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Spigelia is a native perennial that is not commonly offered for sale but deserves to be
more widely grown. PHOTOS BY ARTY SCHRONCE

Consumer Qs, May 9, 2017

By Arty Schronce, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

www.agr.georgia.gov

Editor’s note: “Consumer Qs” by Arty Schronce is written for gardeners throughout Georgia and may include plants not permitted in Big Canoe. For Big Canoe Property Owners who may want to check whether a plant is allowed, please refer to the POA’s Approved Plant List http://www.bigcanoepoa.org/getmedia/b668254f-a001-418c-ad94-3873707c5444/Approved-Plant-List.aspx

This column contains a name you may think has a typo. However, it is Kleim with an m, not Klein.

Question (Q): I recently saw a red and yellow flower in bloom that was labeled as spigelia. Can you tell me more about it?

Answer (A): Spigelia (Spigelia marilandica) also goes by the common names of pinkroot, Indian pink and wormgrass. Spigelia is a beautiful and striking perennial with tubular flowers that range from ruby red to carmine on the outside and open at the end into six-pointed stars of buttery yellow or chartreuse. The plant gets about 12 to 24 inches tall and grows in light shade to almost full sun. It gets leggier and doesn’t bloom as readily in shadier spots. It likes moist but well-drained soils high in organic matter.

Spigelia usually blooms in May or June in Georgia. It is native from Missouri and Kentucky south to Florida, including Georgia. It is not commonly available in the nursery trade, but is worth seeking from specialty nurseries, native plant societies or sales at botanical gardens.

Q: What is creamline milk?

A: Creamline milk is milk that has not been homogenized. A line of cream will form at the top because cream is lighter than the rest of the milk and rises to the surface. Homogenization breaks fat molecules down to such a small size that they remain suspended evenly throughout the milk instead of rising to form the layer of cream.

Shake creamline milk before drinking or cooking with it. Creamline milk is not as readily available as homogenized milk. If you have never had any, you may want to give it a try. You may even get your children to drink more milk if you make a game about who gets to shake the milk before a meal or before they have a “shaken milk” milkshake for dessert.

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Milk from Rock House Creamery in Newborn, Georgia, showing the distinctive separation
that occurs with creamline milk. Shake creamline milk before drinking it or using it for
cooking.

Q: I recently saw a gardenia that did not look like a normal gardenia. It had only six petals instead of the cluster of numerous petals I am familiar with. Is this a new hybrid or even a gardenia?

A: Most Southern gardeners are familiar with double-flowered gardenias, but there are single-flowered ones as well. Two you may find at nurseries are White Gem and Kleim's Hardy.

Although the single-flowered gardenia is new to you, it is not new. In the natural world, single-flowered forms of plants are the norm as they are more likely to produce seeds, and extra rows of petals are a waste of energy. In gardens and in florist shops, however, just as with the gardenia, the multi-petal varieties of peonies, dahlias, camellias, roses, carnations and many other flowers may be better known to most people than their single-flowered counterparts.

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Double-flowered gardenias are more common, but single-flowered ones are also available.
Both have the exquisite gardenia fragrance.

Q: I plan to grill steaks and chicken that have marinated overnight in the refrigerator. Can the marinade be used as a sauce on the cooked meat?

A: Using marinade in which raw meat has sat is an example of cross-contamination between the raw and cooked product and can lead to illness. If you want to use some of your marinade as a sauce for cooked meat, reserve a portion in a separate container before adding the raw meat. If you want to use marinade that has been in contact with raw meat, boil it for at least 60 seconds.

A more common form of cross-contamination that occurs when grilling is using the same platter or utensils that previously held or handled raw meat. This allows bacteria from the raw meat’s juices to spread to the cooked food. Instead, have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side to serve your food.

Use a food thermometer to make sure your meats have reached their proper endpoint temperatures: 165 degrees F. for chicken, 145 degrees F. for steaks and large cuts of meat and 165 degrees F. for ground meat.

If you have questions about agriculture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.

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