Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow? I took this picture of our front yard in September 2006. I was pleased with how much the trees had grown in the couple of years since we planted them.

I took this picture today when I realized that the honey locust tree is taller than the spruce. The spruce was the first tree we planted and looked quite forlorn all alone. The locust came from the State nursery and was a mere twig in a quart milk carton. You have to buy plants from them in fives: all five lilacs and all five cottonless cottonwood trees survived. Only two of the locusts made it and the other was is just this summer putting up a leader branch. I'm thrilled by my star pupil however. It's going to be a wonderful shade tree.
Last weekend when I was at Amy's, she showed me all her lavender, saying that it's time to harvest. Her lavender heads are full of those fragrant kernals and I decided that mine must be read too. However, this morning when I looked at it, I was stunned to realize that's not a bit of lavender on the plants and none on the ground. Now I know why they were so popular with the tiny gold finches and now I know what they were eating and it wasn't bugs. I had no idea that birds eat lavender.
I'm pleased with my tub of basil though. The volunteer weed at the base is purslane, which according to Michael Pollan, is one of the highest sources of anti-oxidents in leafy greens - even though it is a weed. We've been adding it to our salads and it's actually a tasty addition.
I just made another batch of pesto which I will freeze so it's fresh for each use. Two cubes to a handful of linguine makes a lunch - yum. I got my recipe from the Great Basin CSA Basket website and I like it because it uses so little olive oil.

Great Basin Pesto

1/2 c lightly packed chopped basil leaves
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1 clove minced garlic
3 tbl olive oil

I double the recipe and add 1/2 tsp salt and extra garlic. I didn't want to turn on the oven to toast the pine nuts but found online that I can toast them in the microwave by spreading them flat on a plate and adding a little bit of butter. Nuke them for a minute on high, stir and repeat in one minute increments until they're toasted. It worked perfectly.
Ian is still playing with the sign - "Gateway to the Internet."


Theresa said...

LOL, I'm waiting for that sign to show up on an outhouse somewhere! We have one! Great pictures of the garden and MY has it thrived!!! Beautiful.
Pesto looks good too and so clever to freeze it in small batches. Mary's pretty smart. :-)

Mim said...

The "weed" is an unwanted a corn plant in a rice field. We've always had purslane growing in our garden. Is it native to Nevada? Seems it's always growing where ever we water. So I never thought of it as a weed.
I like the pesto recipe!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I love your yard Sharon, you've just made it a little paradise in the desert :)
The pesto looks scrumptious!

vlb5757 said...

I love this post. I grow lavender out in front of my house. We don't have finches that much here so I get to keep my lavender until I can pick it. Bees are very plentiful around my plants but they don't bother me while I harvest. It's funny that you wrote about Pesto. I went out today and clipped all my basil to within an inch of it's life. It's starting to bolt so I wanted to get it done so I didn't lose my basil. I have it sitting on the counter with my pinenuts. I don't turn my oven on to toast them. I toast them in a non stick skillet for a few minutes while tossing them around a bit. Works great for the hot weather. I freeze my basil in an ice cube tray too. Great post!

bspinner said...

I've never seen a finch at my lavendar but loads of bees. Once my thyme is in bloom it's inundated with flies. I haven't figured that one out yet.

Your trees and yard are sure nice. I've never heard of cottonless cottonwood tree. I'd love to have a cottonwood tree but they don't seem to be very popular in the east coast.

Thanks for the recipe. Looks and sounds great.

Still hope to drop in to take advantage of your free internet service one of these day.

Lee said...


Life Looms Large said...

Those trees are doing great. Do you water them???

I've heard different people talking about wanting to eat purslane, but I didn't realize that book is stirring up interest in it.

Thanks for the tip about toasting pine nuts in the microwave. I love toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, whatever) on salad, and I don't like making extra heat to toast them in the summer. Good to know!

I'm having a bout of lavender insecurity now. I don't do anything to mine - no trimming or anything - and it comes out kind of squiggly - not with all those nice straight stalks. Should I be clipping it back or something in the fall/winter/spring??? Or, maybe my question is, what do you to so your lavender grows like that?


Sharon said...

Oh shoot, I just happened to re-read my post and realized that I included a recipe. I tell everyone that I don't bring home-cooking to potlucks because I *don't* cook - I just played my hand.

Life Looms Large said...

That cracks me up about the recipe/potluck thing!!! Blogs have that tendency to make you want to tell all!! (Or some at least!)

Thanks for following up on my question about irrigation. Your yard looks great!!

I keep meaning to attach email to my blog....but I'm terrible at keeping up on emails, so I don't want to make that worse!


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