Beets, Bears, Battlestar Gallactica

May 23rd, 2012

May is a month of insanity. Between graduations, gardening, Mother’s day, end of the school year band concerts, plays, ceremonies, and in our house we have kids in soccer, baseball and track and a few of them are in all of these sports AT THE SAME TIME! Fortunately, the month of May is about over and it looks like we are going to survive it. In addition to all the other goings on around here, I decided to fix up an area of foundation plantings in front of the house. I was never satisfied with what used to be in this spot and have long wanted to tear everything out and start over. This Spring, I finally tackled this project. I built a stone pathway to the hose, tore out some old shrubs that looked terrible, planted a few new ones, added three Hostas as “filler” and jabbed some flowering Vinca in the remaining bare spots. Check out the photo!

I know!
It’s not much to look at when you consider all the work involved, but I think by the end of the summer it will start to fill in a bit and look pretty good and then in a few years… well you just wait. I think it is going to look great and certainly better than what was here.

The shrubs I planted around the stone walk are two oak leaf hydrangeas, one pink diamond hydrangea, and a red wing viburnum.

Ridiculously excited about the Red Wing Viburnum.  It’s got all sorts of bells and whistles.  Spring flowers, red tipped leaves and in the fall a nice bright red color.  How can one possibly ask a shrub to do more?  Oh!  How about flower all season in large conical blooms that slowly urn from creamy white to pink to red?  Why that would be your Oak Leaf Hydrangea!  A shrub that I may or may not have had a hot steamy affair with during my first season as a Garden Center employee.  Trust me, you don’t want to know.  But what about a massive shrub that will form an excellent backdrop to all the other plants in this area, cover the two unattractive gaping holes underneath the porch and be covered in blooms all summer long?  Oh!  Why that would be the Pink Diamond Hydrangea!  So yes!  I am kind of a genius when it comes to choosing a shrubbery!  This can’t possibly be bragging when it is simply the truth!

In other news…

I picked my first batch of beets today.

Just call me Dwight Schrute!

Beets are very pretty plants, but I am struggling with finding a way to prepare them that doesn’t involve sugar and vinegar.  Not really interested in borscht either.  I don’t mind a few cold beets in a salad, and I can eat a few roasted beets, but surely there are other interesting ways to prepare this veggie.  If anyone has any recipes, please help!  I’ve got tons of these things in my garden!

Lastly…

I went antiquing with my mom this past winter and purchased the above flower vase.

I have been very excited to put this vase to use and today was the day!

I tramped around the yard cutting cone flowers, Victoria blue salvia, Helenium, Russian sage, and yarrow.

And here’s the first bouquet of the year!

Isn’t that vase great!

I am so glad I bought it.

I’ve said this many times before, but I really do love growing flowers so much more than veggies.

Sometimes I think about chucking over the vegetable garden and just going all flowers all the time.

Because this whole beet thing…

It’s just not turning my crank.

Comments

  • Beets do not turn my crank either! But, my husband loves a salad w/beets & goat cheese in it. Did you say, “graduations??” As in, one of your boys graduating? From highschool? Say it ain’t so!

    Love the vase too, btw. It looks like something I’d see @ Anthropologie & decide I need, until I looked over to see the price tag was $199. Bet you got a better deal!

    • Rechelle:

      I don’t remember what I paid for it, but I am certain it wasn’t more than thirty bucks and I hesitated over that. But I have walked away one too many times from an interesting antique and this time I decided to just buy the dang thing! So glad I did. My eldest will graduate next year. Getting ready for the hyper spasms of his senior year.

  • Susan Sawatzky:

    how about dried beet chips? never done them but have eaten and they are pretty good.

  • susan:

    But Rechelle…………………which bear is best? Black or brown? Per quirky Dwight………..just sayin.

    gag to beets. I only love them pickled so no ideas.

    I guess Kansas is too dry for Plumbago? It does great here in Houston with all our horrible humidity. Just love the pretty green leaves, lunscious blue flowers and how you can forget about it.

    • Rechelle:

      We have plumbago. We sell it as a ground cover at the store. As to which bear is best hmmmm. I wonder which one Dwight chose. He is obviously the expert. May have to google it.

  • Grandma Rita:

    Wish I had some of yoour beets. I love them just cooked, i thinkk their fresh garden flavor is all you need. Guess I’m just a counry girl. Papa Joe used to raise them just for me. He only liked them if they were all pickled , Sometimes i did make him some pickles after i got my fill of them.

    • Catherine:

      I agree with Grandma Rita. I love their earthy taste. They don’t need vinegar. Put them in a cheese sandwich with scallions. Or make borscht soup with them. There is another type of borscht soup that I have had in Polish restaurants which is clear and very delicious.

  • Your beets are gorgeous Rechelle. Guess I need to expand my beet repertoire because IMO there’s nothing better than those roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. * smacking lips *

  • poppy:

    I’ve never tried, but there are a lot of recipes for chocolate beet cake out there. Joy the Baker’s (http://joythebaker.com/2012/01/chocolate-beet-cake-with-beet-cream-cheese-frosting/) is very pretty. If it tastes good, you could probably roast and grate all of the beets to store in the freezer for this application (and for scattering over salads?). That should get them out of the way!

  • Anoria:

    Have you tried skordalia sauce? They serve (presumably boiled) beet slices with it in Greektown in Detroit, and it’s delicious. Pretty much roasted garlic cut with mashed potato, as far as I remember.
    I’m one of those people who eats beets plain, though, so your experience may vary.

    Regarding poppy’s comment above, I think one of my friends made chocolate beet cake when she was looking for a red velvet recipe that didn’t use food coloring, and it turned out fine. Definitely worth a try if you’ve got extras.

  • Grace:

    Roasted Beets With Basil Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
    Ingredients:
    Enough beets roasted, peeled and sliced as instructed above to make 2 cups sliced beets
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
    1 1/2 tablespoons wildflower honey (or to taste, depending on the acidity of your lemon juice)
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3/4 cup Meyer lemon or plain extra virgin olive oil
    pinch of salt and Aleppo (or black) pepper, or to taste
    Method:
    Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, or be lazy like me and put them all into a jar and shake vigorously, until the dressing emulsifies into a thin yellow liquid. Taste for seasoning and flavor balance and adjust as needed.
    Pour over the beets and toss well. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. Serve over a salad or as is–but do serve it, as it is wonderful.
    Posted by Barbara on May 13, 2011 in Recipes: Almost Vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan, Recipes: Fruits and Vegetables, Recipes: Original | 1 Comment

  • Beekay:

    Roast the beets, serve with some goat cheese and walnuts on arugula or without….yum

  • Jae:

    I love the little beets! I love them in a salad after steaming or boiling with goat cheese, fresh mint, and a maple/black pepper vinigarette.