A bouquet of flowers,
Mix with freshly mowed lawns
And a little pine;
Warming soil so earthy
And all that’s waking up,
Mixed with rain washed air:
Spring wears such amazing perfume!
Ah, the weather is warming and spring fever is setting in! Time to think about yards and gardens. In the past several years, I have reconsidered my approach, especially in terms of what I try to get rid of and what I might leave. One lesson in this was my discovery that honey bees like button weed. Hmmm, I will have to leave them a good sized patch.
Bees aren’t the only beneficiaries of indigenous plants – often called weeds by us “civilized” folk. It turns out that we are digging up some possible meals.
There are lots of these edibles in disguise in our lawns and green spaces that are actually friendly; even helpful…and more than that, edible. While I am not quite ready to go sampling on my own, I will describe some that I know to be good:
You’ve heard of dandelion wine right? Well, why not eat this plant raw and unfermented? I’ve have known that the leaves are edible for a long time. Yes, they can be a little bitter, especially if they’re older, but young ones aren’t so bad. It turns out that dandelions are good from root to flower. More on that as I check them out.
This rather delicate looking plant is a good salad veggie, although I’ve read that it can be cooked in stir fries or soups as well. It turns out that purslane is a good source of omega 3.
I’m betting you’re not too surprised about that. It’s leaves and flowers are good to eat. A small amount of leaves can be chopped and added to salads. The flowers can be eaten raw or dried for tea.
The leaves add snap to salads; the blossoms can be used a garnish or as cups for sweet or savory mousse; the seed pods can be pickled and use like capers.
5. Rose blossoms:
There are all sorts of uses for these lovelies, from decorating and garnishing to making tea. The flavor differs between roses – Darker ones tend to have a strong fragrance and flavor.
6. Herb flowers:
Garlic, onion,chive, basil, oregano, rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage… Most taste like the herb. Take it easy, in case your tummy doesn’t appreciate the added fiber.
I have friends who are very familiar with edible plants. One goes out to pick her wild salad greens every spring: Dandelion, mustard, fiddle ferns…
Another puts violet blossoms in her salad for an extra touch.
I hear tell that wild amaranth (also known as pig weed) is another nutritious offering by Mother Nature. I haven’t done anything with this, so can’t recommend it.
Are you intrigued yet? There are plenty of others; I’m just not all that familiar with them. Do a search or take a class: You will discover all sorts of edibles in Mother Nature’s pantry.
Just when you think you’ve had enough;
The cold gets you down;
Trudging through snow seems so rough,
Out come lovely heralds of Spring:
Some of them blooming
While others start to sing.
Just about the time you give in
To endless Winter,
All around you will begin
To awaken and give new birth
So is the cycle
Of life on Mother Earth.
When I was growing up, we used to get bulb catalogs right about now. Yes, in the middle of winter, while the snow is blowing into drifts outside and gardening is the least likely activity of the day!
But oh, the flowers! Page after page of beauty in every shape, size and color.
Now is a good time to think about them; in fact, just trying to name my favorites puts a big smile on my face. Let’s see, there’s roses, violets, gladiolas, delphinium, lilies, daisies, hollihocks, petunias, pansies,…too many to list…and they’re all my favorites!
What is (are) your favorite(s)? Why?
My front yard used to be known as the neighborhood weed patch. The year after I moved into this place, I turned it into a garden, so I call it my “yarden.”
This year, we had just the right mix of warm weather and spring rain, so the yarden really flourished. Umm, that includes the weeds.
For the first time in the three summers I have had the yarden, there were also lots of bees. I had some last year, but nothing like this growing season. They started early, in the chive blossoms, and have increased in number as plants have come into bloom. I bet their honey is
plenty spicy: They have especially frequented the rosemary, oregano and basil. They also like the strawberry patch, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. Hollihocks caught their attention, as did the bee balm.
One day, I was planning to dig up some button weed. When I got out there, however, it was full of bees, so I left it. I also discovered that they like dandelion blossoms.
All of this has inspired me to think about a bee friendly place as I develop the yarden even more. I can’t say I am happy about leaving weeds; so I am searching for the right ground covers and plants to add. I will leave some of the bees’ favorites, even if they are not my idea of “desirable”, until I find good replacements. I have also found instructions for making a bee bath.
I invite suggestions. Are there things that you have noticed the bees really liking? I live in zone 6: Our coldest temperatures can be as low as -10, though that doesn’t happen all that often.