I’ve said many times that Angelique tulips are my favorite variety of tulip. They have beautiful, delicate and frilly pink flowers that get more intense the longer they bloom. Their leaves are also interesting, having a white stripe along the outer edge.
These photos are a bit old now, but taking the photos allows me to enjoy my bouquet of tulips longer than they perfumed the kitchen. The cut flowers lasted a long time in the vase with regular stem trimming and water changing, and the spent ones were composted to make more flowers.
The three survivors also survived a bout of mold. Now, they are displaying new growth! It will be a long time before I can use it for cooking, but I am happy to see them stronger.
This beautiful yellow iris flower has grown in the garden since I came here. It grows next to the yarrow.
The mint was sluggish this spring. I was fearing that I wouldn’t have enough for tea this year. Boy, was I wrong! There will be enough to drink, and maybe some to flavor shortbread, too.
When the purple chives bloom, I love harvesting the flowers to make chive blossom butter. A handful of chive flowers, their green parts removed and their flowers separated into little bits, plus a softened stick of butter, gently folded together while taking care not to crush the flowers. Plop the butter mixture onto some wax paper, form a stick, then chill until solid again. Delicious on homemade bread!
Last year, my squash were taken by vine borer beetles just as they were growing squash. It was heartbreaking. This year, I try again. Here some little acorn squash seedlings. I hope they grow strong and their produce is bountiful.
Columbine, also known as aquilegia, is a perennial flower native to America. It has beautiful, complex flowers. Its leaves are also gorgeous. I didn’t manage to catch the purple flowers on camera this year, but here are their frilly leaves which will be here all season long. They are lower placed than the flowers on their tall, thin stems, which means they are good for the front of a garden row. I’ll be letting the columbine go to seed so I can plant even more of it later.
Mybee balm, which I am so happy is vigorously growing, was shading out another plant, so I had to pull a small amount of it to let this plant grow, too. I made the bee balm leaves into a tea. I got the seeds here (Baker Creek Perennial Bee Balm Spielarten Mix) and they have about a year of growth now. I can’t wait until they finally bloom!
Bee balm tea has a refreshing, gentle lemon flavor and is the lightest green possible without being totally clear. If I were to make it into a tea blend, I would make sure that the other ingredients impart some amount of color to help me determine when the tea is properly steeped.
Last fall, I was very lucky to wander into the dollar store just when the clearance seeds were running. I don’t like to purchase dollar store seeds at full price because they just don’t germinate reliably and there are so few seeds per packet, but at pennies, what’s the harm in trying it? I purchased spinach, which I have already blogged about here, and a packet of radish mix.
I planted them in a row. After thinning them, I put the radish thinnings into a recipe! My goal is to waste as little as possible.
The radishes were ready for harvest in just a month. Here they are, sitting on top of my white yarrow plant:
I confess, they did not make it into a dinner. I washed them off and had them as a snack that afternoon. They were so tasty and zesty! (And I’m the only one in the household who likes them.)
Not all weeds are unwanted. Some are delicious. I use dandelion and violet flowers in my cooking when they are available. I use some caution with harvesting violets, for while they are common and easy to find, I want them to stay in my garden and become even more numerous. I only harvest a small amount of violet leaves or flowers at a time, and I take extra care to spread the harvest across the entire garden so I don’t wipe out one plant. With dandelions, I am far less careful. I can pick all of the dandelion flowers and find more again tomorrow. I think my neighbors would prefer that I pick as many of my dandelions as I can.
I believe that part of making a tasty meal is making it look appealing. This salad consists of dandelion flowers, violet flowers, and spinach all from my garden, and also some carrots and button mushrooms from the fridge. It tasted great with a light Italian dressing I already had in the fridge. Yum!