July 30, 2020
Although shrimp cocktail’s a treat any time, it’s especially refreshing when mind-numbing heat calls for something cool. A shrimp look-alike that we can’t douse in cocktail sauce is golden shrimp plant that gleefully greets each smothering day from its patio container. Zoom meeting plant style!
This one’s Pachystachys lutea, a native of Peru, and beloved for its golden yellow bracts topped with wide-mouthed tubular white flowers.
It’s not cold hardy for me, hence the patio container that I protect in winter. I clip it back in spring and off it goes again!
The shrimp plant most of us have in our gardens is Justicia brandegeeana, native to Mexico. These drought-tough perennials are a shade gardeners’ dream, although they accept brief stints of hot sun that sneaks in through dappled light.
Since they sucker, you’ll have an attractive cluster in a few years. You can divide them (I got my first ones from a generous gardener) to pass along or add to another spot. Now that mine are established, even the harshest winter doesn’t kill the roots. Whether they brown on top or remain evergreen, I cut back in spring to develop a dense shape. Cut to the ground if totally brown; otherwise, trim back top leggy stems. I only cut this one back several inches this spring and it’s already blooming.
In warm microclimates, they’ll keep on blooming through winter, most appreciated by bees and other pollinators that drop by on our warm days.
Dawn Houser’s were blooming when we taped her lovely bungalow garden one January. I lucked into this capture of a hummingbird that slowed down long enough for this shot.
Now, cool off with a few easy recipes!
Trisha shakes up yummy herbal cocktails.
Try Molly Pikarsky’s easy melon mint gazpacho.
And here’s my mom-in-law’s easy and yummy shrimp cocktail sauce recipe that she gave me long ago. I’ve made it this so often I know it by heart. I don’t really measure.
Miki’s Cocktail Sauce
• 2 cups chile sauce
• 6 tbsp. horseradish
• ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
• Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tbsp.
• 16 drops of Tabasco
Combine and chill for a few hours.
Thanks for stopping by! See you soon, Linda