Sweet & Savory Dandelion Rosemary Shortbread

Have you ever been disappointed not to find dandelions growing in your lawn?  Once you have tried this shortbread recipe, you will be when you can’t find any!  Don’t be tempted to use the “Texas Dandelion” the recipe is much more delicious with Taraxacum officinale, the real thing!  This is not a recipe original to me – there are many versions on the internet.
Dandelion.FlowerIngredients:
2 cups brown or white rice flour
1 cup organic, unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup Swiss Cheese (if you use sharper, hard cheese, go easy on the salt)
1/4 cup dandelion petals & greens, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
Black pepper to taste
Sea salt to sprinkle on top (see note above about cheese)

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar and honey until light and fluffy.  Add in dandelion petals and chopped leaves.  Be sure to remove the green sepals – mix in until just combined.
Stir the rice flower into the butter mix in 2 additions.  After the first, stir in the cheese, rosemary and black pepper.  Then add the remainder of flour to make a smooth dough.
Roll the dough in waxed paper to form a firm cylinder.  Cover and refrigerate until firm – about 1 hour.

While chilling, preheat oven to 325F.

Slice the cylinder of dough into 1 inch thick rounds using a sharp knife and place on baking sheet a good 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt, if using.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan after 10, until just golden.  Beware of burning during the last few minutes.
Cool completely on baking sheet – they will be very delicate until they are cool and you don’t want them to break up!

Note: if you cut the rounds thinner, it is even more important to watch that they don’t burn.  Enjoy!!!

Bells are Ringing

No, not royal wedding bells you may have guessed after this past Sunday’s events across the ocean, but Bells of Ireland, Molucella laevis, also known as shell flower. Inspired by one of Suzanne’s blog posts to start a new flower bed, I revived a flower bed by the front curb that had gone to grass and instead planted lots of seeds from here and there. This particular flower bed is across the street from one of our neighborhood mailbox clusters, so am hoping it will bring delight to neighbors as they collect their mail and inspire them to plant some flowers also, as well as provide a way-station for pollinators. Already spotted a green bee this morning stopping in for breakfast. Was delightfully wrong about Bells of Ireland, as thought they would not grow. Placed behind zinnias that started blooming early, the Bells of Ireland are expected to keep ringing and getting taller and the plan is to let them dry out and maybe use them in a flower arrangement, who knows? And to think they were almost mistaken as a weed and pulled out early on in their growth.

Have heard fresh Bells of Ireland can be a bit tricky to use in flower arrangements because they will bend towards the light, which can be an issue if you placed the flowers in an arrangement early just so and what you think is perfection and it is a few hours before the judges see it. Reminded me of tulips that keep growing in all directions when put in arrangements. Such errant behavior by flowers in arrangements may just improve it and make it more noteworthy.

Anyone know what the pink flower below is? I think the seeds were in an envelope labeled tall, red, and long lasting before being planted in the same flower bed as the Bells of Ireland. It is neither red, or tall, being about 6 inches tall.

Is the bug a friendly wasp? It was quite small, around 0.5 inches.

What do you have growing pretty in your yard?

Blue Star Memorial Re-dedication Ceremony in College Station

Members of the A&M Garden Club, veterans, and guests participated in a re-dedication ceremony for the Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial in College Station. The Blue Star Memorial Markers are a  tribute to the Armed Forces of America and is a program by National Garden Clubs, Inc.

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photos courtesy of Dale S, veteran and husband of garden club member Judy S

Hummingbird Moth Visitor to Home Garden

A member of the Sphinx moth family enjoys a meal of lantana nectar in the garden in Austin, Texas. Seems like this one is in a bee costume to me. Had to use the flash on my point and shoot camera to stop motion as it flitted around from flower to flower pretty much ignoring this fumbling photographer. What interesting insects have you seen in the garden lately?Read More »

A&M Garden Club Members Participate in Flower Show in Austin

A&M Garden Club members Suzanne M and Deana D participated in the Violet Crown Garden Club Flower Show in Longhorn country in Austin, TX, this past weekend. Both entered in the design and horticulture divisions.

See if you can guess which design goes with which theme and design type in the pictures below.
“Beautiful Beginnings” Low Profile Design
“Feathered Friends” 8″ or less Petite
“Busy Bees” 8″ or less Petite

 

Pink Primrose Surprise

 

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After our delightful April garden club meeting program on “Good Bugs, Bad Bugs”, Sharon S spotted this interesting bug specimen by the sidewalk in Judy S’s yard.

I’m no entomologist, but think it is Hyles lineata (white lined spinx moth, also called hummingbird mothenjoying a quiet meal on Oenothera speciosa (Pink Primrose) before we disturbed it with much picture taking. Seeing and contributing to insect populations is one of the many benefits of using native plants and organic gardening methods in the landscape. Depending on your point of view, you might view this caterpillar as a welcome friend, or a pest. We put it in the friend category in this yard.

Mother’s Day 2018 Update: moth hatched! Dale and Judy S shared images below

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Did you see good or bad bugs in your yard? We’d love to hear about it.