Friday, May 30, 2008

Bronze Fennel

This is a fairly easy plant to grow although our first year was a complete disaster due to our lack of watering when the plants were seedlings. However, once established they quickly became a prominent addition to the garden often turning the heads of all who entered. The plants are gorgeous, bronzy-brownish-burgundy with an intense fennel fragrance. We used it primarily as an ornamental filler for flower arrangements. The plants bulbous portion didn’t seem to grow nearly as fast as typical fennel, which was great for us, and maintained itself rather neatly in one area. It was extremely drought tolerant and not demanding of space. Plants lasted for a couple of years, with frequent cuttings, without any signs of going to seed. The leaves are lovely, feathery and light and are supported by strong bronze stems. We have found it to be a prolific re-seeder in our tropical environment. The plant is edible. Note, in 2008, we’ve ended up with Bronze Fennel throughout our entire yard. Taking nothing away from its intense beauty…it can be a bit of a nuisance because it’s so incredibly prolific. Since we only use it for salads, we are unable to eat it as quickly as it reproduces. Luckily, I’ve enlisted another neighbor to assist us since fennel is one of her favorites.

If you'd like to grow some in your garden, you're welcome to try it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mrs. Burns' Lemon Basil

I grew this plant several years ago as a trial and was simply stunned by the incredible taste of lemon. The leaves are small and more pointy than the lettuce-type varieties like Genovese and Ruffles but are extremely flavorful and highly fragrant. Slightly brush against the plant and you’re struck by the strong lemon aroma with an after effect of basil. And, it’s delicious! Pesto made from Mrs. Burn’s Lemon is great on pizza. This has a very distinctive lemony taste and fragrance. Frequently harvest the leaves. Plant will become woody if not cut on a regular basis. Plants only grew a few inches tall. Generally, we just grow one to two plants in the garden but this time we're going to make a border of at least eight plants and plant Envy zinnia in the center.

We have seed available for home gardeners who would like to try it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Red Amaranth

Have you grown this variety of amaranth? It has gorgeous burgundy leaves make an excellent salad addition. Commonly used in Asian cuisine. Very ornamental, beautiful plant. Our plants readily self-seed. We have seed available for home gardeners wishing to try it. It would be great to get an opinion for someone living in a different climatic zone.