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This Mediterranean combination is summer-meets-fall

Recipe: Fig-walnut salad has unexpected ingredient -- rose petals

Rose petals, hiding upper left, add a colorful touch to this salad. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Crunchy, salty, chewy, sweet; this salad has a tasty mix of flavorful opposites plus one surprise.

Figs and walnuts, which are now coming into season, contrast with baby arugula, chard, kale and other cool-weather greens. Crumbled blue cheese gives the salad some extra tang.

This combination was inspired by a simply classic fig-arugula-feta salad served at Mulvaney’s B&L. The fresh walnuts provide some extra crunch.

For extra color, I added some fresh rose petals. (Yes, roses are edible, but only if you don’t spray or use systemic pesticides. Rinse petals well but gently to avoid bruising.)

Figs and walnuts are in season now.

Many different baby greens work well in this salad. When thinning chard or kale (leafy greens generally cooked before serving), save those little discards for fresh salads. They add texture as well as flavor to fall salads.

Fig and walnut salad

Serves 2


4 fresh figs

¼ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled

2 cups fresh mixed baby greens (arugula, chard, kale, etc.)

¼ cup rose petals (optional)


2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Lovely salad for late summer or early fall.

Wash figs. (Peeling is optional.) Slice thinly.

In a large bowl, combine greens, rose petals, figs, chopped walnuts and blue cheese.

In a jar, combine all ingredients for vinaigrette. Cover and shake well.

Drizzle dressing over salad ingredients. Toss lightly. Serve immediately.


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Garden Checklist for week of June 23

Get to work in the mornings while it’s still cool.

* Irrigate early in the day; your plants will appreciate it.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the early hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes. 

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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