Friends in high places.

Today I found this lovely little insect (you won’t hear me say “lovely” and “insect” together very often, I assure you – so please indulge my excitement) lounging on the fuzzy leaf of one of my borage plants. A funny little ladybug, since I noticed it had no black spots on it, basking in the setting sun. Anyway, I’d been hopin’ and a-prayin’ that we would attract beneficials, i.e. the good buggies that will prey on the bad buggies, into our humble garden by jazzing up the array of veggie plants with a punch of color from flowers. To aid in this mission, we’ve also enlisted the services of cosmos, sweet alyssum, tansy, marigold (all who’ve yet to make their appearance), zinnia (blooming in all its pink glory) and nasturtium (running wild among the zucchini and cucumber plants).

That’s not to say that vegetable plants don’t have noteworthy flowers. The zucchini flower, which I am dying to try battered and fried (what’s not good battered and fried? I’d even eat that ladybug – ha), is quite remarkable; a big twisty yellow-orange bloom that, when fully open, resembles and is practically the size of a grammophone speaker. Too bad this really only occurs in the early morning, and my sleepy self has to witness this miracle by peering through the smudgy window.

The bell pepper blossom, on the other hand, is so small and innocent. Yet the pepper that eventually grows out of that blossom is strikingly robust, even at pebble-size.

For those who are unfamiliar with borage (I had never heard of it until I read they are great companion plants for strawberries), the flowers are edible and supposedly taste of cucumber. Verrry interrresting. I will have to gnaw on that soon enough, but I admit I still am a little weirded out by eating flowers that look like they’d be better off in a wedding centerpiece. The blue and pink blossoms are so vivid, especially when the sun hits it just so.

The nasturtium flower is edible as well, and I was told they taste like capers. Check out the day-glo orange on that one!

All this gorgeous color everywhere, the ladies won’t be able to resist! Hopefully the aphids will stay away…



  1. Jiji Said:

    please don’t eat the lady bug….

  2. j Said:

    Hey, it’s all protein. And if it was fried, you’d never even notice.

  3. Laura Said:

    Joe’s grandmother makes an amazing fried zucchini flower that she stuffs with cheese — excellent for breakfast. I’m too lazy to do all that work, so I recently used them in my lentils — they melt and are very sweet. I’m sure you can use them in any soup or risotto dish, too.
    ps — did you know that if you saute lentils you don’t really have to soak them?? it’s a time saver when you are stumped for dinner.

  4. solmster Said:

    Laura – ooooh, using the flowers in risotto sounds like a great idea; although it would be such a shame to melt away the pretty blossom! And because I, too, am lazy, I skip soaking any dry beans at all – cooking it totally dry only adds like 15 minutes to the total cooking time!

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