Okra, anyone?

Why did we go to Birmingham in September 2009?  I had won a spot in a cook off (my first) and we traveled their with expectations of coming home richer.  I think we did come home richer, but not monetarily.

A paver in Pepper Place.

The first highlight was the Saturday Market.  What a wonderful tradition.  My preconceived ideas about Birmingham were based on it nickname, “The Pittsburgh of the South“–not the most flattering description in my opinion.

This market, the restaurants, and villages changed my mind.

We found a “secret garden” adjacent to Pepper Place and found the most beautiful, tall plants growing there.   This garden was located just beyond this folk art piece.

Guarding the Secret Garden

Unfortunately, the plants were not labeled so I wrote as much of a description as I could in my notebook, “Looks like another type of hardy hibiscus with canes that look almost like bamboo–pale yellow flowers.  Research!”  We were dead set on finding out what this was.

Luckily, our next stop was the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  What impressed me the most with these wonderful gardens was that it was free.  We decided we would search out the illusive hibiscus looking flowers here.  We trekked through all the gardens to no avail.  Finally, we found a large vegetable-themed garden.   I cannot tell you how ignorant we felt when we found our specimen plant–it was a Clemson  Spineless Okra!  (Wow, I guess I really have been off the farm too long.)

I don’t know that I am a huge okra fan, but we have already decided we will grow okra for its beautiful flowers.

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