Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eleanor Perenyi on lovage


Franz Kohler c.1887


Instead of a poignant comment on the changing seasons and cycle of life, here, in the last of my series of excerpts from Eleanor Perenyi's book, Green Thoughts, is a little something about lovage:

People who have lovage are wonderfully generous about giving hunks of it away, and once you have acquired it, you see why. Full grown, it is five feet tall, self-sows liberally if the birds don't get the seeds first, doesn't mind shade, is unkillable. Nobody needs as much lovage as, inevitably in a year or two, he has. It is true that it smells and tastes like celery, but it can't be eaten like celery--the flavor is too strong and the stalks are tough. A few leaves added to a soup or stew are sufficient to impart a celery flavor, and I prefer it to celery in a court bouillon. A friend of mine devours the leaves raw on sliced tomatoes in a sandwich. I keep it because I have it (it was, of course, a present), but given the amount I use in relation to the colossal size, I can't call it an essential herb.

We can call her an essential writer though. Many thanks, and bon voyage, Baroness Perenyi.


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13 comments:

Michelle said...

Hmm, I wonder if the deer like lovage.

Sylvia (England) said...

Thank you for an interesting series of posts on Eleanor Perenyi, I have enjoyed them.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Daffodil Planter said...

MIchelle, Lovage is worth a try. Deer tend to avoid strong flavors. No guarantee, as they will nibble all sorts of things when really hungry. I like the sound of five feet tall, myself!

Sylvia England, Thank you for reading along!

Janet said...

Lovage is a plant you don't see often in my area-- that I am aware of! Perhaps it is a good thing given its habit of reseeding everywhere.

Daffodil Planter said...

Janet, I haven't heard of anyone growing it here--but a possibly deer-resistant plant is always interesting.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, lovage will attract beneficial predatory wasps.
Sharon

Daffodil Planter said...

Sharon, Thank you for the wasp info! Do you grow lovage in Nevada City?

Frances said...

Yes, Planter, a fond farewell to Ms. Eleanor, we so enjoyed her prose, and yours too of course. Lovage sounds like the perfect natural habitat garden plant, unkillable. I will think of it next time I am making court bullion.
Frances

Daffodil Planter said...

Frances, Yes, a fond farewell.

flowergardengirl said...

I have enjoyed reading your series almost more than her original work. So nice to see how someone feels about someone they admire. I like that angle. I've never grown borage but will consider it. The drawing is something I'd hang in my kitchen.

Daffodil Planter said...

FGG, Thank you for reading along. It's been an interesting experience for me to be re-immersed in her writing. What a voice!

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

What a delightful excerpt - it is so true - once you have lovage in your garden it is there to stay. I do like to try and keep a clump - as I love the smell when you crush the leaves.

Pomona Belvedere said...

I have also enjoyed this series. However, I must say that I have never successfully grown lovage from seed. Nice to know about the beneficial-wasp-attractive factor and the possible deer-resistance. The main use I know of is people candy it (or did) and used it as a digestive aid, sort of like after-dinner mints.