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|IDigMyGarden Forums > Herbs and Flowers|
|From Susan Wittig Albert|
|July 13th, 2009, 07:52 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central CA
USDA Zone: 9a
From Susan Wittig Albert
This Week's Special Days:
A Potpourri of Celebrations
Herb of the Year for 2008: Bay
July: National Peach Month
July 14: Bastille Day, the national French holiday
July 15: St. Swithin's Day. Is it raining?
July 16: National Corn Fritters Day
July 17: National Peach Ice Cream Day
The Weather in Your Garden
St. Swithin's Day if thou does rain
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin's Day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.
—Traditional weather lore
Saint Swithin was a Saxon bishop of Winchester in the ninth century. According to legend, he asked to be buried outdoors, so that "the sweet rain from heaven" could fall on his grave. For nine years, that's where he stayed—until the socially-conscious Winchester monks decided to move him to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral.
The ceremony, planned for July 15, 971, was rained out, or so the story goes, and the rain continued for 40 days. Hence the prediction: foul weather on St. Swithin's Day will bring 40 days of rain—but not often enough to make it a reliable prognosticator, according to British meteorologists.
However, there are other weather proverbs that might help:
If the leaves show their undersides, beware of foul weather.
When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.
When you hear the rain crow call, the rain will fall.
When the wind's in the south, the rain's in its mouth.
If these don't work, try looking at your garden. Clover, chickweed, dandelions, morning glories, anemone, and tulips are said to fold their petals prior to a rain. If the marigold opens before seven, you'll soon hear thunder; if they stay open all day, you're in for sunshine. And for predicting the temperature, try your local rhododendron, which furls its leaves as the temperature rises and falls: completely closed at 20°F, completely open at 60°F.
Now that climate change is upon us, in one form or another, weather is becoming a serious question for many. I've started keeping my own weather records, so I can know, from year to year, how things are changing here. Here's a simple log (http://urbanext.illinois.edu/weather/weatherlog.html ) that you and your children might enjoy keeping together. Or you can use a free online service like this one. (Whatever your choice, it pays to keep your eyes on the skies!
Weather is a great metaphor for life—sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella. —Pepper Giardino
Things to Do This Week
If you're French, celebrate Bastille Day. You're not French? Celebrate it anyway, by baking a classic Quiche Lorraine. Bon appetit!
If you're wondering what you can do about the weather (climate change, that is), give some thought to new life style choices. We can all do something, can't we? For instance, we can create a Victory Garden, and reduce those "food miles" our veggies travel from farm to fork. We can make some good dirt. Learn how in Let It Rot: The Gardener's Guide to Composting. And we can be informed. Read Tim Flannery's bestselling book, The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth
Learn more about corn. It's in the news these days, because we're turning more of it into biofuel and less of it into food. (Is that really what we want to do?) For every kernel of information you'll ever need to know about this staff of American food life, read The Story of Corn, by Betty Fussell.
Appreciate your peaches. We don't want to spoil your appetite for peach ice cream (mercy, no!). But there's another aspect to the peach personality you might want to know about. For centuries, herbalists have prescribed the leaves, bark, kernel, and flowers of the peach tree as a medicine. Imagine that, as you enjoy that scrumptious dish of peach ice cream!
“Give me spots on my apples; but leave me the birds and the bees….please!”
From “Big Yellow Taxi” -- Joni Mitchell
Last edited by cyra; July 13th, 2009 at 07:59 PM..
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