This healthy & spicy salad filled with cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes, black olives, feta, pelargonium graveolens leaves and herbs make a refreshing side dish to enjoy with your meal, The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, aromatic flavour of the herbs, as well as the tangy fruity taste of the feta and black olives creates a beneficial & nutritious dish filled with delicious vegetables and greens.
Ingredients 4 servings
125g cherry tomatoes, cut in half 1 cos lettuce, leaves removed and ripped into small pieces I red onion cut into small wedges 3-4 leaves of pelargonium graveolens, finely chopped Finely chopped herbs- basil, oregano and mint Salt and pepper to taste 80g Black olives 12g chopped Walnuts or pine nuts 180g of feta cheese, cut into small cubes A sprinkle of red wine vinegar 80g of olive oil 1 cucumber, cut into thin slices and cut in half Tinned Anchovies in olive oil optional
To prepare First remove the lettuce leaves and wash them thoroughly, drying them well with kitchen roll. Then rip the leaves and arrange them on a salad dish.
Add the cherry tomatoes, black olives and cucumber, then blend the ingredients together with your hands or with salad tongs, sprinkle over the herbs and pelargonium leaves making sure all the mixture is well blended.
Cut the feta into small cubes and place them around the dish, sprinkle with oregano followed by red wine vinegar and olive oil.
You can also choose to add a few leaves of batavia lettuce, beetroot, green peppers or mix with pasta.
Pelargonium blandfordianum is a lovely pelargonium with deeply incised grayish leaves which are fragrant with a scent of rose and white flowers with reddish blotches on the under petals. It is believed to be a hybrid between P. radula and P. quinquevulnereum. There are a few variations of this plant, ‘album’ refers to the white flowered form and ‘roseum’ to the rose pink flowered form which has a distinct rosy wormwood fragrance on the leaves.
This hybrid was developed during the early 1800s, introduced by George Spencer Churchill the Marquis of Blandford to which this plant derives its name. George Spencer was a keen and accomplished botanist while he resided at White knights park estate, a medieval manor which is now part of the university of Reading (white knights campus). Here he became widely known for has large collection of rare and exotic plants from around the globe. Various species were also transported there from the royal gardens by order of the king. George took out a loan to expand and enhance his new estate, creating many new features, such as the ‘Chantilly garden’ which contained several conservatories possibly for tropical plants, a vineyard, bridges, a wide variety of trees, a botanical garden with a wide selection of unique plants, many from America, a wilderness and many seats, fountains, grotto’s and pavilions. Later the gardens fell into decline after George Spencer became bankrupt and his creditors set fire to his house in rage, the rest of the estate was sold off. But remains of the gardens was again found after the world wars.
Pelargonium radula is a parent of the hybrid Pelargonium blandfordianum, it has decorative deeply incised leaves with a lemony rose fragrance and small pale pink flowers with dark purple markings on the upper petals. It has similar characteristics to P. graveolens which is closely related and possibly an equivalent to P. radens or a clone and also has a few forms with varied flower colours. The other parent is Pelargonium quinquevulnereum
which was also believed to have been a hybrid, grown by Mr Armstrong who lived in Hampshire, that shares some similarities to Pelargonium graveolens.
Pelargonium radens is a tall upright shrub with delicate grey green finely divided leaves and light purple flowers with darker markings on the upper petals. The fragrance of the leaves are rose lemon scented and grows well in medium to large pots often growing beside other Plants. Pelargonium graveolens has soft velvety triangular deeply incised leaves which have a somewhat rosy mint scent, a well known pelargonium since the 17th century in food and beverages, tea, potpourri and perfume. Other hybrids related to Pelargonium radens or Pelargonium graveolens is P. ‘citrosum’ which has strong citronella lemon fragrance with pale pink flowers also known as the mosquito plant which is popular in the United States & Canada and is a cultivar of P. graveolens, also said to help deter mosquitoes.
P. ‘lady plymouth’ is a hybrid from the species P. ‘graveolens’ with silver & cream leaves which are variegated with a minty scent and light purple flowers, there is also a similar cultivar known as P ‘grey lady plymouth‘ with has grey green leaves. P. ‘Cinnamon rose’ has spicy cinnamon scented leaves, and an upright growth with short branches and pale purple flowers. P. ‘Secret love’ is a eucalyptus scented leaf pelargonium with light pink flowers showing some characteristics to P. capitaum. P. x melissinum is a cross between P. crispum and P. graveolens which has large lemon balm scented deeply cut leaves and pink flowers.
P. ‘rosemint’ has mint rose scented leaves which are variegated and is used in perfumes, showing some similarities to P. lady plymouth. P. ‘westerlund’ rose lemon scented leaf close resembling that of P. graveolens.
P. denticulatum a large slightly bushy shrub full of pastel pink flowers during Spring which looks stunning when lit up by the sun and also attracts honey bees, excellent for a border plant.
Pelargonium graveolens which grows well in medium to large pots and is an attractive plant with rose/mint scented leaves and pretty pink flowers and a lovely plant to grow near the house in a sunny area.
Other spring flower pelargoniums include P. quercifolium- grows well with other shrubs like rosemary.
P. visscossimum, P. odoratissmum. P. vitifolium, P. grossularioides, P. tongaense, P. elongatum and P. greytonense.
Pelargonium graveolens meaning strong smelling in Latin was grown from seed last year and is now flowering, it has strong minty rose triangular deeply incised scented leaves and pale pink flowers. The scented leaves are used in food and beverages and is native to the Limpopo province and in parts of the Western Cape.