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why must all the plants I never liked the looks of, turn out to be edible???

 
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As a child/teenager, I never liked my mom's hostas, fushias or hens and chicks (seedums). They just never matched the rest of the plants native to our area, and so "clashed" in my mind. And now I find out they're all edible! ...and now I kind of want them. But, I feel like such a hypocrite for now wanting them.  And, I still don't like their appearance. But, but, they're edible! And they're even edible perennials! I mean, I gotta grow all the edible perennials I can get my hands on...but I don't like these! I feel so conflicted!
 
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Are there any cats or dogs living with you? Hostas are presumably poisonous for them, so that could get you off the hook for at least one of the plants you mentioned :)
 
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But Nicole, Hostas also grow well in the shade under your trees and help block weed growth, so that might put you back on the hook.....hehehe.  

Only being mean like that because I can't wait for my Hostas to be ready for harvest.  They are a great cooking green.  Maybe the non-variegated ones would be less offensive to the eye?
 
Greg Martin
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Does this look ok for some ground cover filler perhaps on the shady edge of a forest garden path?
 
Greg Martin
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I admit to liking a splash of "fire" too.
 
Greg Martin
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I think when you start eating them they become more attractive :)
 
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Greg, those hostas are beautiful...I grew a variegated one back before I knew they were edible...the deer knew though and wiped them out.
I like how those are growing in 'puddles' of plants rather than the constrained rows we see often in landscaping.

Nicole, that's interesting about hens and chicks...they have always been a favorite of mine.  I've had them off and on down here and will probably beg some from those I've given them to over the years as mine didn't make the move with us.   I think there are many varieties? This is the one I have had...I bet your children would like them

s-l1000.jpg
[Thumbnail for s-l1000.jpg]
 
Greg Martin
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Judith, I really like the looks of those for a mock desert theme garden I'm starting to imagine.  I'm thinking they'd look nice with some Yucca and hardy cacti in a sandy bed.  I'm not sure what I want for shrubs yet here in zone 5 Maine.
 
Greg Martin
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Nicole, other than as a mass planting for ground covers, check out the non-variegated Hosta at the bottom left.  Doesn't that look nice as a forest denizen along with that fern tree.  I'd replace the fern tree with an ostrich fern, of course (yum...fiddle heads).
 
Greg Martin
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Forms and colors can look fairly "not a Hosta" as with this pointy leafed red stemmed Hosta, 'Red October':

(Am I making any headway with you?)  
 
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I've never grown hostas myself but those pictures make them look wonderful!

I have to second Judith on loving hens and chicks. Especially with kids. The juicy insides have medicinal properties similar to aloe! It's great for the cuts and scrapes kids are always getting and they love being able to gather and apply it themselves.

Also, another name for them is houseleeks. (Yes, spelled like the vegetable leeks.) That's because they were traditionally used in leaky places in thatched roofs to block up the leak! I just love that thought for some reason.

I hear that fuchsia fruit tastes like grapes! Maybe the taste might help....? Though I do understand the plant associations we have.

My grandma always over wintered her fuschias and geraniums in a tiny greenhouse on the south side of her house. Fuschias and geraniums make me think of her.

Oddly, lots of people I knew seemed to grow fuschias as annual hanging baskets every year (I even did once or twice and didn't know they were edible, or could be perennial - especially in your region! - back then), but not many seemed interested in geraniums. So geraniums started to equal grandmotherly in my mind.

Then, last year, someone here rescued geraniums from a dumpster and gave them to me. I grew them in my pots around the porch and....it felt weird. I'm getting to a grandmotherly age myself and each cheerful geranium flower bunch seemed to be shouting or calling that out even more. Hm. I did not try to overwinter them.

Grow what makes you happy. Some varieties might grow on you....others might not.

 
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I feel like this may be the equivalent of the ugly person with an amazing personality; I start to forget they are ugly because they are incredible in other ways. The other side is true as well, there are plants that I think are gorgeous but are utterly horrible when it comes to personality. I get to know them and they aren't pretty to me any more.
 
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Jocelyn,
Thank you for giving us the houseleeks name.  I was trying to buy them on ebay without luck for a good seller.  With using houseleeks I found one with seeds tested for germination.

Where we used to live one family had hostas for their yard instead of grass.  It was fitting as it was a forest like setting.
 
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Wikipedia "The name "houseleek" is believed to stem from the traditional practice of growing the plants on the roofs of houses to ward off fire and lightning strikes"[Welsh].

Though I note that 'leek' in its oldest usage means 'a garden herb' or what we would call a vegetable.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Greg, how did you know which varieties I ended up choosing?! My mom has at least 20 different varieties. About a year and a half ago, I wandered through her garden and picked out the one's I liked best, and she divided off some of them for me!  The clincher for me was watching the Permaculture Orchardist talk about hostas and how they are edible and smother weeds. Since I have ducks to eat the slugs, I don't have to worry about that predation, and so resigned myself to getting some hostas--ones that look a whole lot like the ones you posted pictures of!

I also got a fushia plant for my son 2 years ago, because he liked the bright red flowers, and it is edible. Now I guess I need to see if my mom can divide off any of the "house leeks"/hens&chicks and find somewhere to plant them that won't drive me nuts.

The fushias/houseleeks/hostas just look so....tropical. And seem about as incongruous to me as a palm tree in Seattle. I like having a native/natural looking garden--I always have. But, with climate change and everything, having a diversity of plants is a good thing. I think I just need to be okay with my plant choices changing as I grow older.

I feel a bit better about changing my mind, too, because years and years and years ago, my mom told me how she had vowed to never have rhododendrons in her garden, because she didn't like the pink ones her mom grew. But then she discovered purple and variegated and red and all sorts of other colored rhodis that she liked. Now has probably 30+ varieties filling her property. If she can change her mind without guilt, I guess I can, too!
 
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Hens and chicks work really well as a rock garden plant, especially if you create a "secret" garden (or as I like to call them, thinking spots) for a bit of solitude.
Hostas go well with forested spaces since they actually grow wild in that type of setting.

I have always loved fushias but our climate is not what they want except in the early spring, summer kills them off.

The "houseleeks" gained favor since they would grow in thatched roofs but not let water through to the interior. (at least that is what I've been told by English folks that live in thatched roof houses)
Which is the exact opposite of what I would think of any plant called "houseleek", my mind says fine, those cause the house to leak.

 
Greg Martin
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Nicole....not sure if you're into flowers like this, but I was just doing a bit of reading and found out that Hosta plantaginea is the only fragrant hosta, with pure white blooms sometimes 6" across.  'Aphrodite' is a double that was found.  I've never smelled a fragrant hosta before, but all hostas that are fragrant have H. plantaginea in their family tree.  I wonder what these flowers smell and taste like :)
 
Greg Martin
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Here's a group shot:


Now that looks like a serious crop and good weed suppressor.
 
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We have been trying to cultivate a moss lawn under some sugar maples in our yard without great success (visions and expectations not being met by moss's own plans and schedule... thirsty trees... grasses taking up the slack...)
Last year we inherited 15 big clumps of hosta from our across the street neighbor, since their roadside plantings were being disrupted by the community bike path construction. We decided that we could create a hosta lawn in one of the three areas created by the meandering of our serpentine garden path, and focus on one of the smaller areas as the moss lawn.

Two days ago, I had to rescue our mis-scheduled delivery of plants before they spent a weekend, in the dark, at the freight depot, which included a few hundred hostas... Then yesterday, at the transfer station I pull up alongside a car with a bumper-carrier loaded with hostas!!! (headed for the yard waste pile!) I made my way over there and rescued a dozen clumps of hosta, just minutes before the guy in the front-loader was going to push the pile into a taller, higher stack!!!

My partner is a plant hoarder. She loves the fragrant hostas and we have quite a few near our back door and patio, where we get the chance to smell them...you know, on the years that the deer (evil fuckers) don't sweep through in the days just before the plump buds are about to burst open...!!!
 
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I'm getting so inspired by ..hostas!  especially the old fashioned fragrant ones : )  Thanks!   I have a few of the 'fancy' variegated ones, but now must get the others... and use en masse as ground cover :)  Also, in my explorations, I ran across this name for the 'pieces' that are 'split off' and  shared... 'passalong plants'...and, hostas and sedums easily qualify :)  (Also, I've found that 'slips' -as my grandmother called them - i.e., 'cuttings', often surreptitiously obtained :) of geraniums, fuschias, hydrangeas, sedums, echevarias, mints, et al, not to mention houseplants, will happily root in a glass of water.  (What have I left off?)  
 
nancy sutton
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Greg, how long did it take you to make that large patch of 'Mouse Ears' hostas?  (I'm assuming you divided them every year or so.... or did you buy a dozen or more?)  Thanks : )
 
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Greg Martin wrote:Forms and colors can look fairly "not a Hosta" as with this pointy leafed red stemmed Hosta, 'Red October':

(Am I making any headway with you?)  



I love these, but haven't been able to find any locally. I suppose I am on The Hunt...

-CK
 
Greg Martin
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nancy sutton wrote:Greg, how long did it take you to make that large patch of 'Mouse Ears' hostas?  (I'm assuming you divided them every year or so.... or did you buy a dozen or more?)  Thanks : )


Oh, sorry to disappoint Nancy, but mine haven't spread like that yet.  These are an image from Google.  Thanks to digging for pics for Nicole I've added several of the varieties I posted, so they are all small starts for me at the moment.  Maybe I can remember to post a picture of mine in a few years.
 
Greg Martin
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Chris Kott wrote:I love these, but haven't been able to find any locally. I suppose I am on The Hunt...
-CK


Gooseberry Sundae from Brecks is pretty close:

Though they're pretty expensive currently at $32 for one.  I got some hostas from Brecks and they were tiny single crowns.  I hope for $32 it's a biggie, but I wouldn't count on it.
https://www.brecks.com/product/gooseberry-sundae-hosta
 
Chris Kott
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Tempting, but The Hunt for Gooseberry Sundae from Brecks misses the mark somehow. I think I prefer The Hunt for Red October.

-CK
 
Greg Martin
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Chris Kott wrote:Tempting, but The Hunt for Gooseberry Sundae from Brecks misses the mark somehow. I think I prefer The Hunt for Red October.

-CK



It's the next upcoming sequel!  (any chance you'll believe that Chris and not that I was just slow :) )
 
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Ha ha!
I Just found this thread at the bottom of another thread and I remembered I didn't use to like monkey puzzle trees! They always seemed a bit creepy to me. They still do in a way, but as mine grow I just love the sturdiness of them.  I've planted so many from seed now, (and more to come!) but the thing I've learnt to do is plant them wrell spaced away from paths - those leaf spines are wickedly sharp.
Monkey puzzle near path by fruit jungle Skye


 
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This is the year I'll learn to love my hostas (by eating them). I'll also eat the $*#%ing day lilies and balloon flowers! And maybe I'll make capers from ox-eye daisy buds. Once I learn how to use a 'problem' plant, it bothers me less.

I didn't know fuchsias are edible (and can be overwintered). My grandma was one of those annual-hanging-baskets-of-fuchsias ladies, and when I was growing up, I did love those baskets. I thought the flowers were very beautiful, and I liked how they dangled. Hummingbirds visited them. I could never remember their name, as a little girl, so I called them queens.

One plant my mom had as a foundation planting along the front of our house was shrubby cinquefoil (perennial bushes with yellow five-petalled flowers). I thought they looked so dumpy, with the beige landscape rock, just blah. Then a few years ago, I saw this plant wild, growing in the cracked basalt along the lakeshore, and it was suddenly beautiful.
 
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I recently saw some ornamental kale and purple ornamental cabbage at the nursery. Decided to taste a leaf of each, tasted good, so bought & planted some. Hoping they will become perrenial ornamental edibles.
 
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Greg Martin wrote:
Nicole....not sure if you're into flowers like this, but I was just doing a bit of reading and found out that Hosta plantaginea is the only fragrant hosta, with pure white blooms sometimes 6" across.  'Aphrodite' is a double that was found.  I've never smelled a fragrant hosta before, but all hostas that are fragrant have H. plantaginea in their family tree.  I wonder what these flowers smell and taste like :)



I didn't know they might be edible until I read this thread today, so no ideas on taste. But I think these are my emerald hostas, and their fragrance is Wonderful.  A sweet white-flowers scent with a little bit of lily. It was fainter this past year, though. I wonder if, like mint, the older plants are less fragrant?
 
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This place is great. I learn something new every day. I did not realise houseleeks were edible - I have a few in a pot 2 feet away as I type. I only thought hostas were edible to slugs so have never grown them.
Nancy, unlike you I have always liked monkey puzzle trees and we have 2 in the field below our house. When we had cows, they ignored the plants, probably because of the sharp branch tips.
Now the cows have moved on, Mr Ara decided to put some of our sheep in that field. To our surprise, the younger ones (last year's lambs) ate the leaves off the lower branches so we now have to protect them.  Even the deer and rabbits don't eat monley puzzles.
 
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why must all the plants I never liked the looks of, turn out to be edible???



Basic survival camo. Like pigs wallowing in their own poo. (Haha!)
 
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Fuschias!
Here in the Uk fuschias are treated as perennials. They originated in China and can tolerate temperatures down to -15 C (5 F) and some down to -20 C (-4 F). If you are worried, or it is colder in your area you can cut them to ground level and cover thickly with cold ashes until the Spring and warmer weather. The wet makes the top of the ashes form a protective crust and a nice cosy cover.
The taste of fuschias berries can vary slightly with variety. Also, it is nit really worth it unless you choose a variety with larger berries. The largest one I have found has white outer petals. And purple inner ones. The fruit tastes okay - but I wouldn’t go as far as ‘like grapes’! Maybe good in jams etc, but not sure as I don’t eat sugar.

Lisa
 
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Begonias of the Victorian bedding type are something that has never appealed and I've never grown...until now, since I found out that they're edible. Flowers and leaves are both pleasantly sour. Bah, mumble, mumble! 😉
 
Lisa Sture
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Lisa Sture wrote:Fuschias!
Here in the Uk fuschias are treated as perennials. They originated in China and can tolerate temperatures down to -15 C (5 F) and some down to -20 C (-4 F). If you are worried, or it is colder in your area you can cut them to ground level and cover thickly with cold ashes until the Spring and warmer weather. The wet makes the top of the ashes form a protective crust and a nice cosy cover.
The taste of fuschias berries can vary slightly with variety. Also, it is nit really worth it unless you choose a variety with larger berries. The largest one I have found has white outer petals. And purple inner ones. The fruit tastes okay - but I wouldn’t go as far as ‘like grapes’! Maybe good in jams etc, but not sure as I don’t eat sugar.

Lisa



I would also say that they are easy to propagate, so if you experiment leaving out to see if they overwinter - take a few cuttings from the new growth in the autumn - then there’s no risk …
 
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Marisa Lee wrote:This is the year I'll ... And maybe I'll make capers from ox-eye daisy buds. Once I learn how to use a 'problem' plant, it bothers me less.



This thread and the one about the oxeye daisy has made me rethink both hostas and Daisies. I love the daisies, but they were taking over. Now I can't wait for the buds!! I posted a link in another thread, but here's a caper recipe for anyone who's interested!

eatweeds.co.uk oxeye daisy page
 
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Leila Blair wrote:I recently saw some ornamental kale and purple ornamental cabbage at the nursery. Decided to taste a leaf of each, tasted good, so bought & planted some. Hoping they will become perrenial ornamental edibles.


😂 You reminded me of something from my childhood... My grandparents would take us out to eat at an old fashioned diner several times a year. We NEVER got to eat out so this was very exciting. Anyway, the plates would always come with a garnish of parsley or kale. My parents and grandparents taught us, "No! Don't eat that! It's just for decoration!" So I grew up thinking you can't eat kale or parsley. It wasn't until I became an adult and started expanding my palate that I learned you really could eat them and they were delicious!

Another funny ... That diner taught me to hate pickled beets. They would put these yummy slices of red spiced apples on top of the kale leaf and I loved those things. But every once in a while, they would put slices of red pickled beets instead. As a kid, there is nothing like biting into something expecting a sweet cinnamony fruit and getting a burst of vinegary dirt flavor instead.
 
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We used to have a fuchsia growing in a pot beside our front door and I’d often pick a berry off to munch when passing. Our dog noticed me doing this and decided to help himself. My husband was very puzzled as to why our dog’s paws were stained purple

98293EFB-74B2-4A2C-81F5-1558CA0FC729.jpeg
Purple paw
Purple paw
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