Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo

With my niece’s wedding successfully concluded last weekend, this was my week for gardening. I didn’t get to it until yesterday, but since it rained a lot, I chose not to do wet raking. I find it inefficient. Today, however, is glorious, so out I went, foolishly ungloved, just to do a little bit of raking to start. Of course, that means raking up everything I should have raked in October and discovering all sorts of things underneath. Hunks of tree bark amid the ivy – what tree? Tiles, stones, pieces of plastic wrapping?? It was a rough winter on all of us, and the evergreens out back are hanging lower than ever as if the snow still weighed them down. Lots of pruning to do.

So, once I started, I raked up two big “outdoor trash” bags of leaves, twigs, branches, pinecones, vines, and whatnot. Today’s raking barely dented the back 20. That’s 20 feet by a good deal less than 20 feet, not acres. Day by day, little by little. While I was out there, I saw many dandelions, just as I had any other day the past two weeks walking along GCP. Big gorgeous dandelions.

When I was a child, I picked some dandelions for my godmother and presented them to her as if they were magnificent. Well, they were, and are, but at the time…. My godmother accepted them graciously, but later my mother told me they were weeds and that my godmother was allergic to them. Alas, so much for flower gathering.

Now, though, I look at all the dandelions and wonder how many dandelions it takes to make a pot of dandelion tea. I referred to my cousin Maggie’s blog, where she gives a recipe for dandelion wine. That’s my cousin for you. This recipe seems simple but requires patience, as it must ferment!

The answer to my original question is: To make tea you need the roots. Flowers are for salads and fritters and such like. While I felt my neighbors would not begrudge the picking of what they all consider just a weed marring their mostly bedraggled lawns, I am in the habit of reading thoroughly, and the web site on which I found a tea recipe warned the reader to be sure to pick flowers only where I could be sure no fertilizers had been used. Well. The only place I could be sure of that….. was not in Queens. So, I’ll just have some ordinary green tea, thank you. In a little bag. The lazy way for this city girl.

~ Molly Matera, signing off to luxuriate in store-bought green tea over a good book. And perhaps a dollop of brandy….


  1. About dandelions: Also, if you are inclined to pick the leaves for salads, they are edible only prior to blooming. Otherwise they are incredibly bitter and tough. If you wish to make dandelion tea in the future, why don't you cultivate some of the soon-to-come seeds and then grow your own as potted herbs? (Or order some organic dandelion seeds to cultivate.) You could start an at-home business! I think dandelion nosegays are lovely, too, especially when combined with violets. I still pick 'em. (:

  2. Thank you, Mariana, what an excellent suggestion!

  3. Thought of you today while I was walking the doglet and noticing the white fuzzies from dandelion blooms already. So, you can start your organic dandelion project already! Also have been cooking some eggs, and being a long-time composter (well before it was the thing to do), I was wondering what I could do with the shells. Organic, so I decided I might grow some seedlings in eggshells to plant later on.

    Garden photos (and your lovely kitties) look great. I like the broken pot on its side with the purple flowering plant spilling out. Should be a watercolor. Very pretty. May do that with a broken terra cotta pot I have. You, as I do, apparently like that shabby chic look in the garden. Ironic works are vVery nice. Enjoy your garden, lucky madame!

    P.S.--Your niece isn't Duchess Catherine, is she?