big Red. Other favorites include Jimmy Nardello and Corbace. Both of these varieties looks like a long cayenne but are prolific and super sweet. Give the red cherry a try. They are the ones seen in jars at the supermarket. Again they are very sweet and meant to be eaten in the field. I tried Aconcaqua and Ozark Giant this year. Large peppers are a snap to prepare. I always grow both paprika and pimentoes. The paprika are sweet unless one happens to get a seed by mistake. We’re talking lip-chapping here.
This past week has been so beautiful (remember, I wrote this last Sunday) that I accomplished very few of my appointed tasks. I spent a good deal of time gabbing with old friends.
It seems Islanders come out of the woodwork this month. Most of us are too busy for socializing all summer. Early fall is a gift.
My old dog spent most of the month digging holes in the garden beds and lawn. He has been preparing himself several areas for lying in the sunshine. For some reason, it doesn’t annoy me as when a puppy or young dog does the same thing.
I’m crazy about mandavillas. I always forget to plant them for myself. I admire the one climbing on the telephone pole in front of the funeral home. The late Patricia Neal always had them climbing her South Water street home. Particularly nice is one climbing a porch into a flower box of pink impatiens about a block down Skiff avenue on the right-hand side.
Back to some of my least favorites in the border. I cannot see the point of clethra. It’s so big in the landscaping world as a native planting. I say let nature do it. I hate how it looks in the spring — all labor-intensive deadheading to be done. I know everyone loves the scent midsummer (aka sweet pepper bush). I especially dislike it when paired with dozens of miscanthus, the ornamental grass. I think they are way overused not to mention invasive.
In the perennial bed, now is the time to move things around while there is a bit of memory left. It’s way too busy in the spring. Keep an eye out for seedlings of buddlea and Rose of Sharon. They are plentiful and will give you a proper shrub for free.
What is wrong with Harry Reid? Why can’t he push the vote for continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and make the Republicans show their true colors? He needs half the backbone of Nancy Pelosi. She rocks!