I have plants I can't eat!

Another section by popular demand. If you want to talk about anything else that grows that is not livestock, herbs, fruit or vegetables here it goes.
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Annpan
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I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238144 Annpan
Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:31 am

I visited my Mother (a dedicated gardener) yesterday she does not grow anything edible, well not on purpose and her garden was looking lovely in full bloom lots of colours and interest.

My garden (where I almost only grow edible things)is almost devoid of colour :( I have some sweet peas which look gorgeous and the veg that I miss during harvest gets left to flower so I have parsnip and carrots flowering just now along with courgettes and peas that should be flowering this time of year....

Anyway.... long story short.... I nabbed some cuttings / bits of plants.... but all my books (and research of the past 5 years) are about veg and herb growing and I have very little knowledge of these pretty things, beyond how they look... so can I get some pointers please. :mrgreen:

Also if any of these plants have practicle purpose I would like to know too :scratch:

Here's what I have

Bamboo - I know I should be able to coppice canes off of this, which is why I took it really :flower:
Lemon Balm - I know it is technically edible, but in what? (I felt a great satisfaction as I identified this even though my mum had no idea... it was left by previous owner)
Pink geraniums
Hydrangea
Aubretia

There might be more... its all still in polybags, I wanted some pointers before I started digging holes....


Any help would be most welcome
Ann Pan

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kit-e-kate
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238148 kit-e-kate
Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:38 am

Sorry, i'm not going to be of much help here! I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one who hasn't got the hang of flowers! Me too! :icon_smile:

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238154 mollypea
Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:03 am

Another one here who doesn't know much about flowers - I do know that lemon balm makes a nice herbal tea though (on its own or with mint etc) :)

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238162 Millymollymandy
Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:24 am

Plant the hydrangea somewhere really sheltered as they frost really easily and then you risk having no flowers as they mostly flower on the stems formed from the previous year. Mine don't flower that often as they get frosted and they never grow more than about 2 foot high as they have to regrow from the ground again each year. In Scotland it probably won't matter if it is in full sun but anywhere warmer plant in a shadier place and water, water, water cos they are extremely thirsty plants.

Other than that, everything Susie said although I haven't had aubretia self seed - everything else does though. It's a perennial anyway so you will have it year after year.
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238173 CharlieLittle
Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:20 pm

Purslane is good and very good for you. I love it. Here's an article about it and some others.

http://www.wisebread.com/free-food-in-y ... ible-weeds

:cooldude:

Edit...oh crap I misread the title and thought you wanted plants you could eat, sorry :lol:
Just a little fungi...

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Annpan
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238175 Annpan
Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:24 pm

Thanks everyone

Bamboo and lemon balm is not a problem.... a substantial amount of the garden is weeds and overgrown grass anyway so having plants I like growing out of control is no problem :mrgreen: I de-potted my mint in the spring for that very reason.

The hydrangea might be a problem as we have nowhere sheltered in our garden.... I can try but we get below 0ºC for weeks on end in the winter. My Mum said it was easy to get the cuttings to take and I have enough for about 8 bushes so I'll dot them about in the hope that one or 2 might flower. We have very clay soil and lots of rainfall here so I don't think water will be a problem.... I might try to plant some near where I get problems with too much water and see if it can help.

Thanks for the tips :cheers:
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238194 Thomzo
Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:25 pm

Hydrangea flowers dry really well - so, although not edible, they are useful.
Lemon balm, as already said, makes great herbal tea. Don't use boiling water, boil it and let it cool a little or the lemon balm will taste of boiled cabbage. My favourite is nettle, peppermint and lemon balm tea.
Bamboo - can you eat all bamboo shoots?
Geraniums and aubretia attract pollinating insects - very beneficial to the self-sufficientish gardener.

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238196 Thomzo
Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:34 pm

Oh, and if you want plants you can eat that flower, try oregano and thyme (if they grow in your part of the world). Mine are both looking lovely right now. Not only that but they draw in loads of insects.

Lavender is another useful plant that looks lovely. I'm not a big fan of the flavour but it's so useful for so many other things.

While we're on the subject of useful plants, don't forget that many flowering plants are great companion plants to your fruit and veg. So there's plenty of good reasons to grow pretty plants: scabious, buddlea, cosmos all attract bees, and what's wrong with growing flowers for cutting? Much more environmentally friendly than buying imported flowers. If you get good at it, you can give them away as presents. Then, of course, you can sell the seedlings.

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238206 Awne
Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:08 pm

You can make lemon balm ice lollies....I got the recipe from here and they are lovely http://blog.learningherbs.com/2008/07/l ... -pops.html

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238315 crtj
Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:32 pm

Lemon balm is indeed excellent for tea, and very ... shall we say - vigorous - that's true as well :)

Lavender flowers make amazing tea as well, very calming; and the leaves can be dried and put into satchels to dispel insects.

Another plant that is edible and has beautiful flowers: nasturtium. http://www.sallybernstein.com/food/colu ... rtiums.htm

Also, echinacea (coneflower) and monarda (bee balm).

(And runner beans of course :)

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238318 fifi folle
Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:50 pm

I've never had a problem with Hydrangeas, I think perhaps the varieties we get are generally quite hardy. The geraniums, if they are geranium rather than pelargonium, will be fine and will mutliply til your garden has been taken over by them!

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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238319 battybird
Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:56 pm

We have a hydrangea in a pot and it has grown really well and lived through all the cold winters (and we are very close to the sea so it gets sea winds too! So dont discount having it in a pot...it does slow the growth down but thats not a bad thing sometimes!
Evening primrose is a lovely flower and the perfume is lovely ..can look a bit straggly in the daytime but in the evening.... :flower:
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238369 bonniethomas06
Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:16 am

Lemon balm is great in thai recipies instead of lemon grass. Or the other day I had salmon with soy, ginger, garlic and a few sprigs of lemon balm, wrapped in foil and put in oven = gorgeous.

The only thing is, the hydrangea cuttings will probably need the bottom 1/2 cm cutting off and standing in water for a couple of hours before you try and root them, especially if they have been in bags for days.
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238372 Big Al
Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:44 am

Annpan wrote:Here's what I have

Bamboo - I know I should be able to coppice canes off of this, which is why I took it really :flower:
Lemon Balm - I know it is technically edible, but in what? (I felt a great satisfaction as I identified this even though my mum had no idea... it was left by previous owner)
Pink geraniums
Hydrangea
Aubretia

There might be more... its all still in polybags, I wanted some pointers before I started digging holes....


Any help would be most welcome


Bamboo can be a problem if it's a vigorous type but there are non vigorous types as well. The easiest way to control it is to dig a shallow 4" deep and 6" wide trench around it and as you see the side shoots emerging thewn you just snip them off.
Lemon balm like mint. makes good teas but only use leaves. Flowers might be edible on salads but I've never tried this so google that one until I find my herb book. The other three, nice plants I guess...
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Re: I have plants I can't eat!

Post: #238374 snapdragon
Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:53 am

Is the pink Geranium a 'hardy' or 'pelargonium'? if Hardy (leaves look a little buttercup-ish) it will die back but will be back next year, if 'pelargonium' (the ones with fleshier, often hairy leaves, seen in pots and on photos of alpine balconies) you'll need to take cuttings of this years and keep them frost free for planting out next year.
Bamboo I'd plant like mint in a large bottomless pot because it will invade all over (but useful to grow your own canes :) )
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