What I Learned in 2011

It was labeled Society garlic, and looked so pretty with its striped leaves. The flowers would be lavender. If it grew anything like my garden chives, it would thrive.
It did. But the winter hardiness was labeled 9, and in our 4-if-we’re-lucky northern plains, that means dead by Thanksgiving. So-o-o, when we put our garden to sleep, I dug it up, potted it, and brought it inside.
Can you say, ‘smells like skunk?’
After several months, it is still alive, still thriving, in a closed basement room, and you can still smell it from the hall. For a few days I tried enclosing it in a white garbage bag, but it made absolutely no difference in how strong it smelled.
The enclosed room? My sewing room.
I have always longed for a root cellar like the one my Grandma had. The earthy scents emanating from that space are among my favorite. But I’d be willing to sacrifice that for the remainder of the winter if I could cover up that garlic/skunk odor.
Well, I don’t have a root cellar, and haven’t sewn as much lately as I usually do. Funny thing, though. After about an hour, my sense of smell seems to take a siesta, like when you sniff too many perfume samples. That way I get a little sewing done, after all.
So I need to do some research. Should I have let the garlic die back and taken in just the bare bulbs?
And how did I let myself be fooled by the name ‘Society garlic?’
Lesson learned. But when I replant in the spring, I fully intend to divide the garlic into several clumps and spread that summer loveliness around. It really was rather pretty. Outside.

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