I remember going out into the forest and picking wild mushrooms with my grandmother. I was naive. I didn’t know. If I knew then what I know now about the dangers of picking picking wild mushrooms, I would not have done it. Nor would I have eaten the mushroom gravy she put on the potatoes that night. But at a young age my focus really wasn’t on the mushrooms. I was just looking for leprechauns.
When I was very little, I used to sneak up on a mushroom really close to the ground so that I could get a glimpse of a leprechaun. I can tell you today most certainly I have seen a leprechaun smoking a pipe under a mushroom. I think.
In nature there are edible flowers and not so edible flowers. Many of these flowers have health benefits beyond what we even know. One of the coolest plants we grow at High-Hand are our hibiscus plants. Most ornate garden variety hibiscus are not edible, but we found one that is and we dropped it into a glass of Prosecco. I realize it may not be normal to stuff a flower into a glass of champagne, but neither is putting a worm in a bottle of Tequila. I’ve never eaten that worm, but then I’ve never gotten to the bottom of the Tequila either.
This hibiscus is commonly known as Rosetta flower. They grow on the fringes of the rain forest and can be found in the tropical north of Australia. Originally, it was thought they came from Sri Lanka, but now they’re found growing on every continent. While the variety of hibiscus is the same, Hibiscus sabdariffa varies in flavor from continent to continent. Good luck with pronouncing the variety. I always have a hard time when I come across a word that has two sets of consonants in it.
This hibiscus has been linked to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It is high in anti-oxidants and when we paired it with Prosecco at the cafe, we found it to be quite intoxicating.
Not in the champagne glass are the enormous flowers of Hibiscus moscheutos. While not edible it is reported to have medicinal properties. Native to the swamps of southeastern United States, it is known to help with dysentery, lung ailments and urinary ailments. Kind of funny how Mother Nature puts the treatment for dysentery right in the middle of a swamp.
Unlike its tropical cousin, this hibiscus goes completely dormant. Cold hardy and extremely reliable, they emerge faithfully year after year and bloom for approximately three months.
The smallest hibiscus flowers pictured are Hibiscus syriacus. This plant was collected from gardens in Syria and is commonly called Rose of Sharon. It is a very heavy bloomer. It grows as a shrub or a tree and it also goes dormant.
Both of these hibiscus varieties are full sun and very easy to care for and very reliable year after year.
Now a commercial.
Train Day at Maple Rock Gardens, September 15th. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, at the nursery or at Maple Rock on the day of the event. All aboard for Train Day.
You now know more about hibiscus plants than the average person. You’ve learned hibiscus lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. They help your lungs, treat dysentery and urinary ailments. One more thing that we’ve learned. When you get to the bottom of your glass of Prosecco, help Jesus, our hydroceramic technician. Please eat the flower.
Come to High Hand Nursery and enjoy a hibiscus sparkler and take home a hibiscus.
See you at High-Hand Nursery.