Hot Pink Rose, Harvested for Petals

Gardening

This hot pink rose unexpectedly bloomed in my garden this year. I expected it to take a bit more time establishing itself, as it was placed near some tough competition. I picked the fragrant, hot-pink bloom to dry the petals so that I can try drinking rose petal tea!

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Can you spot the yarrow leaf in the background?

Pea Pod Harvest

Gardening

The peas have yielded enough pods to make an appearance in several dinners. I am impressed with how productive the plants were this year, especially compared to the time that the peas were eaten by bugs and I barely got to try any. That said, I think next time, I’d like to grow snow or snap peas so that I can eat the pods, as well. The pods were boiled into a couple of broths, but I’d prefer to be able to eat the entire product I harvest, rather than putting the pods back into the soil through compost because pods are too fibrous to chew. The peas were delicious fresh or steamed!

Mint Harvest

Gardening

I give my mint patch a hard pruning every midsummer, and sometimes another in late summer or early fall to keep it under control. Unchecked, mint can become invasive in North America as it easily crowds out all other plants that may try to grow. Luckily, mint makes lovely tea and mintcakes! I harvest bundles and dry them in a dark room, then I strip the leaves from the stems and store them in a jar for cooking and tea the rest of the year. It’s important to label all your jars with the ingredient and the harvest date so that you don’t let anything go to waste.

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I can taste it already! No, really, there were many more of these bundles unpictured and now my hands and my home all smells strongly of delicious mint!

Pea Blossoms

Gardening

The peas were productive this year, much better than last year when they were eaten by beetles down to the stems. I think it worked better this year because the plants were spaced further apart. These peas came from seeds I was lucky enough to get on clearance last fall, and despite this, they managed to germinate at a decent rate. The blossoms are bright white and the peas are the variety you have to take out of the pod to eat.

Volunteers for Dinner

Cooking and Household, Gardening

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Volunteer plants, ones that I didn’t go through the effort of planting but somehow still grew in my garden, are the best kind of weeds. Here is a walking onion that had walked right out of the onion bed and into the pathway and a radish that managed to grow despite the odds, as all of its fellow radishes had been picked already. The radish was a lovely afternoon snack, and the onion found its way into dinner the night I discovered it.

Fragrant Valerian Flowers

Gardening

Valerian, an herb mentioned by the ancient Greeks, is generally grown for the root part, but the Victorians knew that it smells amazing and used the flowers in their perfumes. These little, white flowers fill the entire garden with their fragrance! I know they’re blooming just by stepping out the back door. If you are in the US, make sure you clip them before the seeds form to prevent them spreading where you don’t want them, as they’re not a native plant.