Exciting News

The redbud outside my study window, about to bloom.
Dear Reader, did you know the gorgeous flowers of the Eastern redbud belong to the legume family? Glory be, they’re edible!
It’s remarkable what you learn when you relax with a cup of tea and the Michigan Gardener Magazine. It was as if Jim Slezinski, bless his botanical heart, was sitting right here with me in my study, eyes wide with enlightenment, speaking horticultural secrets.
Truly, I hunger all winter for the April issue of Eric and Jonathan Hofley’s monthly publication. The brothers comprehend Michigan’s natural and cultivated environments. They know the gardener’s needs.
The publishers have harvested arborists and gardeners who, like Mr. Slezinski, practice what they preach. Thus, I’ve come to depend upon the magazine’s “to-do list” and “plant focus” for knowledge of successful growing.
That’s why I nearly leapt from my reading chair and exclaimed to Mr. Slezinski, “No kidding? Edible?”
See, I appreciate wholesome food and my redbuds. Matter of fact, I keep both trees under constant observation: the mature tree on our house’s north side, the sapling basking in the backyard’s southern exposure.
Nothing could make a singular culinary experience more outstanding than showering a salad with the redbud’s magenta antioxidants. The author compares the flavor of her flowers to peas. If you’re a pea fan, another glory be! They do taste like peas!
Mr. Slezinski elaborates. “Eaten by Native Americans, fresh or boiled and fried, they are also a delicacy served by Mexican chefs.”
Do ya’ll know such a Mexican chef within the radius of a hundred miles? If so, shall we take a road trip for a sample when the Cercis canadensis blossom? Or, perhaps we might encourage Michael Romine of Mulefoot Gastropub to give them a stir.
Mr. Slezinski waxes poetic as he concludes. “Mature redbuds create ‘living structures’ in the landscape.”
I smiled in agreement as my eyes slowed on the following sentence. “Residents of the Appalachian Mountains use the green twigs when cooking to season venison and wild game…colloquially, redbuds are referred to as ‘spicewood’ trees.”
Now, my two surviving McCoy uncles didn’t hunt venison or large wild game, but I phoned them anyway to hear their voices and inquired about Grandpa Floyd using the spicewood tree.
“No, honey,” Uncle Herm said. “I can’t remember Daddy calling the redbud anything but redbud. There was a tall shrub he called spicewood. He’d cut green branches about the size of a broom stick and boil them for tea.”
Then I called his younger brother. Uncle Tab confirmed Uncle Herm’s story down to the “broom stick” detail. “I think Daddy called it sassafras tea,” he added. “We breathed in the steam. Did Herm tell you that?”
Uncle Tab told elaborated on the treatment and reported his potatoes were up. “Now don’t eat too much of the redbud,” he warned.
I promised to use precaution, but have plans to garnish my lettuces and cakes with pink-lavender clusters clipped from my redbud’s leafless branches. 
And glory be, the wild violets and their leaves will do beautifully until then.