Friday, March 18, 2011

Orpine and Garden Gnomes

Finally, for much of Southern, Mid-Coast and Central Maine, a few wild edible plants are now available. Today, I found some new shoots of orpine, sedum purpureum. These look vaguely like little cabbages and while small, say fingertip size, the entire plant is edible.

These make a fine trail nibble for hikers and fisherman and also, add an interesting dimension to salads.

Next, Oenothera biennis, wild evening primrose, is ready now as well. The young leaves from the basal rosette (leaves radiating out from the stem and lying flat on the ground) are another salad ingredient. The roots of these are edible too, and are best prepared the same way as parsnips.

And the ground ivy that I so laboriously dug out of the snow only days ago is now exposed to the sun and ready for harvest, no digging required.

With outside temperatures in the low 60’s, I found it difficult to sit inside and do office work. So I took a folding chair and sat in the sun for a bit. The warm sunlight on my face was welcome, as was the opportunity to finally sit outside without coat or jacket.

While sitting and enjoying the day, I glanced down to see that snow had left the weeping willow in front of my house and now I could see the little garden gnome lurking at the shrub’s base. I almost expected to hear a very British voice saying, “spring is here, spring is here.”

Of course we can’t expect today’s warmth to last. It’s not even officially spring…at least not until Sunday. But even so, we can finally and with much certainty, say goodbye to winter. See ya next year, old man.

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