Edible Flowers to Include in Your Landscape

daisy flower

edible flowersEdible landscaping is a great way to use your garden for a purpose that includes both beauty and function. Edible plants can be mixed with non-edible plants and flowers to create a refreshing oasis. They bring great return in the form of a bountiful harvest of things that can be enjoyed - not only by sight and smell, but also by taste. But did you know there are also edible flowers that are not only beautiful but also tasty? Here are some edible flowers you may want to use in your landscaping, and ideas on how you can use them after they have grown.

Lilac

Lilacs have beautiful, small, purple flowers that grows in clusters. Lilacs can be used to flavor sorbet, and can be candied as a tasty treat. There have been studies done that indicate that lilac flowers may have the medicinal effect of lowering fevers.

Daisy

Daisies are well-known for their white petals and yellow inner areas. High in Vitamin C, this is a flower whose leaves are both edible and beneficial for health. Daisies are also known to help lessen coughs and help with indigestion.

Chamomile

Chamomile is very similar in appearance to the daisy, with white outer leaves and yellow on the inner area. It is popular, and used as a remedy with soothing properties, both topically and internally. Chamomile is a useful, edible flower to have on hand for its many uses.

Calendula

A bold, bright flower, calendula is known for its healing abilities when used in many herbal remedies. Calendula’s beautiful mix of orange and yellow makes it great for decorating items such as cakes and cupcakes. Due to its bitter flavor, it is best admired as a topper rather than consuming great quantities of it.

Pansy

Pansies come in a vast array of amazing, intense colors. Some have a bright yet mild flavor, and others have the somewhat intense taste of wintergreen. All parts can be eaten, and it is a beautiful addition to add fresh pansies to your finest decorating adventures. This may include topping edible creations such as muffins, cupcakes, and even homemade sorbet. You can even drop one mini pansy each into an empty ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze for some creative and dainty ice cubes.

Chives

With a delicate purple flower, chives are a beautiful addition to anything savory that needs a boost of color. The flowers of chives can be tossed into a variety of soups, or mixed into cream cheese for a beautiful and tasty spread. Try them once, and you’ll wonder why you never used them before.

Edibles are a great addition to any landscape. There are many kinds to choose from, and using a wide variety will ensure that you have a number of colors and shapes in your garden. There are many things you can do with your edible flowers, and growing them is only the beginning.

Try to grow your flowers organically and without pesticides. Keep them as pure as possible since you will eventually be consuming them. Choose a few edible flowers to grow today, and you will forever want to experience the joy that flowers bring to the table when you use them beyond the limits of a vase.

Bike Your Way to Fitness with Your Children

fitness through bicycling You'll always remember the day your child first learned to ride a bike. Those first tentative peddles, the wobbly progress forward and the beaming smile once she's mastered this new skill. As your children get older, it's time to take to the roads. Consider family biking as a way to increase the fitness of your children and yourself.

Safety First

Helmets are an important way to protect the head in the event of accidents. Keep in mind that kids outgrow helmets - you'll want to check for proper fit and coverage. Consider reflective material either on your children and/or on their bikes, and perhaps an orange flag in back and a bell or horn for signaling.

Gear Up

As you check your bike's safety and make sure it's in working order, consider involving your kids. They can learn about gears, checking tire pressure and adjusting seats and handle bars, and will feel empowered to make these changes on their own should the need arise.

Ready to Go

Consider starting out with bike rides in the neighborhood so you can get a feel for everyone's fitness level and how everyone can handle hills, skids and obstacles such as uneven pavement or gravel. Once you've tooled around the neighborhood, maybe try biking around town. Have a book to return to the library? Your family bike trip now has a destination. Need some veggies? Why not stop at that local farm stand? You can be green and get exercise at the same time.

Once you've been around the neighborhood, consider a road trip. There are groups and organizations that set up multi-city rides that travel from one small town to another within your area and stop at the end for a rejuvenating picnic. Perhaps you'll think about entering your family in a bike race.

Taking It on the Road

Once you've been all around your area, you might even consider a biking vacation. There are lots of options out there for strapping the bikes to the back of your vehicle. See which bike racks work for you, strap them on and set out for a road trip with the family. Although there are plenty of options, here are some suggestions for some specific locations that work well with a family on bikes:

* Mackinac Island, Michigan - Tourists arrive by ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and rent bikes or take horse-drawn carriages to explore the nearly automobile-free island lined with beaches, fudge shops and fresh air.

* Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts - Although cars are permitted on the island, many visitors choose to ride their bikes along the beachy coast, especially the quaint fishing village of Menemsha where many scenes from Jaws were filmed. Ferries depart hourly from Woods Hole and Hyannis, Massachusetts and also from New York.

* Stanley Park, Vancouver - Enjoy the scent of pine trees and ocean as you bike around the 9 km paths at this British Columbian park in Canada.

* Napa Valley, California - Lush countryside, hilly roads, and wine and cheese. While your kids won't enjoy the wine, the area is scenic and there are plenty of alternate activities - even a hot air balloon and bike tour.

As families get stretched in more and more different directions, it's important to find common ground. We all need exercise, so why not work together toward a common goal - fitness and family activities together. Biking your way to fitness with your children is a way to get fit and build lasting memories together.