GardenWise with Edible Flower Power!

A Tasty & Fun Garden Project – Edible Flowers! 

I think the best first garden project for Spring should always be a fun small side project that you can successfully complete in a short period of time that will yield quick results.  It’s  such a confidence  booster  to  have  a  great success under your belt as you prepare to undertake larger garden projects over  the  next  three seasons.  An edible garden is a great small  project to  think about for Spring that will  become a favorite gift that keeps on giving.     

It can be difficult to find edible flowers to purchase, but they’re easy to grow yourself.  And there’s no greater personal touch when cooking for  family  and  friends  than  adding  edible flowers grown right  in  your  backyard.   Lavender, Marigolds, Thyme — they’re all edible!  For  the  freshest  tasting  goodies, your edible flowers should ideally be harvested in the cool, morning hours. If you’re not going to use the flowers immediately, cut  them  with  the  stems intact and keep them in water.  You can also store them in damp paper towels in the refrigerator.

Some tasty edible garden delights:

Lavender
Lavender has a sweet floral flavor, with a hint of lemon and citrus. Use as a garnish for sorbets or ice cream. Lavender also goes well with savory dishes.

Violas
Violas give a sweet perfumed flavor. The tender leaves and flowers can be eaten in a salad. Or the flowers can beautifully embellish desserts and iced drinks.

Sage
Sage flowers have a more delicate taste than the leaves, so be sure to be careful when pruning. Sage 
can be used in salads or as a garnish.

Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is indigenous to Southern Europe but is now cultivated worldwide. 
Lemon balm flowers have a gentle lemon scent and can be used as garnish.

Oregano
Oregano can be found growing wild on mountainsides of Greece and other Mediterranean countries where it is an herb of choice.  Oregano flowers can be used as you would the herb; it’s a milder version of plant’s leaf.

Marigolds
Marigold flavors range from spicy to tangy. Their sharp taste resembles saffron and the plant is sometimes referred to as poor man’s saffron. Their pretty petals can be sprinkled on soups, pasta or rice dishes, and salads.

Nasturtiums
Nasturtium blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Their leaves add a peppery tang to salads. Use the entire flower to garnish platters, salads, and savory appetizers. Nasturtium seeds are edible as well when they are young and green and have been likened to capers when pickled.

Thyme
Like sage, thyme flowers have a milder taste than the leaves. Use as you would the herb — the flowers also make a beautiful garnish.

A Hinged Trellis is GardenWise

A Foldaway Trellis!

It’s hard to clean  behind latticework, so a great alternative that allows you to get behind this wonderful garden accent  is to make a hinged trellis that swings open!

Start by fastening a strip of 3/4-by-1-inch wood to the wall about one and a half feet from the ground.  Screw hinge plates to the underside of the strip and the bottom of the trellis. Attach another wooden strip to the wall at the level of the trellis’s top crossbar.  Screw metal eyes into the strip’s ends and metal hooks into the ends of the crosspiece so the trellis can be unhooked and pulled away.

It’s a fairly simple garden project to do and can be comleted in just an afternoon!

 

Cause She’s A BRICKHOUSE!

Move the Bricks — Forever Change your Garden Space

Every single brick in the above DC garden I designed and installed was recycled from a previous garden space.  No bricks were purchased to create this eye-catching and sophistacted garden  that has become tranquil escape for the homeowners.    

Using recycled materials in your hardscape featrures is a great “green” step to take when installing brick and stone designs.  We use  recycled materials when the chance to do so is available,  and the possibilities are endless; recycled concrete for paving systems,  glass in stepping stones,  recycled bricks, and crushed stone and granite to be used in  patio surfaces.        

An added bonus?  You save money.  When I incorporate  larger pieces of old concrete or bricks into a  design,  the purchase and delivery of new materials is eliminated.  Also eliminated?  The material removal and disposal costs.  We challenge you to put your creative caps on and think about what you can recycle in your garden space — the sky’s the limit, and the results can be life changing.  

Don’t Cry For Me Weeping Redbud

The Weeping Redbud

The Weeping Redbud is a gorgeous and fascinating tree — it’s a favorite.  They are hardy in zones 5-8 and actually require a little cold weather to encourage budding. They can handle partial shade but prefer sun — and be sure to plant the tree in well drained soil.  A Weeping Redbud tree does not grow very well in hot temperatures – if possible, plant it under the shade of other trees and use organic fertilizer for the best results.

A small tree, it produces beautiful magenta-pink flowers in spring that will make any passerby stop and take a closer look as the trunk will twist and weep into an umbrella shape that will be different on each tree, no two are the same! Weeping Redbud does not like to be transplanted and they thrive with sun. Give yourself the gift of a Weping Redbud, you’ll thank yourself for many years to come.

Gardenwise on Lovely Lavender

Caring for Lavender

Avoid the urge to cut back your lavender  plants this  winter in spite of their visual decline with the cold — wait for new growth to emerge in Spring before trimming and tidying up your lavender.   It does not react well to hard pruning and may even rot if given a thick layer of organic mulch in winter.  So be patient through this season, and the payoff will be beautiful and healthy Spring lavender! 

GardenWise on Recycling Bricks in Green Garden Designs

Beautiful Green Hardscape Designs    

Using recycled materials in your hardscape featrures is a great “green” step to take when installing any stone or brick  design.  We use  recycled materials when the chance to do so is available,  and the possibilities are endless — recycled concrete for paving systems,  glass in stepping stones, recycled bricks, and crushed stone and granite to be used in  patio surfaces.  Each brick used in this  Washington, DC  garden we designed and installed (above left,) was recycled from a previous hardscape feature.       

An added bonus?  You save money! When I incorporate  larger pieces of old concrete or bricks into a  design,  the purchase and delivery of new materials is eliminated.  Also eliminated?  The material removal and disposal costs.   It’s yet another way to take a Green Living step that also helps your budget. 

GardenWise Fall Tips in AARP The Magazine

 

 

GardenWise’s J. Mark White is in very good company in the September issue of AARP The Magazine ( “the world’s largest-circulation magazine, with more than 47 million readers”) as writer Cathie Gandel shares Fall 2010 gardening tips from landscape experts and garden writers.  Mark shares an easy to follow tip on reducing a lawn area by half and replacing it with groundcovers and perennial grasses.  Come spring, you’ll have a more productive space, and here’s another “green” idea: take it a step further next year and reduce your already reduced lawn areas AGAIN by adding an area for vegetables.  Talk about making your garden more productive  and “green! ”  

Be sure to check  it out at AARP online.