Garden for Bees & Butterflies

Most of us are aware of the importance of bees in our natural world, and are anxious to do our part to help them. The most important thing that bees do is pollinate.  Why not try to give them lots of opportunities to do just that? And who doesn’t love to see butterflies in their garden? So, in lieu of vegetables, that have become increasingly more difficult for me to grow, I am creating a garden for bees & butterflies.

Herb gardens are a haven for bees. I already grow several perennial herbs and I want to provide bees with even more “food”. I have a big patch of mint, oregano, horseradish, lemon balm and chives that I let flower. I also have a  good size raspberry patch. These are all big bee attracting plants.



Bees are drawn to plants with open or flat flowers with lots of pollen and nectar. The scent of a flower can have particular appeal to bees, and bright colors may also attract them. Avoiding herbicides or pesticides is very important, both of which are not good for bees.ChiveBlossoms

To attract even more bees, I added phlox, coneflowers (echinacea), and bee balm (monarda) where I use to grow tomatoes and squash.


Did you know that there are over 200 species of butterflies in Michigan? They are attracted to red, pink, and purple flowers that grow in the sun. From over 100 different kinds of plants in the Midwest that attract butterflies, nearly 50 of them are also excellent for attracting bees. It’s nature’s win-win scenario!


Every Spring I plan to add more perennial plants that will attract bees and butterflies. You can create a bee and butterfly garden too. Try to plant at least 3 different types of flowers to have blooms through early spring and late summer. Join me and together let’s make our gardens, and our world a healthier place for bees.

Food of the Greek Isles

I assisted Chef Nicholas Cornfield last night at a Sur la Table cooking class called “Greek Foods of the Greek Isles“.* The menu included recipes for:

  • Phyllo Cups with Tomatoes, Feta and Oregano
  • Flaming Prawns with Ouzo
  • Tomato Roasted Summer Vegetables with Dill
  • and Caramelized Figs in Port and Orange Sauce Phyllo Cups

A photo of a couple of the Phyllo Cups above. The recipe was easy to assemble and serve. These would make great hors devours  for a cocktail party.

Summer roasted veggies

The Roasted Summer Vegetables with Dill includes:

      • Eggplant
      • Onions
      • Garlic
      • Tomatoes
      • Potatoes
      • Zucchini
      • Peppers
      • Parsley

This vegetable dish is very similar to my Baked Veggies – Tourlou Tava. That post includes a how-to video. Now I would saute the onions and garlic, roast the peppers before hand and also add fresh herbs as well.

Prawns with OuzoAbove, the Flaming Prawns with Ouzo plated on top of the Roasted Summer Vegetables.

Caramelized Figs

Finally for dessert, the Caramelized Figs in Port and Orange Sauce plated with the sauce reduction and served with Greek yogurt. (You could also substitute the yogurt with ice cream.) This is such a delicious dessert. I’ve taken the liberty to add the recipe below. Fresh figs are in season right now. These were purchased from Whole Foods Market.

Caramelized Figs with Port and Orange Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Caramelized Figs with Port and Orange Sauce served with Greek yogurt
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 pints fresh figs (about a dozen) halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup tawny port wine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice
  1. In a shallow dish, stir together the sugar and salt
  2. Press the cut side of each fig into the sugar and salt mixture to coat
  3. Heat a large skillet over high heat
  4. Add figs, cut side down
  5. Cook until sugar and juices caramelize, approximately 3 or 4 minutes
  6. Remove skillet from heat
  7. Add port
  8. Return skillet to heat
  9. Cook to reduce the syrup, approximately 30 seconds
  10. Scrap up any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan
  11. Remove from heat again
  12. Add butter and orange juice
  13. Gently swirl pan to combine
  14. Cool at room temperature or serve warm

Kali orexi! Come take a class at Sur la Table. Ping me for details or visit their site.

*Disclosure – I am employed by Sur la Table. I am an Assistant in the Cooking School.
All these photos were taken during last night’s class.

My Garden in Spring

I love Spring. My garden seems like a charmed place with all my perennial herbs sprouting up. Spring came early this year and I have already planted some veggies.RaspberriesMy raspberries are growing up fast and strong.

ChivesMy chives are blooming. I love their mauve blossoms.

Lemon Balm & OreganoThe lemon balm is growing now with the Greek oregano. They’re living in harmony!

MintThe mint is already several inches high and I’ll have to make sure it doesn’t stage a coup.

KaleI am growing kale for the first time. My friends have already shared their kale recipes.

Swiss ChardI am also growing green and red Swiss chard for the first time.

Red & Butter Leaf LettuceRed and butter leaf lettuce = future yummy salads!


I have lots of perennial rhubarb & my neighbor likes to make strawberry rhubarb pie.

Buddhist prayer flagsMy Buddhist flags sending peace, prosperity and protection prayers via the wind. Have you starting planting yet? My plan is to add tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and peppers. Maybe also some lavender and rosemary. What’s growing in your garden?

Baked Veggies – Tourlou Tava

I posted this recipe back in 2009 and it was a very popular post. My mother made it often and I have adapted this recipe from hers. It is easy to make and is perfect for Lent or for any vegan diet. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
2 large potatoes or several small redskins
1 large onion
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil if fasting for Lent)
Greek seasoning
4 cups of water
Bread crumbs
Bake in 350 degree oven one hour or until veggies are done.
Serves 4-6