Yesterday, a small heart appeared in my hand. It’s a Russian Banana Fingerling potato that obviously forked and grew into a heart.
I was picking potatoes out of the storage bin to add to pot roast in the oven when I discovered this gem.
Last September when I dug up the potatoes I grew, there were so many (about 65 pounds) that I didn’t look at them carefully, other than to cull any with cuts or rot. I washed and dumped the potatoes into a huge cardboard box for storage in the garage.
By the way, in 2010 I tried storing potatoes in a root cellar made from a buried trash can , and everything (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.) rotted. This year’s lazy approach (covered box in a dark corner of the garage) has worked perfectly. All the potatoes, carrots, beets and parsnips have remained in perfect condition. And, access is much easier.
The heart-shaped Russian Banana Fingerling I grew escaped the pot roast, but it now graces a centerpiece among red rose buds.
Another dye job.
Peacock blue, flamingo pink, copper and tangerine Echevera are the newest dyed plants to hit markets. Their fleshy succulent leaves are stained in surreal colors, but new growth will revert to the normal color. Euro Cactus is rushing them to stores this spring.
Look for dyed succulents at stores in a few weeks, as they are latest plant species to be dyed. Photo courtesy of Euro Cactus.
I think plant breeders have gone on strike and wholesale producers, in retaliation, have invested in vats of dye in order to offer consumers new plants. Either that or the dye craze is a cheap way to boost plant sales. Sorry, I needed to vent!
The real deal.
My friend plant breeder Dan Heims was in Germany attending the premier plant show in the world IPM Essen.  He sent photos of interesting plants he’s encountered via Facebook. One totally dazzled me.
It’s called "Green Beauty" and bred by Olig Breeding in Korea—bred, not dyed. Soft bronze edges highlight the pastel green color of the blooms. It’s from Columbia Roses and will be available as a cut flower within weeks and as a plant later. Photo is courtesty of Dan Heims.
Doreen Howard has written for The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide for 15 years and is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day as well as a photographer. She has grown more than 300 varieties of heirloom edibles and flowers in the last two decades.
In stores now!
Look for Doreen's newest book, Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday's Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs for Today's Cook. Find in stores everywhere including Walmart and on the Web including amazon.com .