Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Flowers - Big, Bold and Beautiful Amaranth

For a few years now, I have been growing several different kinds of amaranth in my vegetable/cutting garden. I just love this plant. It starts out small and petite. Evidently, you can eat the leaves in salad or sauteed. Has anyone tried it? As the summer progresses, it grows and grows and grows. It is glorious, in my humble opinion.

There are over sixty varieties of Amaranth and you can purchase several different kinds of seeds from Seeds of Change. Me, I bought my plants from the fine folks at Walker Farm in Dummerston, VT. I'm not much for starting seeds. This year I purchased a beautiful red variety (sorry, don't know the name) and a lovely light orangish/tan/gold variety that is almost multi-colored and looking lovely with the pinky/purple cosmos blooming behind. The way the gold colored plants grow, they remind me of tonally dyed yarn.

I'm just crazy about the texture of this plant. Like celosia, it has almost a wooly, mohair-ish, chenillish, pom pom quality to it. This is a different variety, also a maroonish color, which has a Dr. Seuss-like look to it.

Some seeds from last year actually volunteered themselves and I let them grow. By the end of the year, they were almost as tall as me although the ones in this photo had fallen over and were happily re-growing amongst another favorite flower Verbena Bonarionsis. (The Verbena will self-seed like the amaranth if you let it.)

By the end of September, the plants were wild.

They were heavy with seed (which is a grain you can eat) and falling every which way. Just the way I like a garden - full and crazy with bloom.

I picked many, many armfuls of these plants. They look great in big vases and really look lovely with sunflowers.

Now, they are sadly gone and I only have a few lingering in these blue vases on the porch. These vases are actually bases for old oil lamps I found at a flea market a long time ago.

Remember the October Giveaway #3 ends Friday the 22nd at noon. October Giveaway #2 at goes on until Oct. 31st so check it out and enter if you haven't already.


Sojourner Design said...

I'm just wondering whether the amaranth attracts birds. Amaranth is sold for parakeets etc and I believe they love to eat it.
I think what I love most about having sunflowers just outside my house is all the bird activity they bring.


Virginia said...

I swear, you could write amaranth 15 million times and I would forget what it is each time.

A garden down the street has some, and my daughter keeps asking me what it is...


Kate G said...

We sauté the leaves, just as we do spinach. The trick is to trim out the stems and center vein. Very mild green, but a good side to a spicy lamb sausage.

Julie said...

Beautiful! I love the arrangement with the sunflowers.

Lindsay said...

I love to use amaranth to dye yarn. ;-)

Jane/WTKnits said...

Wow! Beautiful pictures. Can you dry amaranth or does it just go to dust?