Monday, September 5, 2011

Bridal Bouquets and Peonies

Bridal Bouquet early June
If you want lovely luxurious peonies for your bridal bouquet plan a June wedding in the High Country. While we do offer peonies in July you cost will almost double to cover care, storage and losses. Peak season for Peonies here are the first 2 weeks in June. Please note- this is weeks later than the Piedmont.

Peonies were originally sought-after for their medicinal value. The roots, seed, and flowers were believed to have healing properties, and were used extensively throughout the Far East and Europe.

These showy flowers originate Siberia and Mongolia. The large, striking blooms and exquisite sweet scent make them the perfect choice for weddings.

To me, peonies symbolize abundance, there is no need to mix them with more than a few carefully chosen sprigs of green. But an individual bloom floating in a bowl by itself is a bit skimpy for your wedding reception. Multiple vases or peonies are the way to go. Five full blooms are just about perfect for most round tables. Add the personal touch of collected glassware and you are set.

Peony Hybrid late May
The soft ice cream colors of most peonies make any venue feminine and inviting. Peonies work massed in statement pieces as well as for pomanders and girlie corsages.

Peonies photograph well.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Garlic Chives

A simple and easy addition to your herb garden.


Current Facts
Garlic chives are also known as Chinese chives, which is their more recognizable name. They are grown for culinary and ornamental purposes. Both leaves and the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to standard chives.

Garlic chives may be of the same vernacular as common chives, but appearance and flavor-wise they impose different values and characteristics. Garlic chives have flat strap-like stems versus hallow thin spherical stems and their flavor is richer and more intense, much like their aroma.

Nutritional Value
Garlic chives are rich in vitamin C, contain carotene, vitamin B1 and B2, calcium and iron.

Garlic chives are most often used in Asian cuisine. Traditionally they are a classic element of pad Thai but they may also be used as a substitute for standard chives. Use minced garlic chives to finish meat, poultry or seafood dishes. Pair with other fresh herbs, cheeses, mushrooms, noodles and chiles. The color and slight onion flavor or chives may be used to lighten as well as enhance the flavors in a dish. Refrigerate to store, making sure chives are kept dry until ready to use.

Ethnic/Cultural Info
Garlic chives have been used as culinary herbs for thousands of years and were probably used first by the Chinese and ancient Greeks.

Garlic chives are native to Asia and Central and Northern Europe. They do not have incredible commercial economic value and are most often found in Asian markets, home gardens and small organic farms where crop rotation and natural pest repellants are prevalent.


Spaghetti with Sweet 100 Tomatoes, Garlic Chives, and Lemon Basil

Epicurious  | April 2002
by Mario Batali

Read More
yield: Makes 4 servings
This pasta celebrates the month of September, when tomatoes are truly in full season and just exploding. It's our favorite take on pasta al pomodoro.
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint Sweet 100 tomatoes or other tiny tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of garlic chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 12 fresh lemon basil leaves, finely shredded
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
print a shopping list for this recipe


1 Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
2 In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the garlic cloves. Cook for 2 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned. Add the tomatoes, chives, and basil and cook over high heat until the tomatoes are just beginning to burst. Season with salt and pepper.
3 Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water according to package directions until it is tender yet al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the tomatoes. Toss over high heat for 1 minute, then divide evenly among four warmed pasta bowls and serve immediately.

About Garlic Chives

Garlic chives growingGarlic chive is not a cultivar of ordinary chives but a distinct species of plant. It is commonly regarded as a major kitchen herb, tasting--as its name suggests--like chives with a mild addition of garlic flavor. It looks like and is grown very much like ordinary chives.
One source says that "garlic chives tends to go dormant during the winter, [so] potting for indoor use is not recommended." Fortunately, no one told our garlic chives about that, and they go merrily along through winter growing abundantly. (We think they don't go dormant unless the ambient temperature falls below about 40° F.)
Note that in Chinese cuisine, the flowerheads of garlic chives are considered a delicacy.


There are at least some recognized cultivars, though few or none are identified as such in seedsmen's catalogues (one is a variant with pink, instead of white, flowers). You pretty much get "garlic chives" and that's all she wrote.


Garlic chives sprout easily from seed, after which they can easily be propagated vegetatively by clump division--or you can cut the cackle and just buy a plant (theyare Perennials). They are said to prefer a sunny position in a rich, moist, but well-drained soil, but are also said to be quite forgiving of adverse conditions.
If you're considering growing them in-ground, beware: they are invasive, and pulling them can become quite a tedious chore. Indoors in a pot is best.


Garlic chives generally like moist (but not soggy) soil. During their first season, hold down watering to encourage root growth.
Garlic chives tolerate heavy harvesting. You can treat it like ordinary chives, pinching off any flower buds that appear, or you can let it flower in the autumn, as the buds and flowers are every bit as tasty and edible as the leaves. Harvest leaves by cutting some, or even all, being sure though to cut close to the soil level, so the plant "knows" to send up new leaves. If your garlic chives plant seems to be getting woody, prune it all down to about an inch above the soil level.
A little balanced organic fertilizer every season would not go amiss.
It is wise to re-divide one's garlic chives every few years, to maintain plant vigor. Division can be done almost anytime, but is probably best done in spring.