Friday, May 24, 2013

Flowers, Chives, and a Rhubarb Martini

Yesterday I visited a friend and she asked if I wanted any lily of the valley as it was taking over. I laughed and said yes it is an invasive plant. But also yes I wanted some. I've loved lily of the valley since I was a small child. The smell is heavenly and the little bells are so cute. Caroline, one of my townhouse mates, said she wanted something under the bamboo that lines our very very shaded walkway. Not much can grow there. When I say shaded I really mean it. One side has a 6' solid fence. The other side has the house. Overhead are the pine trees blocking out any sun that might think of getting in. Things don't grow well there.

Caroline, one of my townhouse mates, really wanted something to fill in the ground under the bamboo. She has little patience for things growing. She always wants it filled now. And she doesn't like empty space. The lily of the valley will make her happy I'm sure. It can spread several feet in a year if it is happy. In two years I'm sure it will totally cover the place and it and the bamboo can fight it out. The bamboo we have really isn't that much of a spreader, but I do expect it to spread a little even in the poor conditions it lives in. It is bamboo after all. I think it can compete just fine. And the lily of the valley will be contained since it is surrounded by brick everywhere except one side which has a metal liner between it and the grass.

While I was out I also went to buy some flowers to place around the yard. I got 6 six packs. I decided this year to place a few annuals around the yard to see how it looks. I planted all of those plus the lily of the valley when I got back.

I checked on the weather report. I really should quit doing this as I never like the answer. It was going to be constantly wet for three days. My chive flowers were at their peak. Some hadn't opened, but the earliest bloomers really needed picking. I figured they were as dry as they would ever get as the air really felt like rain. So I started picking. Just as I was done a few drops fell.

Making chive blossom vinegar

Have you ever really smelled a chive blossom? You would think it would be all onion, but it isn't. To me they smell a little like lilacs. Last time I used a white wine vinegar to make chive blossom vinegar. I didn't like it all that much. It was too much of a clash between the two. So this year I smelled the chive blossoms and smelled all the vinegars I had. I felt all the fruity vinegars were just too sharp and overpowering for the chive blossoms. But the rice wine vinegar seemed like a perfect match. So I used that this year. I hope the floral scent come through. If not it will still be a pretty pink vinegar as the color of the flower bleeds out into the liquid.

A drink is a very nice way to end the day. So I read my book while having a Rhubarb Vodka Smash. Mine was slightly modified as I don't have a cocktail shaker or a martini glass.


  1. I think I'll try your idea of Chive flower vinegar using rice wine vinegar. I imagine that would be good in a dressing for use with oriental baby leaf salads - mustards, pak choi, mizuna, etc.

  2. oooh, daphne, that cocktail looks great. and me with a glut of vodka. silly me, i was going to waste rhubarb in a berry crumble.

  3. I'm going to have a lot of rhubarb to eat soon. I'm going to try this smash. Last year I made rhubarb tea, but it had a weird thickness to it. I think the raw rhubarb in the drink will be perfect. Thanks!
    p.s. I's still getting the access denied pop-up

  4. We have Lilly of the valley in our front flower bed. This year there shall be no room for

  5. I too think I will make a batch of chive vinegar using rice vinegar, as I still have plenty of blossoms. I do love the flavor of rice vinegar for a number of things, but I never thought of using it for an infusion. Thanks for the idea!

    It will be interesting to see how the bamboo and the lily of the valley get along together. We got some Lily of the Valley starts from a friend several years ago, and put them around our big mulberry tree. Since they are competing with the tree roots, they have not (yet) spread much and become invasive. I do love the smell of the little flowers.

  6. What do you use the chive vinegar for?

    1. Typically I use flavored vinegar for salad dressings.

  7. What a sweet smelling, delightfully aromatic day! And what better way to handle invasives than to pit one (bamboo) against another (Lilly)! I've never seen Lilly of the Valley. It sounds nice.

  8. I love the smell of Lily of the Valley. We had them at our house in Michigan. Wouldn't dare plant them at this house because Coco would eat them! I have made chive blossom vinegar before and think it is so pretty. Need to pick up white rice vinegar. Used that the last time. Have also used just plain white vinegar. I don't have many blossoms this year as dug some out to bring in the house. They didn't do well and planted them outside. Hubby was weeding and thought they were a weed! Nancy

  9. I have to grow some onion chives, the blossoms are so pretty for infused vinegar.

  10. I love the smell of chive blossoms and obviously the bees think they are divine too as they always draw a large crowd of them. They look so pretty in the jar!

  11. Wow! This is very interesting, I've never done such thing in the kitchen, but this is a very good idea. Thanks for sharing Daphne!