Tag Archives: flowers

An oversight

As I wait anxiously for the ice to melt and the snow to stop falling and Old Man Winter to withdraw his frosty tentacles and release me, I am disheartened to see that last year’s garden, which should have really been the star of the summer, never got its chance to shine. In this blog, that is. In real life, it gave me joy and wonder everyday. Somehow I managed never to document it, though. 

I will try to remedy that mistake by posting pictures from last summer’s garden as I start planning for this year. I hope to draw inspiration, learn from mistakes, and beat the winter doldrums away. 

This beautiful little flower looks like it’s just about to take wing and fly. It looks like a sort of sweet pea, and was an absolute delight in a little patch in front of my porch. 



Stay tuned for more!

Asiago crusted penne with crimini mushrooms and garden greens

When I was a little girl with pigtails and Mary Janes, we lived in suburban Texas, where as the saying goes, the tallest thing on the horizon is a Coke can. There are vast expanses of grass, dotted in the spring and summer with dandelions and little purple flowers – I still don’t know what they’re called. I’d bring bouquets of these flowers home for my mother on my way home from the school bus stop, and she’d put them in a little glass everyday.

I soon learned that dandelions were ‘weeds’, and I stopped thinking of them as having any value. As I grew older and started seeing dandelion greens for sale in high end grocery stores, I was convinced that we weren’t all talking about the same plant. Why on earth would someone pay good money to buy weeds? As it turns out, though, people do. And for good reason.

Dandelion greens are rich, flavorful, and apparently quite nutritious. Now I have my own backyard and garden, with those pesky dandelions taking up way too much space. I pull them up dutifully, and they come right back. Today, I thought to myself, why not see if this dandelion green thing works for me? I’m pulling them up anyway, what if I just throw them in dinner?

I was not disappointed.

Thrown together with garlic shoots also foraged from the garden (another story for another day), a tomato and a sweet Italian pepper, the greens made a lovely addition to a simple weeknight meal – let’s see what S has to say.

A handful of dandelion greens – try to use the smaller inside leaves before the plant flowers, they’re more tender and less bitter – went into a cold water bath with garlic shoots from the yard.

20140422-195458.jpg

Crimini mushrooms have a nice round flavor that balances the bitter greens perfectly. Sauté them with olive oil, salt, and crushed red peppers.

20140422-195622.jpg

In the meantime, boil water and cook your pasta till al dente. I used penne, but you can use anything small – farfalle, orecchiette, even elbow macaroni would work.

Rinse your greens well. Garden greens are delicious but are covered with grit and soil. I rinsed about 4 times, I suggest you do the same. Chop or tear them into smaller pieces.

Wilt the greens in the pan. I use cast iron so it can go straight into the oven. Add a diced pepper or two if you’d like. We got some beautiful artisan red peppers at the market last week. This seemed like the perfect place to use up the last one.

20140422-195943.jpg

Add a dollop of ricotta and herbs of your choice – I went for thyme and oregano – and stir in the pasta.

20140422-200254.jpg

Finally, toss with a handful of mozzarella and top with Asiago and pop it in the oven.

It only took about 20 minutes, and made for a delicious meal.

Who knew?

20140422-200443.jpg

Today in the garden

Spring is really here now! Cool wet days, damp and heavy nights with early morning fog – it really gives perspective. Years ago I would have been disappointed with such weather, especially in temps of 50’s. But now, I actually did a happy dance on my porch.

Tomato seedlings are coming up, slowly sending out baby true leaves – it’s time to transplant them!

20140412-095325.jpg

Snowdrops – a little late but one little guy looks like he made it.

20140412-095418.jpg

And violets – the joy of those little faces peeking up. Doesn’t it look like this little face is telling us to have hope?

20140412-095449.jpg

A happy and beautiful Crocus!

“…Then from my heart will young petals diverge, As rays of the sun from their focus; I from the darkness of earth shall emerge, A happy and beautiful Crocus! Many, perhaps, from so simple a flower, This little lesson may borrow, Patient today, through its gloomiest hour, We come out the brighter tomorrow.”

from Smiles  by Miss H. F. Gould in The Poetry of Flowers, 1832. >