20 June 2009

Mema's Garden

A few weeks ago I went to OKC for Mema's 88th birthday. She didn't know I was coming - not at first anyway. Mom and Dad picked her up at her house to take her for a ride - not telling her where they were going - and came to the airport to get me. When they took the exit for the airport, she began to suspect. When they pulled up at the airport and she saw me waiting, she wagged her finger at me through the windshield knowingly and smiled.

Mema and me

That night we had dinner on Mom and Dad's back deck and talked about flowers. Lots of different flowers - what Mema grows, what Mom and Dad grow, what came in that bouquet that someone gave Mema, and so on. But my 2 cents worth in the conversation was to talk about edible flowers. Just the night before I'd bought some edible flowers - nasturtiums, to be exact - at the market. I told Mema we'd been eating them in our salads and that they were delicious.

Dad was on the computer researching the difference between Delphinium and Larkspur, which Mema had in that bouquet she'd been talking about. (Wikipedia says they are the same by the way.) So when we started musing on just what kinds of flowers were edible, we did a bit of googling to find a comprehensive list. Some common ones cropped up - carnations, chrysanthemums, dandelions, gladiolas. With each one I named off, Mema sort of guffawed at the thought of eating them. I'd only gotten as far as Hibiscus in the alphabetical list when she finally said, "Well, it just ruins the flower if you go and eat it like that." You can see where Mema's priorities are.

The next day was the birthday party / Sunday Lunch at Mema's house. Dad and I took a walk with our identical cameras to look at Mema's garden. The roses are past their peak (I've missed them every year for years). The poppies that Mema had said were taller and more abundant than ever were also beginning to wane.

Roses after their glory. I didn't dare remind Mema that roses are edible, too.

hot poppies

But we found a full array of other flowers and plants, a number of which are quite edible indeed.

Garlic? Or chives?

The blossoms were huge...

Blackberries, on their way to being black - Mema freezes these and makes Blackberry Dumplings. So good...

Dad says this is called "poke salad" - or at least he thinks it's called "poke salad" - Mema has no Google, so we didn't look it up ...

Dad pointed out this Lamb's Quarter (I had just bought some of this at the farmers market a few weeks before) and said that as a kid, he would go on his bicycle to get Lamb's Quarter and bring it home to his mom to cook - but he never much cared for it.

We cut our garden tour short when it was time to go in and eat. For dessert Mema (and the rest of us) enjoyed a superb coconut pie that my aunt Joy made.

Happy Birthday, Mema!

parting shot: Ling with blue nails and a blackberry


mom said...

Mema was here tonight. If only I had known that you were posting at 5:30, I would have shown her your lovely photos and words. We actually ate some of her favorites from farmers market - okra/tomato gumbo, green beans and new potatoes, roasted beets, spinach with yellow cherry tomatoes. We thought of you the whole night.

Emily said...

Uf! Maybe I should have texted/called to let you know I was posting. If only I'd known Mema was coming over. Show her the blog the next time she's over, and show her all the pics from that weekend at flickr.com/emilyandsergio.

Marcella Lally said...

Hi Emily,
we met today at the urban garden tour Blue door. Was a great tour indeed, my friends and I had a super good time. Like your blog, I did a blog about my grandfather, I wish he was still around I think he would get a kick out of it.

Have the shot of you if you are interested not sure how to send...

all the best, marcellalally.blogspot.com

Emily said...


Nice to meet you last week! Thanks for visiting my blog. I finally posted about the Urban Farms Tour from last weekend - check it out! I also have lots of pics on Flickr.