Archive for April, 2011

Asparagus Info (and Recipe Swap)

The very first spears came up two days ago – and promptly got clonked by last night’s frost – but it won’t be long until we’ve got plenty; there’s a 100 foot row at the back of our truck garden here in the Hudson Valley.

home grown asparagus

When I got out the butter I was thinking "have a measure to show the lengths," but it doesn't hurt to remember you don't HAVE to cook it in olive oil.

It was planted 20 years ago, which means 16 years of bountiful harvests and about 5 years of asparagus posts, most recently Tips for Choosing, Storing, Preparing and Growing. Want recipes? I seem to have called it a day at Cream of Asparagus Soup (made from the otherwise discarded tough ends) and Spring On Toast, with asparagus, morels and eggs. So I was feeling faintly remiss when

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Eric’s Pet Plant: Black Pussywillow (Salix gracilistylus ‘Melanostachys’)

As you may be noticing long about now, we are surrounded by spring flowers, their heart-lifting color everywhere – in the landscape, on garden blogs, at nurseries, in omigodheretheycome fall bulb catalogs.

But there’s one branch of the spring flower shower that doesn’t get as much notice as it deserves, the one that doesn’t have any petals (At least not petals the way forsythia has petals, and certainly not the way daffodils have petals).

So right here I want to put in a good word for catkins, the fuzzy flowering parts of birches, beeches, mulberries, hazels and of course pussy willows.

In a moment, our friend Eric will be extolling the Black Pussy Willows he grows over at Yale, but first a glimpse of our own backyard thrill, the contorted hazel, in full chandelier mode:

 Corylus avellana 'Contorta', in spring flower

Corylus avellana 'Contorta' in flower

The stems look a lot like the curly branches offered at some high end florists, but those are usually the faster growing curly willow, which brings us back to Eric and his fashionably

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