Sometimes gardens produce surprises – especially when you haven’t looked closely at the little plastic tag stuck in the soil when you buy the small plant! In spring planting season, my brother-in-law thought he was planting cucumbers. Well, he was – sort of! He didn’t look at the little tag that he’d already stuck in the ground next to the plant until he saw the most unusual cucumbers – if that is what they really were!
In fact, these very long, fat “fruits” are called “Armenian yard-longs.” Yard-long is descriptive, because that is about how long each one of these cucumbers are. The photo here is one of the last ones, and not nearly the biggest! (My foot is in the photo for scale – I wear a size 8 shoe.)
When my brother-in-law pulled out the little tag to find out what kind of cucumber these were, he had to look up “Armenian yard-longs” on the internet. Wikipedia has this description: The Armenian cucumber,Cucumis melo var. flexuosus, is a type of long, slender fruit which tastes like a cucumber and looks somewhat like a cucumber inside. It is actually a variety of muskmelon (C. melo), a species closely related to the cucumber (C. sativus). It is also known as the yard-long cucumber, snake cucumber, snake melon. It should not be confused with the snake gourds (Trichosanthes spp.).
The information my brother-in-law found said that the yard-long is a hybrid between a cucumber and a muskmelon. It really does taste like a cucumber and inside looks like a cucumber – and nothing like a melon!!
Yesterday, for Cee’s FOTD, I posted the most amazing dahlia, called “Mystic Illusion” which I photographed while at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Here are dahlias from that same patch, from the back. They don’t even look real!
Ironweed is a plant native to northern Illinois and its purple flowers attract butterflies due to its bright color as well as the plant’s abundant nectar. It grows among the grasses and other plants along the edge of one of our ponds here at The Moorings.
Platycodon grandiflorus, more commonly known as “balloon flower,” is a perennial that blooms in July. I acquired mine from my sister many years ago, which she gave me from her own garden. I planted them in my garden outside my house where I lived for 25 years, then I dug them up and transferred them to my new home when we moved 3 years ago. They now happily bloom on my patio in a large pot, which they share with columbine, another perennial that blooms earlier, in June.