Of the herbaceous perennials at Minnetrista, Joe-Pye weed is one of the skyscrapers, reaching 7–8 feet tall. Although it’s slow to get going—it’s one of the last plants to start growing in spring—its height soon surpasses most plants around it.
Although the odd weather has affected the crops this year, there is still a lot of great produce out there. This is certainly the best time of year to get tomatoes, peppers, onions, along with many other delicious produce items.
Along with the usual contents such as community memorabilia and newspaper articles, there are some very special letters included in the Minnetrista cornerstone. They were written by Janice Ball Fisher, Helen Ball Robinson, Lucy Ball Owsley, Rosemary Ball Bracken, and their cousin Doris Mauck Friedrichs.
In the early 20th century, Harriett Mitchell Anthony, a.k.a. “Diamond Heels Hattie” and “Hattie Bell” made quite a splash in her hometown of Muncie for her extraordinary clothing and for her shoes set with diamonds in the heels.
About this time last summer, I briefly mentioned a plant disease the gardeners and I were dealing with in the Minnetrista Boulevard planting bed. Called crown rot or southern blight, it was making quick work of hostas.
Recently, I spent a pleasant lunch hour talking about the Ball family and the history of the company with approximately forty Jarden Home Brand employees. Jarden, of course, holds the license to make Ball jars. The company also manufactures the lids and bands for all canning jars at a facility located on the former site of Ball Brothers Company at Memorial Drive and Macedonia Avenue.
Ouch! With its thirty sharp needles, the medical instrument known as the “life awakener” or Lebenswecker in German most likely caused more pain than it cured. The hollow ebony tube contained a handle with a coiled spring attached. When this spring was released, the needles punctured the patient’s skin, injecting oil known as Oleum, otherwise known as fuming sulphuric acid. Again, ouch.
Behind The Orchard Shop at Minnetrista, there is a secret garden. Unassuming as it is, you might walk right past it. But take a closer look. This garden is bursting with food! And people! And…dogs? This is the Permaculture Demonstration Garden at Minnetrista, started in partnership with The Permaculture Initiative.
This is not the first time I have written a blog like this. However, I think this information bears repeating. It is the beginning of garden season. Many of us who want a veggie garden already have the plants in the ground. This also means it is coming into the season for some heavy duty canning.
In March, I told you about the renovation work that will be done at Oakhurst this summer. There have been some delays, but the work is starting now, just in time to mark the twentieth anniversary of the public opening of the house on May 27. This year also marks 120 years since George and Frances Ball moved into the house.