What to do with asparagus foliage

I haven’t spent a lot of time in the vegetable garden this summer — Dan has been right on top of the planting, the weeds, and the harvests — but this week I found myself in there a couple of times. Gail, Betsy, the volunteers, and I had the pleasure of helping with a huge harvest for the East Bay Food Pantry and then I went back in yesterday to pick asparagus foliage.

Search for asparagus anything on the internet and most of what comes up sounds delicious and involves bacon, but during a cruise around one of my favorite design websites, I noticed a picture of a door decorated with a beautiful dried wreath made from asparagus of all things (scroll to the end of the linked post). Who knew you could do that? I filed it away in the back of my mind and it popped right to the front of it again when Gail added a bunch of asparagus feathers to the bucket of flowers and foliage she and Betsy picked for this week’s volunteer flower arranger. So yesterday, Betsy and I stole two bunches of foliage and a couple of crafty hours to make these wreaths. We used the same method of wiring handfuls to a frame that we use for our holiday wreaths and are hoping that they’ll be just as pretty as they dry as they are fresh. Betsy added Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ to hers because, in her experience, it keeps its color and doesn’t fall to bits as it dries. So pretty! 

wreath made from asparagus foliageBetsy's wreath made of asparagus foliage and Gomphrena 'Fireworks'

Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’, if you don’t know it, is a great seed annual that grows long, nearly naked stems to about 3-feet tall, starts blooming almost as soon as it goes in the ground (early summer) and won’t stop until frost. We’re growing it in the Cutting Garden because it’s wonderful to cut for arrangements too. 

Gomphrena 'Fireworks'

Blithewold’s asparagus patch (one half pictured at the top of this post), requested by Dick (volunteer vegetable gardener extraordinaire) and planted by Dan back in the spring of 2012, is still becoming established. I have yet to taste it — Dick cautioned us against picking any the first year, and more than just a little for the next couple before it has fully settled in. Fingers crossed for enough to go around next spring! Meanwhile, the foliage feeds the roots and Dan won’t cut it to the ground until it turns completely brown in late fall.

Have you ever gotten crafty with asparagus foliage? Does your favorite recipe include bacon?