Wednesday, 21 August 2013
A Carrot By Any Other Name
However this 'umble umbel is definitely one for the cutting patch rather than the cooking pot. This summer I've been pleased to make the acquaintance of daucus carota 'Black Knight'. Well I think that it's him although his behaviour and mannerisms have deviated slightly from what the blurb says on the seed packet.
Initially seed was sown in 2012, germination occured but then the seedlings seemed to linger in a forever state of soggy suspended animation during that summer that never was. In the end I gave up on them and lobbed them unceremoniously on the compost heap. A decision was made to give them another go this year. Seed was sown on 21st April and this time round the seedlings flourished, producing flowers since around the middle of last month with still lots more to come. The plants have reached about three foot in height bur flop about albeit quite gracefully. They would benefit from some unobtrusive twiggy support but there's no suitable material to hand just now. The foliage is fine and feathery. The flowers last well in water - the one you can see is still going strong after eleven days. The seed packet describes the flowers as crimson - now here I beg to differ as to my eye they are a dusky old rose.
I confess to being slightly puzzle as the seed packet advises that the plant is a biennial but obviously this is not the case as far as the seeds sown this year are concerned. I've been asking myself whether the long, hot dry spell in July affected their normal growth pattern. I wish that I had not so ruthlessly chucked last year's seedlings away as it would have been interesting to see if they had come good this summer. So I can only wonder what will happen when I sow them again next year as they are already on the definite must sow list for 2014. Has anyone else grown this plant and if so what has been your experience?