Monthly Archives: May 2010

Chive Flower Salad

Chives have a special place in the garden – and that would be right up there with weeds.  Much like mint, they’re invasive, spreading and stretching, popping up feet after feet away from their original planting site. Pesky plants.  After I dug up some clumps last spring, they’ve sprouted near my roses bushes, nudged next to the lilies, and tangled themselves up with the thyme. 

This annoyance is really all my fault.  Before laying out a formal herb bed, I moved my chives three times.  The worst was crowding them into the perennial flower garden (a bad, bad idea which still has me pulling onion-scented sprigs!)  But there was an upside because now I’ve an abundance of chives bursting with spiky purple flowers and those edible petals are every bit as delicious as they are pretty.  Slightly more pungent than the chives’ green stems, they impart equal parts soft crunch and potent oniony flavor to salads and pastas.  Under Jon’s dubious brow – which believe me, was contorted with dreading curiosity – I tossed lemon vinaigrette with greens, walnuts, feta, pepper, and a few choice flowers.  Needless to say he was surprised by the flavor.   This edible is not your typical, bland pansy! 

When you’re prepping, just make sure to wash and dry the flowers carefully, keeping an eye out for any small crawling creatures.  Then discard the hardened flower stems and voila!  



Curious which other flowers are edible?  Edible Flower Chart

Florida, Here I Come!

May has been a rather rotten month blog-wise.  Too much sunny weather and not enough writing.  The garden beckons, the dog begs for a walk, and somewhere in between work and sleep and taking care of my DH, I pencil in some time to write my fiction.

I suffer without my writing.  I won’t say it’s like air or anything cheesy or melodramatic, but I definitely get in a foul mood when the pen fails to meet paper.  I start stalking around the house, glaring at the clock, and in general become that horror you see on late night scare flicks.  Almost that bad, really.

But I am going on vacation now.  My flight leaves in a few hours and I must say it’s a relief that Jon wrested my laptop out of my arms.  What am I left to do now but sip pina coladas and laze about the beach?

I truly don’t know.

Watching “The Pacific” HBO miniseries

PFC Robert Leckie:  “Dear Vera, it seems a lifetime since we met outside Saint Mary’s. This great undertaking for God and country has landed us in a tropical paradise, somewhere in what Jack London refers to as “those terrible Solomons.” It is a garden of Eden. The jungle holds both beauty and terror in its depths, most terrible of which is man. We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself.”

After waiting weeks for the mini-series to pile up on our dvr so we can watch it at our insatiable leisure, my DH, Jon, and I sat down for the first episode, Guadalcanal/Leckie.  One word: powerful.  By the end of the episode some of my heart strings were definately tugged and I couldn’t help but recall the harrowing impressions told by my grandfather and passed down through my mother.  As I never heard my grandfather utter a single word about the war, I know very few concrete details, only this: he was in the Navy and one of the boats he was on sunk.  Between the bombs and the sharks, he was one of the few lucky survivors.  To this day, every year,he still meets up with the last of his battalion. 


He’s the handsome chap fourth from left to right.

  I adore this picture.  It’s the end of the war and you can just feel the exhilaration.  My grandpa’s front and center, just to the right of the broom. 

Butchart Gardens – Victoria B.C.

A Stroll in Spring

Butchart gardens is simply breathtaking.  I find the scope and sheer amount of flower beds mind boggling especially since come late spring, all the tulips and spring flowering plants (with the exception of trees and bushes) are pulled out and replaced with summer flowering varieties.   Yes, I asked!

The sunken garden (last picture) used to be a limestone quarry before Mrs. Butchart saw amazing potential in the big, ugly pit.  What a woman can do when she sets her mind to it!  Now, if only my garden looked so spectacular . . .

Georgian word of the day:  Puce

A popular color in Georgian and Regency times, found in fabric and on home articles.   Not charming to say the least as in French puce literally means “flea.”   Caroline Weber, in Queen of Fashion, recounts an amusing exchange between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI:

“When the Queen asked her husand how he like the confection, which was made from tafetta of an odd pinkish-tan hue, he replied laconically: ‘It is the color of a flea [puce].'”

I can see a husband saying that!

FYI: The color is brownish-purple or pinkish-tan depending on the source.

Baronne D’Oberkirch, also noted in Queen of Fashion, wrote in her Memoires:

“every lady at court wore a puce-colored gown, old puce, young puce, ventre de puce [flea’s belly], dos de puce [flea’s back], etc.  [And] as the new color did not soil easily, and was therefore less expensive than lighter tints, the fashion of puce gowns was adopted by the [Parisian] bourgeoisie.”

Update: See my March 2012 post on ‘Pretties in Pink’ for more on puce.