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Chelsea Garden Walk

CHELSEA GARDEN WALK, SATURDAY, JULY 17:

TEN UNIQUE GARDENS IN CHELSEA TO

ENJOY, EXPLORE, AND INSPIRE

Every other year the Chelsea Area Garden Club hosts a Garden Walk, offering the public the opportunity to see other people’s garden inspirations. This year, ten stunning gardens in the Chelsea community will be open for a self-paced tour on Saturday, July 17, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Chelsea’s unique natural resources are showcased in the selected gardens. Several of the gardens are on lakefront properties and are inspired by English cottage gardens with climbing roses and old fashioned perennials. Also featured is a garden reminiscent of the Provence region with a young vineyard and fields of lavender. Two gardens within the Chelsea city limits are unique urban gardens. One is a secret garden with many different garden rooms and the other is a lush pocket garden filled with layers of color and best of all, requires minimal lawn maintenance. The beautifully maintained gardens at the Chelsea Retirement Community are the only public gardens on the tour. All of the remaining gardens are private and only available for viewing on this day.

An exciting new feature for this year’s Garden Walk is a partnership with Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors in Chelsea. Suggested bike routes to access the garden sites will be available at Aberdeen to those attendees who want to bike the scenic roads leading out to the more rural garden sites.

Walk participants will be able to enjoy music and art at some of the sites. Several area artists will be painting in the gardens and local musicians will be playing music at other locations. This will surely add to the ambiance of the day as one strolls through these beautiful gardens.

Tickets with maps identifying the sites are $10 and are available at the Garden Mill, the Potting Shed, and Aberdeen Bike prior to the day of the event. On the day of the Walk, tickets will be sold at the garden sites. Another feature for this year, Garden Walk attendees will receive discounts and specials at participating businesses listed on the back of the ticket. So, rain or shine, come spend the day in Chelsea inspired by beautiful gardens, and explore what the city has to offer.

All proceeds raised benefit Chelsea Area Garden Club’s civic beautification projects and provide funds for community horticultural grants. For further information, please contact Trinh Pifer at the Garden Mill, 734 475-3539 or visit CAGC’s website at www.chelseagardenclub.com.

Winter Interest in the Garden – High Returns for Small Investments

Gardens attract our eye – we perch with our morning coffee in front of the window that offers a garden overlook, and the premium seat in the family room often faces the picture window to the garden. No wonder winter depression occurs – out of comfortable habit we turn to look at gardens that are suddenly bleak, flat moonscapes! As you do your garden clean up this fall and decide if and where to place new plants and bulbs, consider ways to make any existing or new landscape interesting, colorful, even alive with birds and the motion of leaves from November to April.

Growing and Using Culinary Herbs

By Christine Forsch

Spring starts the greening and sprouting of the widely used plants that are herbs.   They are used for medicinal remedies or aromatic enjoyment, but of most interest at this time to me is the culinary usage of the green, leafy parts of these plants.  The chives have been tall for awhile and are even starting to produce flowers.  The sages are leafing out.  Recently, The Chelsea Area Garden Club had the pleasure of a program given by Merrill Crockett and Rita Hermann, owners of “Old Friends” in Chelsea.  Their presentation incited a desire to share knowledge of some culinary herbs and their usage in cooking.

I have been growing herbs forever, excitedly smelling and tasting the various plants in the garden during the season – sage, thyme, chives, bergamot, borage, angelica, scented geraniums, lemon balm, lavender – but have never fully utilized the powers of these wonderfully tasty and fragrant plants.  They were mostly grown with good intentions and the visual interest of their leaf shapes and colors was enough to supplant any consistent usage of them.  The interest in more knowledge of culinary herbs came about when I had a garden full of large, lush sage plants of many purple and green varieties.  It must have been a perfect summer in the garden for growing sages and other herbs, one with lots of sun and beds draining well when they got a dousing of rainwater.  Not knowing enough of what to do with the leaves, beyond the usual turkey stuffing and meat flavoring, I started looking for interesting usages.  There was a most wonderful online site found at Kalyn’s Kitchen, which premiered a weekly herb discussion and recipe (http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2005/10/weekend-herb-blogging-recaps-weeks-1-52.html).  In it was a recipe for sage pesto, and since meatless meals are eaten often in our house, the thought of pasta with this pesto on it sounded interesting.  Sage has a strong flavor so, if desired, cut the intensity of that by adding Italian parsley to the recipe.  Try the following recipe some time when there is an abundance of sage leaves.  Stuffing and cooking a chicken breast with this pesto is delicious.

Sage and Pecan Pesto

Kalyn’s Kitchen
(Makes about 4 cups sage pesto)
3 large handfuls sage leaves, stems removed, washed and dried
3/4 cup unsalted pecans (or almonds or walnuts)
1/3 cup chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups coarsely grated parmesan cheese

Snip sage leaves from stems with kitchen shears and place leaves in salad spinner. Wash and spin dry (or wash in sink and dry with paper towels.) Put sage in food processor fitted with steel blade and pulse until sage is finely chopped.

Use cutting board and chef’s knife to chop garlic and pecans. (They will get chopped more in the food processor so they don’t have to be chopped too precisely.) Add pecans, garlic, salt, and parmesan to food processor and pulse until mixture is well combined but not completely pureed together. With food processor running, pour olive oil in through feed tube as you pulse, until the oil is blended with other ingredients.

If desired, freeze in ice cube trays or small containers. Will keep in the fridge for at least a week or for months in the freezer.

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Cilantro is another herb that can be used to make pesto.  If you are a cilantro lover, this pesto is great on all things edible: crackers, vegetables, meats and of course, pasta.

Cilantro Pesto

One bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and stripped from stems (about 3 cups)

2-3 cloves garlic

3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs lime juice

1/3 c. pine nuts

¼ c. grated parmesan cheese

Process all ingredients in a food processor.  When mixed well, drizzle in approximately ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil.  Add enough for a nice consistency.  Adjust items to taste, eg, add more juice, etc.  ENJOY!

* * * * *

When harvesting herbs for usage, the leafy parts should be harvested in the morning after the dew dries but before it gets hot in the day.  You are able to snip a considerable amount of the plant without doing damage to it; at least half is possible.  Continuous harvesting of the leaves wards off flower and seed production, but if it’s desired to let the plant flower, the bees will love you.  I have observed a loud buzzing from the bees who are dancing over the thyme, anise hyssop or lemon balm flowers.

Deciding what to plant can be overwhelming or it can be made simple by planting a few often-used herbs such as parsley, thyme and chives and buying the rarely-used herbs from the Chelsea Farmers Market.  There are many growers there who sell a good assortment of herbs that might not be grown in your garden.  There might be for sale some Lemon Verbena or you could grow it in your garden and make this delicious bread.  The CAGC tasted it at the program above, and it was delicious.  There are also other herbs that are used in sweet cooking, such as Chocolate Mint, Pineapple Mint (beautiful plants with their colors and textures) and Lavender.  Add some Organic Lavender buds to some cream cheese for an interesting spread.  The taste is nicely subtle.  Add some chopped rosemary, chives and parsley to unsalted butter; it’s wonderful on crackers.

Lemon Verbena Bread

The Herb Companion, Dec. 1990

1 c. sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

¼ c. chopped lemon verbena leaves

1-1/2 c. sifted flour

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

2 large eggs

½ c. milk

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Cream butter with lemon verbena.  Add sugar and beat well.  Add eggs, salt and remaining ingredients.  Grease loaf pans (1 large, 2 small or 4 mini) and pour in the batter.  Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes (for the large pan) until bread tests done (toothpick in center comes out clean).  Leave in pan and pour glaze over the bread while still hot and let sit several hours.  Remove from pan and wrap in foil if refrigerated.

Glaze:

½ c. sugar

2 Tbs. chopped lemon verbena

Juice of 1 lemon

Mix well and pour over hot bread.

* * * * *

Growing herbs is relatively easy.  They only require well-drained soil, some plants can survive a drought pretty well, most don’t take up much garden plot space (except for the mints!) and they provide an interesting addition to foods and drinks.  Some have a history, like the Lemon Balm that I have.  Even though it would manage to take over the whole herb bed, I am careful to not totally eradicate it as it is from a cutting from my friend, whose relative crossed on the Oregon Trail.

Some useful herb info websites: