Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images
Food gardens can be beautiful — a cherry tree in full bloom, the mesmerizing foliage of trout back lettuce — but purely ornamental gardens can also be edible.
You might be surprised at how many of the plants in your flower border have distinct culinary properties.
Sauté the unopened flower buds in salt and oil and serve as hors d'oeuvres or pickle them. Enjoy the open flowers fresh in salads or dried and stirred into soups. The tubers can be prepared as you would potatoes and turnips. Even the leaves are tender and tasty, but only in spring, when they're just emerging from the ground. Make sure you know how to identify the plant — some types of true lilies (which daylilies resemble but are not related to) are highly toxic.
All dogwoods bear brightly colored berries, and some are edible. Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) bears small red fruit that tastes like tart cherry and is commonly consumed in Turkey, among other countries, often as preserves or as a flavoring for drinks. Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) bears round red fruit that is sweet enough to be eaten fresh. Berries on other dogwoods aren't toxic (at worst, they will give you a stomachache), but they aren't tasty.
This distant relative of asparagus is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries. The leaf shoots are tender when they emerge from the ground in spring and can be served raw in salads or as a steamed vegetable. Later in the season, they can be a bit tough, but they are still edible when cooked thoroughly in a soup or stew. The elegant white flowers of hostas are also edible.
Viola flowers, which include both pansies and violets, have a slightly sweet flavor and make an attractive addition to salads and deserts. Their foliage is also edible, raw or cooked. They're most tender in spring, and some species are tastier than others, so be sure to experiment.
These stunning pendulous flowers, often seen in hanging baskets, are totally edible, as is the fruit that follows them. Fuchsia produces an elongated berry that's midway in size between a blueberry and a grape. The flavor varies depending on the variety, but some are quite tasty. Eat them fresh or blend them in smoothies and desserts.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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