Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Amaranth, celosia, and musings about greens

Winter break in the Caribbean last year introduced me to leafy amaranth, a totally delicious cooked green. 

Red amaranth (from Evergreen Seeds)
The woman I bought it from (she had a small garden near our cottage in Dominica) called it spinach, but it's actually Amaranthus viridis, a leafy vegetable that's grown throughout the Caribbean and called callalo. It's a popular Asian vegetable, too.

I posted about it after returning -- it was such a remarkably tasty warm season spinach-like vegetable, I couldn't believe it wasn't more popular here in the Southeastern U.S.  I tried to grow it this summer, but was thwarted by hungry critters, who yummed up the young seedlings. Presumably woodchucks or squirrels.

Celosia argentea
But I was noticing the volunteer plants in the Children's Garden that looked remarkably similar.  They're Celosia, a large-plumed variety that's self-seeded abundantly for the last couple of years.

And sure enough, they're a relative of amaranth (in the same family), and have been used in a similar way in parts of Africa, and elsewhere, too. 

Interesting!  I'll have to harvest some young plants tomorrow for a second trial. 

The older larger leaves that I cooked as a trial for lunch today were good, but it was hard to evaluate their taste, as I'd stir-fried them in sesame oil!  They were quite tender, though, so promising.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Garden views

I'm so fortunate to enjoy wonderful views from both of our gardens.  It's a blessing for now, until we decamp to the mountains in the future.

Coming home to the Piedmont, we've got exuberance, to be sure, but a lovely view, too. 

Here's a view from a couple of years ago -- it's similar now.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bumblebees

Lobelia and pollen-collecting bumblebee
It's so much fun to watch bumblebees (of various sizes) visiting flowers, whether they're collecting nectar or pollen.

Aster and bumblebee
This is the time of year that asters, lobelias, goldenrod, snakeroot, and other fall-flowering species are covered with flower visitors.

They're tremendous fun to watch as they forage.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Morning light

Morning light across the ravine


View through one of the kitchen windows

Fall is around the corner; the light reflects the changes in the sun's angle.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A late-flowering native azalea

I was surprised to see that the Rhododendron prunifolium next to the garage was still in flower a month ago.

Curious, I thought.

And, I was even more surprised to see flowers when we came back "down the hill" a couple of weeks ago, and they're continuing to open.

Rhododendron prunifolium in June
And sure enough, this photo was posted in 2010 in June! Hmm, definitely a difference there. 

It's still covered with flowers today, after a cool, wet summer.
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