Jun 132012
 
Edible Flowers

Early summer the flowers of the pineapple guava are beautiful and edible

by Avis Licht – Edible flowers aren’t the usual fare for most people. But I have some favorites that even the most dubious of  eaters would enjoy. The pineapple guava, Feijoa sellowiana, has beautiful as well as delicious flowers. You eat the succulent petals that are almost sweet. Not the red stamens.

I’ve written about Feijoa in another post, talking about the tart and tasty fruit, but now is the time it is flowering in the northern hemisphere, so we’re talking about edible flowers.

How to use Feijoas. The sweet, fleshy white and purplish flower petals can be added to salads. Pluck them carefully and the fruits will still develop. The fruits have a delicious minty-pineapple flavor. Cut them in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon.

The fruit ripens towards winter and the best fruit drops to the ground when ripe.  If you pick it off the bush it’s likely not to be quite ripe.

Those of you with this shrub in the yard, check out the tasty petals and put them in a salad. The rest of you – go run to the nursery and get one of these amazing plants. I know you won’t regret it.

Get all the information in this post on how to grow the Feijoa.

 

Pineapple guava flower

Carefully pluck the petals and leave the rest of the flower to make sure you get fruit.

Just to remind you, the Pineapple Guava is an evergreen shrub, that grows to 15 feet if left unpruned.  But you can prune it any way you like. It is easy to care for, doesn’t need much water and best of all around my neighborhood – THE DEER DON’T EAT IT!.  Don’t ask me why, but it’s true.

 

 

Sep 212011
 
Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn" (click to enlarge)

California Manzanita shrub (click to enlarge)

In California we have many wonderful native plants that can be used in the garden. In the Edible Landscape, not all plants have to be edible for humans.  But they should be appropriate to the site, soil, moisture conditions and your aesthetic considerations.

The plant in the photo above, is the California Manzanita, Arctostaphylos densiflora. It grows on the dry hillsides of the western states. They range in size from creepers to full size shrubs to small trees. They like well drained soil, and very little water.

The bark is a dark smooth red to purple and

Close up of the bark of the Manzanita

Close up of the bark of the Manzanita

over time looks more beautiful. You can’t say that about too many plants (or humans). The only care I give it, is to prune the dead branches out of the center to expose the bark on the trunk.  This is also a deer resistant plant.

On a steep slope, Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet” makes a great ground cover , and is evergreen, needing very little water or care.

Here’s what those darn deer look like right behind my house.

The deer that love to eat our food

The deer that love to eat our food roaming behind my house

 

Even in the wild, Manzanita stays looking very good, without care or water.  Look at the photo below.  This plant grows on a dry, sunny hill behind my house in Northern California. We get no summer rains.

You will want to check your local weather zone to see if these plants might work for you. Go to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Remember, not all your plants need to produce food for humans in your Edible Landscape.  Plant diversity keeps your garden healthy.

Manzanita in the wild

Manzanita in the wild

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