Pan Fried Garlic Scapes with Fava Beans

Quick Cook: Pan Fried Garlic Scapes with Fava Beans

Garlic scapes are the immature, unopened flowers that form at the top of the plant’s leafy stalk in early summer. They have a delicate, garlic flavour and are much less potent than the bulb. In fact, I can’t eat much garlic raw or cooked, but I can devour garlic scapes aplenty with no stomach upset.

Opuntia polyacantha

In Bloom: Plains Pricklypear

This Plains Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) was a new addition to the garden, planted just this spring so I was surprised when a flower appeared. All of my other opuntias took at least one full season to put out flowers. And what a stunning dusty peachy-pink colour it is! One of the small consequences of “going

Alembic Copper Still for making Plant Hydrosols

Let’s Make Plant Hydrosols: An Alembic Copper Still for My 40th

I got a handmade wooden pinhole camera for my 30th and now, with a month left before I turn 40, I have gifted myself this beautiful handmade alembic copper still from Portugal. I’ve been doing a lot of wildcrafting this season and have been experimenting with D.I.Y methods for making plant hydrosols aka floral waters

Joshua Tree

Yucca Valley Yard Sale

Day three of our desert road trip, we decided to “take it easy” with a short jaunt to the Yucca Valley and up hill to Pioneertown, which is at a higher elevation and promised to deliver slightly cooler temperatures. I did not like the drive up into the mountains and so it was difficult at

Grow Write Guild: Creative writing prompts for gardeners

Grow Write Guild #8: The Essence of Summer

The summer solstice (June 21) has just passed and I thought it fitting to mark the turning of the seasons. Summer is my favourite season of the year, a joyful time of long days spent outdoors soaking up vitamin D and enjoying the bounty of crops as they come into fruition. However, having just visited

Apricot Mallow

Apricot Mallow: Tiny and Tough as Nails

I saw a lot of amazing plants on the desert trip, some with fascinating stories and critical ethnobotanic ties to the region. Yet, with so many to choose from and so many photographs far better than these, even I find it a little bit odd that I chose to begin with one so tiny and

dehydrated rose petals

How to Harvest, Dry, and Use Rose Petals

I’m not sure when I made the transition from rose-hater to rose-eater. These days I have several roses planted in my garden, most of which have been chosen specifically for their eat- and use-ability. All roses are edible, but only those that smell fragrant taste good. Scentless roses are flavourless. I recently returned from a

multiplier onion tohono oodham iitoi

Sonoran Desert Multiplier Onion: Tohono O’odham I’Itoi

I have long sung the praises of the perpetual aka perennial onion. Allow a few to multiply each year and you will have them forever. I started growing one such type, ‘Egyptian Walking’ onion (Allium proliferum) aka tree onion in my community garden plot well over a decade ago. The exact date is a lost

Desert Road Trip Map

Ten Days in the Desert

We arrived home last night from what I can only describe as an epic desert road trip. I had planned to start doing posts on specific places and plants today, but decided that one more overall post is in order. I saw, learned, and experienced so much in those ten days… my head is absolutely

cholla garden Joshua Tree National Park

Teddy Bear Cholla in Joshua Tree Park

We are still on our desert road trip. Yesterday we drove through Joshua Tree National Park, down a road that took us through a box canyon with some crazy terrain, and then down along the east coast of the Salton Sea. I was surprised to see a lot of agriculture out there in the middle

Grow Write Guild: Creative writing prompts for gardeners

Grow Write Guild #7: In Bloom

Grow Write Guild Prompt #7: Write about one plant that is currently in bloom. Use the following questions and strategies to help spark different approaches to this prompt. Feel free to ignore this if you don’t need it. Further Notes & Questions: Go outside and look at your garden right now. What is in bloom?

agave queen victoria

Dispatches from Two Deserts

We arrived in Phoenix, Arizona on the hottest day of the year. We got a car at the airport and hightailed it to the Desert Botanical Garden where a day that started out unbearably hot got worse. And worse. Few people were in the garden that day, except us, the crazy Canadians.

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