Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I don't love lovage


A shading oasis in the sun

It may seem entirely strange to nongardeners that we gardeners would bother growing things we don't like to eat. You don't buy things you won't eat at the supermarket, that logic goes. But gardeners are not necessarily slaves to logic.

There are very few things from the garden I will not eat. Horseradish is one; I am also not overly fond of turnips. Others of my ken like these things, so I spare precious soil space to their cultivation. There are other things I have gladly given up space to, if only because of a plant's botanical beauty. Amaranth fell into this latter category last year. There are other things I grow that I could eat, but do not. These things usually serve some other noble purpose, like borage (a bee magnet) and cardoon (wild taste and heartbreaking statuesque beauty).

But lovage. I hear some kind of whiny voice in my ear that tells me, El, if this stuff was so good, EVERYONE would be growing it and eating it. YES it tastes like celery. Its stalks purportedly make lovely stirrers for Bloody Marys (I'll take mine with gin thanks), and it is a lovely thing to behold, breaking the soil so early like the most anticipated fall-planted bulb. But its taste? I can discern the tiniest snip in a monster bowl of salad, the headiest cup of minestrone. And I don't love lovage.

It does have an upside. It gets so tall so early that I can safely grow poky potted seedlings in its shade.

7 comments:

Ashleigh said...

I just wrote about it on my blog - I pulled a whole lot up because it was taking over the entire garden! It is pretty though, isn't it?

meresy_g said...

I've never grown nor tasted it. I'm thinking I wouldn't like it either. This is my first year for borage though! Something else which I probably won't eat, but will look at.

The County Clerk said...

I have never HEARD of Lovage.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

I have grown horseradish for my step dad---tasty horrible. The plants not awful however.
Monica

El said...

Ash, that is so funny. My problem is of course I am to blame as I grew this stuff from seed. (I figured celery is so much more fussy so this would do, right?)

M, you will love borage. I misspoke when I said I don't eat it; we eat the flowers all the time in salads. Beautiful shade of blue. It also self-sows, but its leaves are really distinctive that it is easy to rip out if you have too much.

Hank. Get out of the ornamentals, dude, and grow something you can eat! (Just think: this will just add to your charm.)

Monica, I agree, horseradish is another tall plant I hide my seedlings (or nalgene water bottles) in during early spring. So I guess it also has some utility!!

Laurie said...

Ha! I could have easily written this post. I don't eat my lovage any more either. I can't bring myself to dig it up though. And I grow cardoons, even though after trying them, I'd rather look at them than eat them.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I... love the lovage, baby! (Sorry for the singing. My ex husband was a Mike Patton fan.)

I adore lovage because I can't grow celery. Did you know you can move it into a shadier spot if it really is taking too much of your prime sunny real estate? Mine gets maybe--maybe--2 hours of direct sun a day and does just fine. I like its spiky uprightness and fresh green in the shade garden... it's between 'Othello' ligularia and geranium phaeum 'Samobor' right now.