September 29, 2011
Home and community gardeners are still harvesting colorful bell peppers this time of year, and many will continue to do so right through until the end of October.
But even if you didn’t get around to planting a garden this summer, you can still enjoy the rewards of home-grown with ornamental hot peppers.
Some food markets sell festive Medusa-style chili peppers like these below. Although this ornamental is a sweet pepper, it isn’t always as tasty a variety as those grown strictly for flavor rather than looks alone. These peppers fruit in a cluster, like a bouquet, which only adds to their colorful charm.
In the Rittenhouse Square area, the Floral Expressions shop on 18th Street, between Chestnut and Sansom, is selling Black Pearl Peppers. Both the leaves and the fruit are deep black, with tiny lavender flower buds; the fruit will eventually ripen to a rich red. Like all hot peppers, this drought resistant variety is edible and very, very hot.
A stunning array of these black beauties is nestled among dozens of other gorgeous perennials and flowering annuals within the well-tended garden outside the Dorchester Condominium building adjacent to the Square.
According to the Landreth Seed Company, this variety was an All American Selection for 2006 and is perfect for container gardening.
The Landreth Seed Company is America’s oldest seed company. It was begun by David Landreth in Montreal in 1780 before relocating to Philadelphia in 1784. In recent years, it was acquired by other seed companies and then briefly headquartered in Baltimore. In 2003 new owners took over the company and in 2006 moved Landreth to New Freedom, PA.
Change, however, continues for the old firm. It’s currently facing a crisis in this tough economy and may be forced to close. As a fundraising effort, it’s selling a collector’s catalog filled with hand-drawn illustrations, color photographs and articles about home gardening care from the 1800s.
Landreth Seed Co. photos
Medusa Pepper from www.DirectGardening.com
Black Pearl Pepper by Ralph Anderson, Southern Living Magazine
Landreth Seed Company Catalog cover, Landreth Seed Company Facebook Page
Anita Mc Kelvey © 2011-2016
The Philadelphia Pepper Project