My 2010 Seed Savers Exchange catalog has been sitting on my kitchen table for the last week or two. I sit and read it while I eat my lunch and imagine growing the following strange and wonderful things in my garden:
Prickly Caterpillar (Scorpiurus muricatus). I had to go look this one up. It appears to be a legume that puts out these crazy little hairy green seed pods that resemble caterpillars. From the catalog:
"Low-growing plants make a
nice ground cover and are sure to be the best conversation piece in
your garden. In days past, caterpillars were added to salads to
surprise unexpected diners, but not meant to be eaten,
mostly because they are so hairy. Try growing
in containers, if space is tight. Great historic novelty that should be
grown in every garden."
Crazy. Amazing. And:
Luther Burbank's sunberry, a somewhat controversial solanum because Burbank's detractors claimed he had not actually hybridized a new plant but just re-introduced an existing one. Anyway, it's a beautiful dark blue fruit and I can't even begin to imagine what it must taste like–but I'd like to know.
Hill Country Red Okra, which I have no hope of ever growing in this cool climate, but wow, who doesn't want a beautiful green and red-striped okra? I like a martini with a pickled okra in it; I wonder if the coloring of this one would hold up to the pickling process.
Habanero Mustard peppers that belong in a still life, not a stir fry. Wow.
Ten Commandments gourds. Again. A work of art. I don't even know what I would do with them and I want them.
And don't even get me started on the pickling cucumbers.
And here's the thing. If you become a member, which only costs $35 per year, you get their magazine, and a discount on your orders, and all kinds of other good stuff. Really, if this catalog is not already on your kitchen table, get over to their website and make it so. I think it's the most beautiful and readable catalog of the season so far.