I bought this plant Claytonia nevadensis, also known as Sierra Spring Beauty, a few weeks ago on a trip to Lost Horizons, a nursery located in the town of Acton. The plant is endemic to California, growing along rocky streams high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
I bought the plant hoping it is edible like others within the genus (sometimes called Montia). Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about this species available and I haven’t found proof either way. The mystery continues, although I ate a leaf recently so… On the positive side of things, I haven’t come across a poisonous claytonia, so there is still hope. And I am neither sick nor dead. That too.
I do not recommend or condone this method of identification.
Edible or not, buying this plant has opened my eyes to a whole new world of claytonias. I have grown the most common types and have identified them growing wild in parks on trips to California, but I had no idea there were so many different species — some much more beautiful and intriguing than c. perfoliata aka ‘Miner’s Lettuce’.
The education I sometimes glean from the acquisition of a single plant and the new worlds it can open up still surprises me. Worth the insane $9 price tag.
On the flip side of things, I’m a bit concerned about my ability to keep this little gem alive. It grows in very free draining soil or scree, alongside flowing mountain streams. Clearly these are not the conditions at my community garden plot. So for the time being, I’m keeping it in a pot until I can figure something out.
Recently, our meals have been peppered with ingredients gleaned from the gardens; however, today’s lunch is the first that is all garden grown.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Chive Blossoms: A hardy perennial that has been growing for about a decade in a big container on the roof.
- Lemon Balm: Eat the fresh leaves in the spring. This is a hardy perennial that self seeds all over the community garden.
- Parsley: From the roof.
- Pansy petals: Also from the roof.
- Three types of lettuce: All of which self-seeded in various containers on the roof. I didn’t have to do a thing, although I did transplant a few to the community garden plot.
- ‘Egyptian Walking Onion’: Just the greens.
- Borage sprouts: I got this idea from Julianna, who brought a salad to our Saturday afternoon transplant trade/potluck that included borage from her garden. Borage self-seeds like nobody’s business and is coming up like mad right now. why not use the tender, fresh sprouts rather than tossing them in the compost? The first set of true leaves are prickly but the cotyledon leaves are smooth, with a fresh cucumbery taste.
- Baby kale
- Purple Mizuna: More on this soon. This is my new favourite edible!
- Assorted mustard greens
- Violet leaves and flowers: I have a small patch over at the community garden that is going to expand this year once I add the three additional varieties I have acquired this spring. Eat the young, new leaves and the flowers.
- Bloody Dock: If you’d like to know more, I wrote an article on spring greens including bloody dock, for Garden Making magazine.
For identification purposes, here’s what the borage seedlings look like. You can also identify them by their cucumber scent. The seedling in the top left corner is anise-hyssop. You can eat that too.
You want a food post today. I can feel it. I had every intention to post a photo of something edible that I am growing this year but then photos of this creamy, soft daffodil came up, and how much longer can I talk about daffodils when they are so very nearly on the way out?
The daffodils are fleeting. I have found myself jumping between favorites as they have rolled out their blooms. This is the one I currently favor.
I love it here, paired with Artemisia vulgaris ‘Oriental Limelight’.
Well done Mr. Parker. Well done.
Update: You’ll notice that I got the variety wrong. I don’t believe ‘Avalon’ is a miniature, and I didn’t realize these qualified as a miniature. Time passes since a picture is taken and you forget about size unless they’re really tiny like these guys.
Has the spring been moving along too quickly in your area? Around here the warm weather has accelerated everything so that plants have been making their appearance and blooming faster than any year I can recall. The spring ephemerals are the worst of the bunch — they’re up and gone before I’ve barely had a chance to process them.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with the season and have been in a semi-blissed-out state through it all. It just means that everything has been rush, rush, and mania. There is the rush to catch the flowers before they are gone, the rush to take photos, the rush to get the garden prepped, and then planted in due course. Somewhere in there I am supposed to write about it. I can’t keep up! You should see the roof garden right now. It’s a disaster of pots and plants scattered willy-nilly.
All of that to explain why I can no longer recall which variety of crocus this is. I think it might just be more ‘Ruby Giant’ but so much time has passed and so many plants have come and gone since I took this photo.
My brain is simply overloaded. Although in a good way.