American Beauties: Bring Life to Your Garden

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Native Plants

* Are naturally adapted to our area
* Provide food and shelter in your landscape
* Attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators
* Are low maintenance with few disease problems
* Are environmentally friendly
* Solve your landscape problems successfully
americanbeautiesUse native plants in rain and shade gardens, and to attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. American Beauties Native Plants are drought tolerant once they get established! Be sure to water them deeply and regularly their first season. Consult with an expert in our store if you have any concerns about watering as local conditions vary.
Birds love nesting in gardens that have plants with seeds and berries.
DSC_0581Shade gardens provide great cover for happy garden critters, and the easy to grow plants have great color and texture.
Rain gardens contain easy to grow plants with lots of summer color, plenty of food for animals, and hang tough in the hot sun.
Native plants are a great nectar source for butterflies. Easy to grow, low-maintenance plants can provide color throughout the spring and summer.
Visit the American Beauties website for more information, planting tips, and landscape plans.

Jamie Langlie’s Garden

Photos by Laura

American Beauties: Bring Life to Your Garden

Recipe – Tulip Ice Cream Bowls

TulipIceCreamBowl

There are plenty of edible ice cream containers out there, but none so fetching as a tulip. A lovely tulip brimming with creamy ice cream is a sight to behold. I like to add a couple of fresh berries and a splash of tulip syrup. Serves 4.

4 tulip blossoms, stamens and pistils removed

4 large or 12 small scoops of ice cream

1 pint fresh berries

Several tablespoons tulip syrup (see below)

Prop each tulip in a container that will help it stand upright, such as an eggcup or a champagne flute. Place 1 large scoop (or 3 small scoops) ice cream in each tulip. Drizzle a little tulip syrup over each and place a few fresh berries on the top. Serve immediately!

Tulip Syrup

Colorful flower-infused simple syrups have oh so many hues. Strong and sweet, they are best used as bases in other recipes, such as sorbets or drink mixes.

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

The petals of 2 tulips (about 2 cups)

Dissolved sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Place flowers in a nonreactive bowl (by that I mean glass, enamel, or stainless steel). Pour hot syrup over top and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the flowers. (I know it is a shame to discard the flowers, but you must unless you are using the syrup right away). Floral simple syrup ca be stored in the fridge for 1 or 2 months. If it begins to crystallize, simply heat it again until smooth. Makes 2 cups (1 pint).

This recipe makes a vicious simple syrup. For a thinner version, use 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Either type will work well in recipes that call for simple syrup.

Tulips make pretty edible bowls for ice creams, sorbets, and salads.


Find the book at Johnson’s for more recipes

Bacher, Miche.(2013). Cooking with Flowers. Philadelpha, PA: Quirk Books.

Photo: halfbakedharvest.com

Recipe – Tulip Ice Cream Bowls

Recipe – Hibiscus Popsicles

hibiscuspops

My friend Joe introduced me to the simple delight that is hibiscus in champagne. He dropped a candied hibiscus into the bottom of my glass, and I was head over heels. You’ve got to try Joe’s drink in pop form – it’s the best of both worlds. Makes 10-12 popsicles, depending on mold size.

2 cups hibiscus simple syrup (see below)

2 cups champagne

Stir together simple syrup and champagne. Let stand until mixture stops fizzing. Pour into pop molds and freeze.

Hibiscus Champagne

Store-bought candied hibiscus are destined for bubbly. Drop them into glasses of cool champagne and drink up!

Hibiscus Simple Syrup

Colorful flower-infused simple syrups have oh so many hues. Strong and sweet, they are best used as bases in other recipes, such as sorbets or drink mixes.

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 tbsp to 1 cup fresh or dried flowers

Dissolved sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Place flowers in a nonreactive bowl (by that I mean glass, enamel, or stainless steel). Pour hot syrup over top and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the flowers. (I know it is a shame to discard the flowers, but you must unless you are using the syrup right away). Floral simple syrup ca be stored in the fridge for 1 or 2 months. If it begins to crystallize, simply heat it again until smooth. Makes 2 cups (1 pint).

This recipe makes a vicious simple syrup. For a thinner version, use 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Either type will work well in recipes that call for simple syrup.


Find the book at Johnson’s for more recipes

Bacher, Miche.(2013). Cooking with Flowers. Philadelpha, PA: Quirk Books.

Photo: halfbakedharvest.com

Recipe – Hibiscus Popsicles

Recipe – Lavender Lemonade

lavenderlemonade

Delightfully refreshing, lavender lemonade is a great way to showcase your skill at making flower simple syrups. Makes 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts).

1 cup lavender simple syrup (see below)

1 cup lemon juice

4 cups water

Mix ingredients directly in the pitcher – don’t bother dirtying up one more thing. Adjust the flavors according to your own taste preferences.

Lavender Simple Syrup

Colorful flower-infused simple syrups have oh so many hues. Strong and sweet, they are best used as bases in other recipes, such as sorbets or drink mixes.

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 tbsp lavender buds

* Lavender is a potent herb, and this syrup will get stronger the longer you let it infuse, so be careful to taste for your own preferences.

Dissolved sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Place flowers in a nonreactive bowl (by that I mean glass, enamel, or stainless steel). Pour hot syrup over top and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the flowers. (I know it is a shame to discard the flowers, but you must unless you are using the syrup right away). Floral simple syrup ca be stored in the fridge for 1 or 2 months. If it begins to crystallize, simply heat it again until smooth. Makes 2 cups (1 pint).

This recipe makes a vicious simple syrup. For a thinner version, use 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Either type will work well in recipes that call for simple syrup.


Find the book at Johnson’s for more recipes

Bacher, Miche.(2013). Cooking with Flowers. Philadelpha, PA: Quirk Books.

Photo: thesharedsip.com

Recipe – Lavender Lemonade

Recipe – Dandelion Wine

dandelionwine

Dandelions are the bane of many a homeowner’s existence, but they can be transformed into the most delicious sunshine-filled liqueur (colloquially called wine) by making a dandelion tea (non-alcoholic) and then letting it ferment with sugar and citrus. You will find yourself creeping into neighbors’ yards to pick more blossoms, it’s just that good. Makes about 1 gallon.

4 cups dandelion flowers

6 cups boiling water

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced

1 orange, thinly sliced

1. Place dandelion flowers in a large heatproof container. Pour boiling water over top. Cover and let steep for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

When making dandelion wine, cleanliness is key. Make sure your kitchen counters, hands, and all utensils are sterile.

2. Pour the resulting tea through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot or saucepan, pressing the petals to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the blossoms and bring tea to a boil.

3. Place sugar in a heatproof 1-gallon jar. Pour boiling dandelion tea into jar and stir to dissolve. Add lemon and orange slices. Cover jar and let liquid stand for 2 weeks at room temperature, shaking every couple days.

4. Pour dandelion wine through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter into a clean container. Serve or cover and store refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Fermenting Flower Wines

Some of the flowers that make lovely flower wines include pink (dianthus), lilac, lavender, daylily, elderflower, violet, tulip, herb flowers, roses, and pansies. Swap in equal amounts of whatever flowers you like, except for lavender; because it has a particularly strong flavor, lavender should always be used in slightly smaller amounts.


Find the book at Johnson’s for more recipes

Bacher, Miche.(2013). Cooking with Flowers. Philadelpha, PA: Quirk Books.

Photo by Miana Jun

Recipe – Dandelion Wine

Recipe – Chocolate-Dipped Orange Geranium Cookies

These subtle but satisfying cookies are inspired by my in-laws: Jason loves orange and chocolate, and my dear mother-in-law, Iris, loves nothing more than a good cookie. She regularly stops by the kitchen in hopes that we have deemed a cookie just a little too brown to go out, since that is her favorite. Makes 36 cookies.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons orange-scented geranium petals*

4 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

* Feel free to use another flavor of scented geranium or, better yet, bake a range of different flowers in different shapes. Form dough into two flat rounds, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes, and roll it to 1.4 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Cut it into shapes with cookie cutters.

1. Have a large sheet of parchment paper ready on your work surface.

2. With a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar for 3 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Add egg and beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla.

3. Sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar into a medium bowl. stir in geranium petals. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Turn dough onto parchment paper. Roll it into a 2 inch round log, wrap in the parchment, and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap dough and cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cookies cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. In a double boiler set above barely simmering water, stir chocolate until it is almost completely melted. Remove it from heat and stir until it is completely melted. Add oil and stir until chocolate is smooth and glossy.

6. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate and shake off excess. Lay chocolate-dipped cookies on prepared baking sheets to dry completely. Store between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe – Chocolate-Dipped Orange Geranium Cookies

Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are another great way to increase the beauty and productivity of the planting beds throughout your backyard. A number of plants are grown for their edible flowers, such as nasturtium, violas, and calendula, but did you know that many vegetable and herb flowers are also good to eat? Summer squash blossoms are, of course, the most well known, but here are a few more ideas for how to eat the flowers growing in your garden.

Agastache, violas, scented geranium, nasturtium, calendula, lavender, borage, and rose: Use the petals of these edible flowers as cake decoration, ravioli fillings, or sprinkled over salads.

Kale, mustard, and collard greens: Add the flower buds to stir-fries or braised greens, or cook by themselves with some olive oil and garlic.

Arugula: Arugula flowers have a sweet flavor tinged with the pepper quality of the arugula leaves and make a delicious salad ingredient.

Winter squash: The flowers can be used just like summer squash blossoms. More delicate and often not available at grocery stores, winter squash flowers are equally delicious.

Herbs such as chive, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, savory, and so many more: They all have beautiful and tasty flowers that can be used in the kitchen. Bright blue rosemary blooms add a fun , spicy kick to winter salads.


Find the book at Johnson’s for more information

Bennett, Leslie and Stefani Bittner. (2013). The Beautiful Edible Garden. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Edible Flowers