Monthly Archives: June 2018

Summery Fare For Sunny Days

Savory Fruit Soups I recently attended a lovely lunch party for a dear friend who, at nearly 88, has decided to emigrate to Panama. Carol is one of my life heroes, a wise, kind, thoughtful, smart, engaged, active woman with … Continue reading

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Gorgeous Garlic Scapes

A surprising number of gardeners toss the trimmed off garlic scapes on the compost heap, but these days, many people are catching on to what European cooks have known for centuries. The curly scapes can be treated much like asparagus; steamed, roasted, pickled, stir fried, added to soups or minced into salads and wraps. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in a fresh tasting raw salad. For the best texture, slice scapes thinly on the diagonal so there’s plenty of surface area to take up the dressing. Almost any kind of dressing will be delicious, from spicy Asian peanut to a perky citrus vinaigrette. This salad combines garlic scapes with creamy goat cheese, crunchy pumpkin seeds, velvety marinated mushrooms and a lively lime vinaigrette. Continue reading

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When Bees Ignore Blossoms

As a rule, bees will snub flowers that are low in nectar and pollen. Even favored blossoms like cherries can be lacking and the bees are evidently able to detect (nobody quite knows how) blossoms with low levels of these important substances. Sometimes this is because other bees have already been there and done that. There is some evidence that foraging bees leave behind a scent marker that other bees can sense. A study done at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California found that when bees approached flowers, then flew away without foraging, the rejected blossoms had about half the nectar of an average bloom.

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Foxglove Magic

Developing a (more or less) stable seed line can be a pleasing project for the home gardener, though the selection process can take years. I treasure a lovely strain of California poppy developed by the late Connie Caunt in her tiny garden in Victoria, B.C. The strain includes many shades of cream, pink and lavender, from palest baby ribbon pastels to vivid rose and near purple. However, even after many years of Connie’s patient work and my continuing efforts, genetically dominant orange poppies recur every season and must be removed lest they overtake the rosy ones. Similarly, creating a reliably peloric seed strain is probably not the work of a few seasons, thanks to that tendency to revert to the norm. Continue reading

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