Archive for April 12th, 2011

April 12, 2011

Spring containers with culinary appeal

The snow is finally gone, the grass is just beginning to green up, but color is still lacking from our landscape in Minnesota.

All of our front entry spaces would love a little pop of color.  Many people put pots or planters on or near their entry in the summer, but I really enjoy changing them out seasonally.  Believe it or not, it’s not too early to plant some spring flowers.  Although there isn’t a huge selection yet, Pansies, contrary to their name, are cold tolerant and able to handle the last little blasts of cold we might get.   I know, Pansies are nothing out of the ordinary, it seems you either really like them, or really dislike them.  I like them.  They make me smile, partially because they look like little monkey faces and monkeys make me laugh.

Anyway, I’m typically not fond of using just one type of plant in a container so I’m always looking for ways to “jazz up” my containers by adding color, or texture, or something a little fun or out of the ordinary.  If you’re partial to flowers, you can use Pansies, Tulips, Daffodils (whose faces follow the sun which can either be fun or frustrating depending on your personality), moss, ferns (perennial, not indoor varieties) branches such as Pussy Willow, Curly Willow or Birch.  If you can find Ornamental Cabbage or Kale, it always adds nice texture too.  If you’re looking for an alternative, another nice option is to use lettuce. If you plant a variety of them, such as green leaf, red leaf, oak leaf, etc., it can really be quite pretty. Add Pansies to the pot for a cheerful salad on the steps!

IMPORTANT: Pansy flowers are edible and make for great color on salads, but make absolutely sure they have not been treated with herbicides or pesticides before you even consider eating them! The plants most nurseries and big box retailers carry will most likely have been treated.  Make sure to look for “edible pansies” from an organic grower or grow your own from (organic) seeds.  Just remember – don’t use conventional fertilizer on them after you plant them!

If you don’t have any luck finding edible pansies but want to surprise your Easter guests with them in a salad, most coops or natural food stores will carry edible pansies near the fresh herbs.