Archive for Free Plants

Herb Garden Pop up session #1

Charlett and I are getting together tomorrow (Tuesday, May 8th) between 9:30-10:30 at the “Merry-go-Roundabout” herb garden at 6th & Trafalgar.

Come by if you can! Pick the mustard greens – lots!

Here are some recipes for mustard greens, but you can just throw some into a salad or any stir-fry.

pretty much any recipe that calls for kale or spinach could use mustard greens.

If you try to make gomae from it, I’d love to hear how that works. Some of the blogs I googled recommended dark sesame oil.

Learn what’s in the garden–and free for the picking any time. Smell and taste the difference between various mints (lemon balm, chocolate mint and pineapple mint).

See the lavender and sage begin to bloom – and possibly already attracting bees.

Bring a pot if you’d like to dig up a bit of something or other. A lot of things regularly spread.

There are bulbs of grape hyacinth and snowdrops ready to be transplanted.



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Chocolate Mint

The chocolate mint in the metal container is doing so marvellously well, I’d really like it if you–yes, you!–would come by and cut/pinch some for your tea or a garnish on ice cream or such.

It will spread more if you do this. And it looks so entirely happy I plan to devote the entire container to just chocolate mint over time as it spreads. (maybe with a few spring bulbs mixed in for early spring colour.)

Here’s a link for some ideas.

Would you like your own plant of chocolate mint? No problem. All you do is: (from link above)

Regrow from cuttings
With mint, you definitely get your money’s worth. Chocolate mint will grow from cuttings from your original plant. Just snip off a stem and set the cutting in a pot of soil to regrow. (These regrown chocolate mint plans make sweet gifts.)


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Nodding Onions – enough to share. They’re actually sleeping not just nodding.

The nodding onions need thinning out again. They’re just green now, but will produce their lovely pink flowers in late May or so. Then they “nod off” – becoming entirely horizontal now.

I have enough to share! just ask or come by and dig a few up!

Here’s what I found about advice on eating them. Clip some leaves for your potato salad as you stroll by. Notice the warning that they’re stronger than your usual onions.

Edible Uses: from
Nodding onion is edible, and its bulbs were widely eaten by native peoples and European settlers, either raw, cooked or dried for winter. Being strongly flavored, it is mainly used as a flavoring. Cooking removes the strong smell and flavor, converting the sugar inulin to the more digestible fructose, and the bulbs become very sweet. The leaves are edible, raw or cooked. They have a delicious, strong-onion flavor, and are said to be very nice in salads. The flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. They have a delicious strong onion flavor, somewhat stronger than the leaves especially if the seeds are starting to set. They make a very decorative and tasty addition to the salad bowl.

and a tip for onion pesto from:

Nodding onion is an onion in its flavor and uses. Think of it as a wild chive with the healthy Sulphur compounds found in all edible onions. This means that they can be used any way a chive can be used. They are usually harvested in May and June, when the unique “nodding” flowers can be seen; bulbs can be harvested as well. They are excellent in scrambled egg dishes or as a garnish in soups.

An interesting recipe is wild onion pesto with basil: ½ cup wild onion flowers and bulbs, 2 cups fresh basil, ¼ pine nuts or walnuts. 11/2 cups olive oil ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional). Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until a creamy bright green sauce appears. Serve over pasta warm or cold.

And some general information about the plant from: 

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Free strawberry plants – again. There are some strawberry plants at 5th and Tralfagar – please take.

Ah, yes, spring is around the corner and that means that I’m yet again digging up strawberry plants to give away. What kind? you ask. Sorry dunno. generic strawberries. I’ll say this: the crows love them.

They’re to be planted outdoors (at least on a balcony) not an indoor plant (someone asked me that.)

They need watering. If we have the kind of drought summer we had, you’ll need to look after them.

And they multiply through runners. Little baby strawberry plants will emerge from an umbilical cord and at some point you’ll have enough strawberry plants to give away too.

When the ones at 5th and Trafalgar are gone, I’ll dig some more up, so do take as many as you like and come back for more.

Take a Plant; Leave a Plant – taking an idea from Little Free Libraries, I’ll be putting up a sign saying: Take a plant; leave a plant.  You can just take and not leave. And you can just leave and not take. All is optional.

Growing season is here, let’s plant something.

Here’s a Brian Minter post about strawberries.

Here’s what Brian says: March is a great time to begin planting, so find a spot in your garden and enjoy  some wonderful flavour this year and for years to come.


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Two tomato plants have taken up residence in my traffic circle garden

Two tomato plants have taken up residence in my traffic circle garden at Trafalgar and 6th. I did a cleanup on the weekend, pulling out weeds and some plants that were taking up more than their allotted space. The new clean look seems to have attracted some visitors. On the way to Kits House last night, I noticed there are two pots with tomato plants that have been placed in the garden.

I plan to leave a note on the plants to let the gardener know that as this is a “free for all” garden, they are welcome to leave the plants there if the intention is that the tomatoes will be shared by the neighbourhood. If they’re just trying to give their plants a good start in a very sunny location and move them home before harvest time, that’s not cool, however.

One year someone planted a corn plant. Officially the maximum height is 24″ so after leaving a warning note on the corn for two weeks, I dug it up and composted it.

I hope the tomato gardener waters some of the herbs as well as their plants.

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Carex Ice Dance – free to you!

We have this great carex ice dance perennial grass. Actually I just learned it’s technically a sedge, not a grass.

It’s so wonderful and hardy it spreads and we have some to share. Great for edging, for replacing lawn. Heck! it’s good for replacing weeds – which we might do along the laneway.

We have dug up 4 fairly large clumps and they’re yours for the taking.  Pick up at “trasixth” – my traffic circle garden at 6th & Trafalgar – or send me a note to and we can arrange to meet up so you can dig some up yourself.

I’ve planted some small ones outside of the Wired Monk at 4th & Trafalgar. The grass there is at best iffy and I hope to extend the plot when I have time and energy. There will always be enough carex ice dance to share.

It’s recommended on the City of Vancouver website for traffic circles and corner bulges, so you know it’s hardy.

More about ornamental grasses and sedges here:

They do say, however, that you’ll love it or hate it!

I find people love it when they’re trying to get a garden going and then hate it when they have time and money to have a more varied display – but then you can just dig it up and give away to someone who’s getting rid of their lawn (always a good thing, in my humble opinion.)

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