Garlic scapes -- the flower stalks cut from stiff-neck varieties
a month before the cloves are harvested -- are made into pesto
with the addition of nuts, cheese, olive oil and citrus juice.
Garlic scapes are a gourmand’s delight and can be used on their
own in simple sautes in place of garlic cloves or green onions.
If you want to try pesto made with different garlic cultivars,
be sure to arrive early. It goes fast!
Basil is also big at
Garden in the Parks.
You can sample several varieties of Ocimum basilicum --
‘Genovese,’ ‘Lemon,’ ‘Lime,’ ‘Thai,’ ‘Red Rubin’ and ‘Pesto
Perpetuo.’ They are served in emulsions composed of chopped
basil leaves and olive oil. Genovese emulsion is a wonderful
addition to tomato sauce and lemon basil emulsion is fantastic
on grilled fish. Emulsions can also be frozen and made into
pesto later in the year with the addition of toasted pine nuts,
garlic, sharp Italian cheese and a touch of lemon juice. Once
you’ve tasted basil preserved in this manner, you’ll pitch the
tin of dried basil in your spice cabinet.
Tomatoes are not grown in the demonstration gardens, but an
event touting garlic and basil must include tomatoes. Last year,
the tomato tasting station featured more than 16 varieties. Most
were heirloom, including ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘Pruden’s Purple,’
‘Money Maker,’ ‘4th of July’ and ‘Aunt Ruby’s German Green.’
Cherry tomatoes included ‘Sun Sugar,’ ‘Sweet 100,’ ‘Super Sweet
100’ and ‘Black Cherry.’ We will be doing a blind tasting this
year. The names will be hidden and labeled by number only. It
will be just you and your senses to determine which tomato is
After sampling garlic, pesto and tomatoes, you can cleanse your
palate with free ice cream. The famous Penn State Creamery ice
cream is made from the milk of cows who call State College home.
Traditionalists will enjoy vanilla, strawberry or “Death by
Chocolate.” For the adventurous, we are featuring “August Pie,”
a flavor made with nectarines and peaches, swirled with
raspberry sauce in a vanilla base.
The visual delights of summer include an amazing array of
beautiful flowers, foliage and pollinators. Free tours of the
demonstration gardens will allow you to explore the herbs and
annual flower beds. Vote for your favorite plant and register to
win one of several garden baskets. While at the registration
table, be sure to sample the cookies made with herbs from these
gardens. Lavender shortbread, lemon verbena and cinnamon basil
cookies round out the many tastes you’ll experience at Garden in
Attendees will also receive a packet of common milkweed (Asclepias
syriaca) seeds, courtesy of the Audubon Society of Western
Pennsylvania. Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch
butterflies lay their eggs on, and the larvae require the
milkweed for survival. The seeds come with a handout explaining
the plight of the monarch and their drastic population decline
due to loss of habitat and chemically based agriculture.
The event will also include digging for potatoes and other
children’s activities; master gardeners and Burgh Bees
representatives available to answer questions; and a marketplace
with garlic, tomatoes, tools, seeds and other gardening supplies
available for purchase.
For more information about the demonstration gardens, go to
Gardener's favorite flowers
Outstanding Garden Plants of 2012
Trials - Outstanding performers in 2006