Winter Holidays are Coming!

The holidays are coming and this Garden Lady’s thoughts are of the garden and the plants that I want to add to my garden. There are many great gifts online that gardeners may want. But as for this Garden Lady, I cannot wait for plant catalogs to arrive in my mailbox. Instead of sugarplums dancing in my head, I have thoughts and dreams of flowers. So I am eager to see what is new in the seed and plant business that I can buy for my garden.

Now that I have limited space in my garden, I have to be much more selective of the flowers I add. I would love it if readers of TheGardenLady blog would tell me about their favorite flowers. The garden lady has a wooded property so that the sunniest area is the front of the garden on the eastern side of the property- this is where most of my plants are planted. This is the area nearest the street, so that this garden is for everyone who passes by- and people love to walk or drive by just to see what is in bloom. So could my readers suggest their favorite big showy flowers so that drivers and walkers can enjoy them, too? Tiny flowers just get overlooked in this garden. I also would like readers to recommend favorite plants that are low maintenance, low care plants that have flowers for a long blooming season. This garden is in temp zone 6b.

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purple explosion by Tattooed JJ

One of the most unusual flowers, with its “architectural” shape, is the Allium. My favorite Alliums have flowers that look like a ball, but if examined closely the balls are made of miniature florets. The flower continues to give interest even when it goes into seed. When you think the flower seed looks ratty, just tug on the stem of the flower- it gives no resistence when pulled.

TheGardenLady has the purple Gladiator Allium, Allium Bulgaricum and the white Mount Everest Allium. Because I find these plants add so much interest to the spring garden, this year I am ordering the purple Globemaster Allium with flower heads that are 10 to almost 12 inches in diameter.

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Biblical Garden Foods for the Winter Holidays

Allium Cepa by Bambo

It is December and many of TheGardenLady‘s readers are celebrating either Hanukah or Christmas. The  house is decorated in the appropriate way for the holiday you celebrate and food will be a main part of the festivities.

So this year TheGardenLady is suggesting that her readers try to cook with some of the herbs (Bible herbs) or foods that are  mentioned in the Bible.

While friends and family are seated at the dinner table enjoying the special holiday treats, talking about the foods in the Bible might even add to your discussion – after all these celebrations are related to the Bible plus TheGardenLady‘s readers are those who are interested in plants, even ancient ones.  And these dinner discussions might encourage some readers to grow the Biblical favorites in their own gardens.

Some of the Biblical foods mentioned are garlic and onions. Onion, garlic or shallots are all in the allium family of plants, relatives of the Lily. The common onion is the allium cepa (see photo above), the garlic is allium sativum and the shallot is Allium ascalonicum named for the city, Ashkelon in Israel  from which it was supposedly brought to Europe by the Crusaders. (Alliums are now becoming a popular flowering plant for the garden; Allium giganteum is a particular favorite in TheGardenLady’s ornamental garden. Though ornamental alliums are not for eating.)

Lentils – Lens culinaris is another food mentioned in the Bible. Lentils are thought to be the oldest cultivated legume.

Some other foods mentioned in the Bible are honey, olive oil, and cinnamon.

This holiday you might try a Baked Honey Lentil Casserole as part of your menu. This casserole is composed of herbs, spices and vegetables that were eaten during Biblical times.

  • Baked Honey Lentil Casserole for 6 as a side dish.

Cook 1/2lb red lentils as directed on the package. (Do not add salt when cooking lentils.)

Make a mixture of 1 tsp. dry mustard (optional), 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 small onion in small dice, 1  clove garlic minced, now add salt- 1 tsp or to taste.

All the above items are mentioned in the Bible. (You can add ground black pepper to taste.) Mix this mixture into the cooked lentils and taste to see if you want to add more of any herbs or spices.

Put 2 Tbsp Olive oil on bottom of casserole- olives and olive oil were used in the time of the Bible.

Then pour the cooked lentil mixture into the casserole and pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of honey on top. It depends on your sweet tooth. (Honey is another food that was used during Biblical times.)

Cover the casserole tightly with the lid or with aluminum foil.  Put casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until tender- start checking after 1/2 hour- it could take up to 1 1/2 hour. When tender, take the lid off and let cook uncovered for another 10 minutes and serve.

Happy Holidays