Question: I saw some beautiful blue to lavender to violet-blue flowers labeled “Queen Fabiola.” Can you tell me more about them?
Answer: Queen Fabiola is one variety of common triteleia (Triteleia laxa, previously Brodiaea laxa). Common triteleia is sometimes called triplet lily, Ithuriel's spear or simply triteleia.
Ithuriel’s spear is a bulb (technically a corm) that is planted in the fall and blooms in May. It is easy to grow and is a reliable perennial in Georgia. It provides shades of blue that are uncommon and that also blend well with many other colors. It is a good cut flower.
Native to northern California and southwest Oregon, Ithuriel’s spear likes full sun to half shade and prefers well-drained soil in summer. A few good companions to plant with it are clasping heliotrope, California poppy, butterflyweed, rose campion, Shirley poppies, Egyptian walking onions, bearded iris, dusty miller, Indian primrose, gaillardia and purple coneflower. Ithuriel’s spear is good to plant with daffodils to provide a second wave of color after the daffodils die back.
Queen Fabiola is the most common, and perhaps the best, variety of Ithuriel’s spear. Other less common varieties are rudy, foxy and white cloud. Although inexpensive and easy to grow, it has not found its way into many gardens. You may find some for sale at garden centers in late summer, and fall will find it in most bulb catalogs. Don’t let its unfamiliarity or assortment of unusual names (there is even disagreement on how to pronounce triteleia) discourage you from giving triteleia a try.
Q: I read that canned meats could be taken on picnics without a cooler. Wouldn’t they be dangerous?
A: What you read probably referred to individual-serving cans of meat products that would be opened and consumed in one sitting at the picnic site, not meat sandwiches that are prepared at home and hauled long distances and kept for long periods in the summer heat. Individual serving cans of tuna, smoked herring, smoked oysters, corned beef, devilled ham or other shelf-stable meat products are appropriate for cooler-less picnics. Dried meats such as jerky are also suitable.
Other products that can be taken on picnics without a cooler are bread, peanut butter, pecans and other nuts, crackers, trail mix, raisins, hard cheese, raw carrots, unsliced cucumbers and fruits such as bananas, apples, grapes, plums and peaches.
Q: The seeds of some of my peaches are split in two. What causes this?
A: No one is quite sure what causes the condition known as “peach pit split.” It is believed to be caused by events or cultural practices that promote rapid growth. It is more common in early peach varieties than late ones. Early-ripening varieties are most susceptible because of the short time between pit hardening and fruit swelling. A late frost that causes a partial crop loss and heavy rains during the critical growth period can contribute to pit splitting and shattering where the pit is broken in several pieces. Irregular periods of drought followed by lots of rain encourage peach pit split.
Peach pit split is a fairly common condition. If you encounter it, remove any of the broken pieces of the pit so you don’t crack a tooth.
If you have questions about agriculture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.