Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Allium schoenoprasum - more than just chives

I was introduced to Allium schoenoprasum 'Forescate' (Giant-flowered chives) in a class I took on perennial plant communities. The class featured plants that grow well together, look good together, and had similar cultural requirements (soil type, sun, water needs, etc.). Growing plants with similar cultural requirements reduces the amount of time, labor, and water needed to keep them looking great.

This Allium was brought up so many times in class, because its mounding form and round flower heads look great with so many different plants (salvias, sedges, baptisia, calamintha nepeta). In addition, it's drought resistant and is attractive to butterflies. It's easy to divide in the spring, it looks great in the border, and it's a good cut flower, fresh or dried. I love it because both the flowers and leaves are edible!

I'm growing it from seed, and hope to have a lot of plants to fill the yard with them this spring. Chives are an often-used herb at our house; everything from deviled eggs with smoked salmon and chives, to yummy salad dressings, to the good 'ole baked potato with sour cream and chives. Here's a good recipe that uses chives and zucchinis in a new way. And if you're like me, you're always looking for new ways to use all that zucchini from the garden!

Zucchini Chive Dip

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and milk until well blended. Mix in the zucchini, chives and salt. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour before serving.

    Recipe/photo credit:

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