I admit, I’m an impatient person though I prefer to view myself as a fan of efficiency. I sigh when a driver in front of me insists on waiting for the seas to part before attempting to cross a lane and recently, when making a shopping return, I insisted on re-hanging the items for customer service in order to shave off three minutes.
You’d think that this impatience would naturally make me and other type-A people far from gardening candidates, but there are a number of plants that are perfect for us that either grow quickly, offer great returns, or are simply worth the wait. Sunflowers, basil, and the butterfly bush are my top three.
From 0-5 Feet in Under 70 days
Sunflowers require very little care other than occasional watering, they can survive the heat and I like the fact that they can go from 0-5 feet in under 70 days. And talk about sustainable: you can enjoy their bright colors, surround yourself with multiple pots to create a fortress and when their season has come to an end, sunflowers can be dried and displayed, their seeds roasted and eaten or harvested for next season.
Quick growing, tasty, and aromatic, basil is actually a member of the mint family. Basil grows well indoors and out, which makes it perfect to keep near the kitchen. According to herbgardening.com, leaf production slows or stops on any stem that flowers, so you should pinch off flower buds to keep the plant in production or leave some to bloom for decoration or seeds. For a fantastic pesto recipe, try my very favorite from the Mossewood Cookbook.
Susan’s Pesto (Ironically not this Susan. Just coincidence)
Best served immediately, but it will keep refrigerated for 3 or 4 days. Yields: one cup. Total cook time: 10 minutes
1 cup well-packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts *
½ teaspoon salt
* To toast pine nuts, spread in a single layer on an unoiled baking sheet and bake in a conventional or toaster oven at 350° for about 3 to 5 minutes, until just slightly deepened in color.
Rinse and drain the basil leaves. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, tomatoes, garlic, pine nuts, and salt and puree until smooth. You may need to stop several times to scrape the sides of the blender or processor bowl with a rubber spatula.
PER 1 OZ SERVING: 13 CALORIES, .7 G PROTEIN, .7 G FAT, 1.6 G CARBOHYDRATES, .1 G SATURATED FATTY ACIDS, .3 G POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS, .2 G MONOUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS, 0 MG CHOLESTEROL, 135 MG SODIUM, 3 G TOTAL DIETARY FIBER.
Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, Copyright ©1996, Moosewood, Inc. Clarkson N. Potter, publisher, New York.
In the northeast, butterflies begin to emerge with the warmth of spring. There are a number of flowers that will attract them that vary in size, color and scent. According to BirdsandBlooms.com, plants with different heights will draw a diverse crowd of butterflies as they offer nectar flowers at different levels. This can be accomplished by mixing plants with different growing habits, such as trailing, bushy and upright. BirdsandBlooms.com suggest a butterfly bush in a container with coral bells and garden verbena or sweet peas spilling over the edge.
Top Butterfly Picks for Containers:
- Floss flower
- Globe amaranth
- Moss rose
- Sweet alyssum
- Sweet william
- Butterfly bush
- Butterfly weed
- Purple coneflower
- Sea pink
Please send us your favorite container garden combinations!