Flower of the Week!

Garlic Scapes

A whole bunch of years ago (how’s that for elegant writing?) I planted a whack of garlic in my neighbour’s front yard when she wasn’t looking.  And then I didn’t tell her about it.  Ever.

Too afraid to do something like that?  You shouldn’t be.  What’s life without a little fun and trespassing?  Live a little.

Come early summer she had a whole patch of these weird curly things growing in her front yard and she couldn’t figure out what they were for the life of her.  My neighbour, is of the older persuasion and therefore easy to trick.  I told her I had no idea what they were.  I even shrugged my shoulders for added effect.

She did the same, and left the curly plants to grow where they wanted.

Come the late summer, I had garlic.   I sneaked over under the cover of darkness, dug it up and took it home.  She was none the wiser.   Those elderly.  So easy to fool.

Except she wasn’t.  She knew all along.  She was just humouring me.  I think it was the utter stink of the garlic that tipped her off.  That plus the fact that I routinely went on and on about how much I wished I had enough room and sun in my front yard to grow garlic.

That garlic has been growing in her front yard for close to 10 years now.  It’s my little patch of garlic heaven.  Well, technically it’s her little patch.  You know, according to the land survey and all.


My elderly neighbour (whose favourite movie is Pulp Fiction) went away for a few days recently and while she was gone I sneaked back over to her front yard and cut the tips off her/our/my garlic.  Just for old times sake.  ‘Cause I’m fun.  And a rebel.  And we all know, nothing says “rebellious fun” like sneaking over to your elderly neighbours garden to prune vegetables that are technically yours, under the cover of dusk because you want to make sure you make it home in time to watch Hoarders.

When garlic reaches the point where they grow “scapes”, you need to pinch them off.  That way the plants energy goes towards growing the garlic bulb as opposed to the flower (or scape) on top.

Using garlic scapes in recipes has become popular lately because of their mild garlic flavour and let’s face it … trendiness.  (See my friends’ Jenny and Neil’s blog Communal Table for a few garlic scape recipes)

I however, being a fun loving rebel, chose to use the scapes in a somewhat less traditional way.

I like to use scapes in floral arrangements.  See?  Rebel.  And fun!  If you’re looking for an arrangement with aroma … this one’s got ya covered.  Pairs well with a nice tortellini.

I’ve done up a few different examples for you to show you the versatility of the stolen, garlic scape.


Simple Scape Arrangement

Simple white jug from Ikea

Whimsical Kitchen Arrangement with Scapes


Contemporary Scape Arrangement


Casual Garden Flower Arrangment with Scapes

The lacy looking hydrangeas at the back of the arrangement were stolen out of my previously mentioned, elderly neighbour’s garden.

She’ll probably never notice. I’m almost positive she’s senile. Twice in the past 10 years she’s forgotten to put out her garbage and she repeatedly addresses me as Martha.  Plus she’s never called the cops on me.  Senile.

Now, I’m not encouraging you to steal (yes I am) and I’m not suggesting you should pick things from your neighbour’s gardens (when they’re looking).  What I am saying in this little post of mine is to remember to look at things a little differently.  Invent.  Improvise.  Have fun. Use things in a way they aren’t meant to be used.   Use scapes as floral pieces, plant vegetables in your front yard (or your neighbour’s front yard), chung a beverage out of a mason jar.

Live a little.  And when in doubt, deny everything.


  1. Bianca x says:

    This gave me a real giggle! We have wild garlic growing in the garden which we may or may not have dug up from the woods. It gives the garlic flavour without the ‘whoa have a breath mint’ offense. I will have to try this though (without the trespassing ?) even if just for the pretty swirls!

  2. Luanne says:

    This makes me smile. I have an elderly and (not so) senile neighbour who apparently planted allium in my garden while i wasn’t looking. I oohed and aaahed over them one day, saying how I only vaguely remember planting bulbs, but not enough to know they would look this lovely – and she quickly fessed up to planting them. People are fun, especially when they have a few extra years of trickery experience under their belt.

  3. Suzanne says:

    I just planted my garlic last week and I have green sprouts coming up. Do I pluck them now or wait?? Please help me so I get this right!! I live in Calgary Alberta so hoping to get a good crop of garlic. Thanks Karen..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suzanne. I know the weather in Calgary has been a bit wacky lately. You’re supposed to plant garlic when it’s cool out but not so cold that it won’t start to grow roots. Growing some greens is perfectly normal although to have grown them so quickly is surprising! Anyhow, just leave the garlic alone. I’m fairly confident it will be perfectly fine. 🙂 You are going to LOVE growing garlic. ~ karen!

  4. Kara says:

    Very funny. You have inspired me to plant garlic in my front yard, seriously though, my front yard.

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