Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The beauty of millet

Here's that millet I told you about in a recent post. Besides being a popular ingredient in bird seed, this ancient grain is supposed to be a great source of protein. It's a fine hot cereal on its own, and tasty combined with oats and other porridges. In my house, the recipe can get quite crowded!

The beauty of millet

Here's that millet I told you about in a recent post. Besides being a popular ingredient in bird seed, this ancient grain is supposed to be a great source of protein. It's a fine hot cereal on its own, and tasty combined with oats and other porridges. In my house, the recipe can get quite crowded!

Millet is also a favorite of floral designer Helen Pettengill, and you can see why. It's got great color, as well as height and texture.

I'd love to have a workshop like Helen's, which is in an old goat barn. She's got room to store her sprigs of bittersweet and stalks of millet behind the barn - with room to spare. Which is great, considering all the oddball stuff she collects to use in her arrangements - sorghum, yarrow, grapevine (collected along the highway), oak, maple and fig leaves, all sorts of sedums, celosia, blue-green cedar and holly branches, nandina, pine cones, solidago ...

Hanging out with Helen is really instructive. You begin to think about design a whole new way. Although it's certainly possible to be creative with flowers you buy, even ones from the supermarket, using these unusual things sounds like a lot of fun. A little scary for the uninitiated, but experimentation doesn't have to be unnerving.

Feel free to quote me on that, to do as I say not as I do, and be sure you have friends around the table!

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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