Peak Of Perfection

How to know when something is at the most perfect stage that it will ever be, that is the question. Above: Clematis ‘Doctor Ruppel’

There are flowers blooming that seem perfectly pristine, like the passalong peony from my neighbor, most likely Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’.

Sometimes the easier task is knowing when something has not yet reached its optimum stage, like the red hot pokers that came with the property, most likely Kniphofia caulescens. They are still tightly budded as they ascend to their destiny.

The subject that we have been dancing a jig around is dear to my heart, and palate. When it was first noticed, growing up in the veggie bed, a violet leaf was placed gently underneath, to better be able to judge when perfection had been reached and to help keep it clean. Daily we checked on the progress. It began a whitish green and slowly became more red each day.

Today was the day, the redness was as dark as possible before decline set in. Plucked it was.

There are two other types of strawberries growing in the bed, Fragaria vesca ‘Red Wonder’ and F. vesca ‘White Delight’, both wild types with very small berries. Read more about them by clicking here. It is more difficult to tell when the white ones are ready to pick, but one easy way is to give a little tug on the berry. If it releases easily from the stem, it is as sweet as the red ones. The color of the flesh and seeds becomes darker when ripe as well, a little more yellow than green.

Here is the haul, somewhat paltry. Should I save some to share with The Financier?

Regular readers will know that was purely a rhetorical question. The berries were perfect. Do you have any peaks of perfection in your garden yet? I certainly hope so.


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18 Responses to Peak Of Perfection

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Yes, some of my bloomers have peaked and passed. It seems that I am not awaiting the next wave of blooms already. Those strawberries look yummy. No wonder you didn’t share. How does this year’s crop taste? I hope they passed the taste test.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the support. The berries were sweet and luscious. The blooming sequence here is totally out of sync. I have no idea what will be in bloom at different times this year. It will be a surprise. Good thing I like surprises.

  2. indygardener says:

    No peak of perfection when it comes to strawberries, but soon, soon!

    Hi Carol, thanks for visiting. Hooray for your coming peaks!

  3. Les says:

    Bearded iris were at peak until yesterday’s 3″ of rain, but I am willing to sacrifice as we were so dry.

    Hi Les, lucky you with that rain! The rain totally passed us by, sad to say, but the cold snap is well under way. Blackberry winter.

  4. Layanee says:

    The Head Gardener must do a taste test first.

    Ah, yes, Layanee, it was a taste test. We don’t want anyone to eat less than perfect fruit here, do we?

  5. I am waiting patiently for my Japanese dwarf lilacs to be in full bloom. I have a few teasers out, but I’m waiting for the rest.

    Hi Susan, thanks for adding in here. Oh how wonderful to be waiting for lilacs! The scent is so sweet and the flowers so beautiful.

  6. Crystal says:

    Your strawberries look delicious. I can almost taste them. A white strawberry has recently been introduced here in the UK. The fruits are sold for just a couple of weeks in the upmarket supermarkets, and a punnet of them is very expensive. I grew a plant last year but didn’t harvest any fruit, better luck this year I hope.

    Hi Crystal, interesting that they would be selling the white strawberries anywhere! They are sweet, but the appearance is sort of offputting. Funny thing, they are more prolific with fruiting than the little red ones here. I hope yours prove to be so, as well.

  7. Rose says:

    Ha, I knew those strawberries weren’t going to make it to the Financier’s dessert plate:) I’ve never tried white strawberries before; I think I would miss that perfectly red deliciousness, though. My garden is in a lull right now, with the peak of tulips and other spring bulbs over with, but my clematis is also in its prime right now.

    Of course you did, Rose, HA! The white berries taste exactly the same, but it is hard to get past the lack of red. I have to close my eyes. The clemmies are having a banner year in this weirdness. This year is full of surprises!

  8. Leslie says:

    The Sugar Snap peas are on the edge of perfection…I will admit to taste testing one the other day. A gardener has the responsibility to check on these things.

    Good girl! These things need taste testing for certain. My sugar snaps are just beginning to flower. I will do the right thing about taste testing them.

  9. “Peak bloom, readiness or ripeness” is now so difficult to predict with the weather ups and downs. My cottage garden is a month ahead of April 2011, but the deer resistant garden is a month behind! Micro-climate in the cottage garden during the winter. I can tell that you enjoyed your berries!

    Hi Freda, thanks for joining in to the conversation. This year is one for the record books in every way. Every day is a surprise as to what is budding, etc. We just have to ride it out and see what happens. No preconceived ideas!

  10. Turling says:

    Hey, you’re red hot pokers are far ahead of mine. That sounded dirty.

    Hi Turling, it sounds exciting, if nothing else! HA

  11. I might be weird, but I find I prefer things just before they reach the peak. I enjoy the promise of the buds as much as, and possibly more in some cases, the blooms. I suspect that perfect is in the eye of the beholder.

    You and me both about flower buds, MMD. But in the case of strawberries, all the way red is the only way to go!

  12. I love that you put a violet leaf under like it was a little baby. I ate three strawberries yesterday. They weren’t pristine, but boy, oh boy, were they good. Hugs friend.

    Thanks Dee, you are such a romantic! We have a bazillion violet leaves and they are just the right size for strawberry babying. I really need to mulch the beds with straw. Glad you got to taste that perfection in your own garden.

  13. Diane says:

    Hi Frances, As I have just got a garden project started in my building for seniors, the perfection I see is in the attitudes of many lonely people as their seeds are sprouting and their excitement is building. Tiny bits of life pushing up giving meaning and purpose to my group of 16 people. I have never enjoyed a garden so much. Hello from all of us in Vancouver, Canada.

    Hi Diane, thanks so much for writing about this wonderful project! You are doing a great service in helping the seniors share in the joy that growing things brings to all. The very best of luck to you!

  14. gail says:

    Dear Frances, Perfection and yumminess! What’s at its peak in my garden~HM~The peonies and any minute the penstemons will pop! Soon the winds will be gone and we can enjoy our purrfect gardens. xoxogail

    Dear Gail, thanks so much. The pink flowered husker reds are just opening here. I take them for granted since they pop up everywhere, but they are a joy and quite perfect!

  15. I bet those strawberries were yummy – they certainly looked it. I have never heard of white strawberries.

    Hi African Aussie, thanks. I do love all strawberries, the white ones are truly good, they just look odd. I have to close my eyes when eating them. I believe they are promoted as not being in danger from hungry birds without the red color.

  16. staylor319 says:

    To the gardener, go the spoils. It usuay takes the kids awhile to reailize when the blackberries are ripe. Usually b/c they see blackberry juice on my gadening t shirt. Oh well, it they had been helping with the weeding, they would have known!

    Hi Stevie, thanks for sharing here. I love your attitude about the spoils going to the ones doing the labor. How funny about the juicey shirt!

  17. O.K. That strawberry picture did make my mouth water. We are still at the stage of putting straw over the berries to keep them safe from the cold, but it won’t be long and we can have some strawberry shortcake. Your pictures are beautiful.

    Hi Sandy, thanks. I need to put straw down to mulch the plants and keep the fruit clean. Yum to shortcake!

  18. I love the series of shots with the Strawberries! Yum! They’re the best when they’re fresh. I can’t wait to taste the local ones this summer.

    Hi Plant Postings, thanks. Strawberries are the very best when just picked, whether from your own garden or a local farm. Warmed by the sun, yum!

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