Plants that Make Me Drool – Literally!

I’m super stoked! I received my shipment from my friends at Proven Winners ColorChoice, which is Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan, one of the wonderful places that I worked when I wasn’t a mommy!

In the shipment, I received the newest and most talked about member of their family – At Last® Rose. This sweetly perfumed, sunset-orange rose claims to be disease resistant and it will be put to the ultimate test in my Seattle garden, which gets copious amounts of rainfall yearly causing all my other roses to get the dread disease of all the Rosaceae family – BLACK SPOT – a fungal disease that is spread by water. I’m looking forward to seeing how this lil’ lady holds up!

At Last

At Last Rose – Image Credit: White Flower Farm

Many of you know that I am trying to focus more on sustainable landscape practices and adding plants to my garden that provide food along with being aesthetically pleasing. I no longer want to add plants to the garden that are just pretty – they have to have a functional quality of being edible. So when they offered to ship me Aronia Low Scape® Mound and Lemony Lace® Sambucus there was no hesitation on my part.

Aronia Low Scape Mound 6_1080_1080_60

Black Fruit of Aronia Low Scape Mound – Image: Spring Meadow Nursery

I grew Aronia in my Michigan garden and absolutely fell in love with the genus when I worked at Spring Meadow. The plant is a gardener’s dream as it has gorgeous features in spring, summer and fall. My favorite being fall when the leaves turn a brilliant red and are accented with dark, black berries.  As of late, I became more aware of the amazing power of the Aronia fruit as it is higher in antioxidants than a blueberry and off the chart when it comes to Vitamin C levels. Many of you have probably eaten Aronia without even knowing it. As I walked around with Dale Deppe, owner of Spring Meadow, we discussed how Aronia is in most fruit juices that are already on the market, but most consumers have no idea what an Aronia berry even is. During a friend’s recent presentation, she mentioned that Aronia is highly popular in Japanese culture and a delicious flavor of ice cream.

ice cream with black currant

Aronia Cheesecake Pops – Image Credit: Superberries

From Wikipedia:

“Chokeberries (common name for Aronia) are cultivated as ornamental plants and as food products. The sour berries can be eaten raw off the bush, but are more frequently processed. They can be found in wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea, salsa, chili starters, extracts, beer, ice cream, gummies and tinctures. The name “chokeberry” comes from the astringency of the fruits, which create a sensation making one’s mouth pucker.”

So the next time you buy juice at the grocery store, read the ingredients label because more than likely you are drinking chokeberry!

Sambucus (Elderberry) has been quite popular as of late with consumers looking for natural remedies to soothe winter illnesses. It has also gained fanfare as an unique liqueur flavor for drinks. Recently, Food & Wine Magazine published an article about “the best cocktails to make with elderberry liqueur” .  I prefer to use it as a natural way to get rid of colds and coughs. During the fall, I collect the berries and make a syrup that can be stored in the freezer until it is needed. There are several recipes online, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Not only does Lemony Lace® Sambucus have gorgeous, golden foliage and red, new grown, but its berries can attract wildlife as well as soothe my winter blah. What more can you ask for of a plant! Currently, I have Sambucus nigra ‘Variegata’ in my container garden. It is important to note that all other parts of the Elderberry plant are toxic to humans, except for the berries which cure so many ailments.

Lemony Lace

Closeup of Lemony Lace Leaf – Image Credit: Jackson & Perkins

Last, but far from least, I received Callicarpa Pearl Glam®! I have admired this plant from afar for so many moons. I have never grown it in my garden, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have a ton of space. This plant not only looks amazing in fall with violet-purple berries covering it by the hundreds, but sings in the spring with purple foliage. The upright habit makes it a more feasible option for my limited space as well.

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Beautyberry Jelly – Image Credit: Table and Hearth

Come to find out it also is edible and makes a delicious jelly and has long been used by Native American Tribes – from Garden.org:

“All parts of Callicarpa americana were used by the Alabama, Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, Seminole, and other Native American tribes. Roots, leaves, berries, and stems were used as the base for various teas and decoctions.  Root and leaf tea was used in sweat baths for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria.  Root tea was used for dysentery and stomach aches.  The root and berries were used for colic and as a treatment for a wide variety of common ailments.  It was also used in ceremonies.  The bark from the stems and the roots were used to treat itchy skin.”

Personally, I can’t wait to see this beauty in fruit right next to Lemony Lace Elderberry! My mouth is already dropping in splendor and awe! Enough plant drooling for tonight!

pearl_glam_callicarpa_beauty_berry_purple

Gorgeous violet-purple fall fruit – Image Credit: Proven Winners 

Happy Gardening Y’all!

Please Note: Links provided under the images are where the plants can be purchased online. I believe all the plants are available for purchase as well at Proven Winners website.
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About P.S. I ♥ Peas

Ever since I was a child, I remember falling in love with flowers. My first flower memory was being intrigued by the blooms of Bleeding Heart (Dicentra). Love of nature and art led me into pursuing a degree in horticulture & landscape design. For 15+ years, I worked for different wholesale companies including Proven Winners, Spring Meadow Nursery (Proven Winners ColorChoice Flowering Shrubs) and Zelenka Nursery. Then in 2013, I started my own business Flora & Fauna Media, which specializes in public relations outreach from social media to media publications. Now, I am focusing on being a Stay-At-Home mom and my writing career. I garden on less than an acre of property near Seattle, Washington. Making the most of my space was extremely important to efficiency, which led to removing lots of grass. Now, our property is a sanctuary filled with fruits (blueberries, apples, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, fig and huckleberries), vegetables (kale, beets, peas, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, cardoon, zucchini, green beans, peppers, tomatillos and sorrel) and herbs (rosemary, chives, thyme, mint, oregano, lemon verbena, pineapple sage and sage). Growing our own food is an important mission to me and with a young child teaching is valuable knowledge to pass down generation after generation . If you teach a man to garden, he will eat for life! My husband and I love to cook together. We find new recipes and try them weekly. Wildcrafting has become a fun additional to this pastime. Harvesting stinging nettles or dandelions and making them into something that is edible and delicious is so rewarding.
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