Southwestern Deserts

May, 2004
Regional Report

Recipes

Artichokes Fresh from the Garden
Harvest buds before they start to open. They become tough and fibrous as they age. Steam or boil until tender. Serve with melted butter or your favorite dipping sauce. Remove outer leaves one at a time, dip, and pull through your teeth to eat the tasty, inner flesh at the bottom of the leaf. Don't eat the remainder of the leaf, which is tough and unpalatable. When all the leaves are consumed, scrape away the center to obtain the artichoke heart.

Favorite or New Plant

Mexican Hat
Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) is a wildflower that's a summer workhorse, blooming throughout the heat. Landscapers in my community development sprayed herbicide in an area that had this flower and it germinated shortly thereafter! Flowers have a tall, narrow, brown cone surrounded by floppy, yellow or rusty orange petals. Supposedly, it resembles a sombrero, thus the common name. Stiff foliage has a feathery, airy appearance. Mexican hat is perennial but self-sows prodigiously, so it isn't necessary to keep plants alive through winter.

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