Episode 85 – Plant Recipes to get your Garden Cooking

Ground Breaking Banter - Rick

In the kitchen, recipes are combinations of ingredients, and in the garden, “recipes” are combinations of plants. And to be frank, combining plants is something that trips a LOT of people up. The basics are simple: match plants with similar light and water needs, and combine heights in a way that allows each plant to shine. But of course, when it comes time to actually do this, we’ve heard from a lot of people who want a foolproof recipe, not unlike what they’re used to using in the kitchen. And while there are resources for just that, like Proven Winners recipe guide for annuals and EZ Scapes for Proven Winners Perennials,  and the Gardening Simplified Landscape Guide, don’t underestimate your own abilities to cook up something good in the garden! We’re sharing tips and ideas on how to do just that, as well as the important piece of advice that almost everything can be moved if you change your mind or decide you don’t like a combination you created. Trust us – we both do it all the time!

Tune in at the YouTube link above or on your favorite podcast platform to hear our whole conversation. Here’s this episode’s Lim-A-Rick:

I’ll try this plant I thought

Because I had overbought

I’ll stick it right there

It could go anywhere

My garden has gone to pot


I really had good intention

No plant can I abstention

It’s like putting it on a shelf

I can’t contain myself

I need an intervention. 

When people think of shrubs that are edible, it’s probably primarily things like blueberries, raspberries, pomegranates…maybe currants, gooseberries, quince, and elderberries, if they’re into the more esoteric. Most people probably wouldn’t think of roses, and if they did, they would probably think more about rose hips, the vitamin-rich fruits created by some roses that are often used in jellies, juices, and teas. But the fact is that roses have been a culinary staple for people going back to ancient times and we’ve lost touch with that, especially in Western culture. And it’s not just the hips: the petals have been enjoyed in salads, on desserts, and as a flavoring. Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs is super excited to bring back this tradition with our new Flavorette Honey Apricot rose.

Available for the first time this year, Flavorette Honey Apricot rose is a beautiful, disease resistant rose with full apricot-colored flowers. It comes to us from an innovative rose breeding program in Serbia where they have spent years selecting roses specifically for eating. They’re looking for those that offer unique flavor profiles – Honey Apricot was, in fact, selected because its flavors do bring to mind honey and apricot. And next year, a second Flavorette rose, Flavorette Pear’d, will be out, and its petals do indeed taste of pears. Plus there are more where those came from! In addition to these unique and distinctive flavors, however, they are also selecting for good texture and sweetness in the petals so they are a joy to eat. I have tried both Flavorette Honey Apricot and Flavorette Pear’d and can attest they are delicious and fun to eat. Imagine showing a friend through your garden and giving them petals fresh off your plant to sample! The petals of Flavorette roses can be used fresh in salads or as a garnish in desserts, like cakes and cupcakes. They can also be layered with sugar to make flavored sugar for tea and baking, as well as infused in vinegar or vodka. They can be dried and used that way, too.

A white frosted cake on a plate decorated with several peach colored roses and many more petals strewn about.

Because these are Proven Winners ColorChoice roses, performance is a high priority, and we have trialed and tested the Flavorette roses for years to make sure they meet those standards. They show good disease resistance and bloom continuously all summer without deadheading, so you’ll never have a short supply of flowers for your summer meals. They do have a larger, more upright habit than most of the other roses we offer, reaching about 5-8’ tall and 3-4’ wide, so are best grown as a traditional shrub rose or like you would any other flowering shrub. They make a great addition to an herb garden but are absolutely beautiful enough to mix into your flower garden or rose garden.

Growing Flavorette roses is like growing any other disease-resistant rose: plant in full sun (6+ hours/day) and well-drained soil. Regular water will give you the best results, but roses are pretty tolerant of dry conditions once they are established. It’s important to follow proper spacing with roses, as it helps with air circulation and that increases the disease resistance. Flavorette roses can be used as needed – simply cut them off the plant and bring them in. They also make a beautiful cut flower!

If you’d like to add Flavorette Honey-Apricot rose – or any of the 320+ Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs – to your garden or landscape, you’ll find a list of local retailers here

Gardening Mail Bag - Stacey

This does seem strange, but it’s most likely just sap that leaked out from the cut ends and then dried on the plant. It’s not unusual for this to have never happened before and then suddenly occur one year, because sap flow is dependent on so many factors: soil moisture, atmospheric moisture, the range of temperatures a plant experiences over a period of time (warm-cold-warm-cold, for example, will encourage sap flow over more consistent conditions), and when the plant is cut. It’s nothing to worry about – even though it’s easy to construe this as your plant “bleeding,” it’s not likely to cause any problems for your plant. To be safe, give it some fertilizer and keep an eye on the watering if your spring is dry to replace any water and nutrients that might have gone out with the sap. 

Bare branches of a hydrangea with a recently cut end and white salt-like substance clinging to the branches. Bare branches of a hydrangea with a recently cut end and white salt-like substance clinging to the branches. Bare branches of a hydrangea with a recently cut end and white salt-like substance clinging to the branches.

I wouldn’t rely on the mulch keeping the maple seedlings from coming through. Rather, I’d suggest using a pre-emergent to prevent the seeds from germinating in the first place. While it certainly wouldn’t hurt to mulch after they fall, it’s unlikely to be a foolproof solution. However, Rick also mentions that once maple seedlings lose their tip, they’re done – they don’t have any lateral or axillary buds so they can’t resprout. So any that do sprout, simply snipping, mowing, or maybe even stepping on the emerging seedlings should prevent them from becoming more difficult to manage weeds. 

Oxygen is the key to resuscitating overwatered plants. What they’re suffering from is a lack of oxygen, so getting that to the roots as quickly as possible should be your goal. Normally, that would mean taking the plant out of its container and letting it dry in a cool, shaded spot with good air circulation. Avoid hot sun or strong winds, which could damage it. Generally, you should be able to tell if an over watered plant is likely to survive – if it is still green, even if it is very wilted, there’s a good chance that a rapid return to fresh air will get it back on track!

A lavender plant in a terra cotta pot. A lavender plant in a black pot, with one wilted stem due to overwatering.

Do you have a question for us? We’re happy to help! E-mail us or use the contact tab above. Due to high volume, we may not get to your question, so if you need an answer quickly, please reach out via the Proven Winners website.

Branching News - Rick