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Wildflower and Weeds

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Some plants we might call weeds and others are adored as wild flowers. How can we tell the difference or is there a difference? What if we thought of “weeds” as tools for better communities? These hardy plants flourish in harsh conditions without maintenance. Like all plants, they can provide valuable ecosystem services. With a shift in perspective, we could brighten vacant lots with lovely, low-cost meadows. We could clean up contaminated sites with species that absorb heavy metals. We could add delicious entrees to our tables.

Let’s Get Creative!

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Make Lemon Balm Ice Cream

The Dandelion Café inside the Nature All Around Us exhibit gave visitors the chance to virtually select from a menu of delectable dishes, each featuring an urban weed as their primary ingredient. Our Chef, Megan Mullineaux, is sharing her recipes, along with tips on foraging and preparing meals and treats from the plants that may be in your own yard. Let’s get started with Lemon Balm Ice Cream!

Watch The Video

Listed below are the ingredients you will need:

  • 5 medium to large lemon balm leaves
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 cups of ice cubes
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of salt
  • Gallon and sandwich sized resealable bag

Get Outside!

Learn more about the Foothill Nature Walks! Though we aren’t offering guided walks this summer you can download the free guide to Foothill Flora here for your own social distancing adventures.

If you enjoyed NHMU's Nature All Around Us exhibit, you are sure to enjoy this guide to urban plants
Though you can observe a variety of plants just right outside your doorstep the Utah mountains are blooming with wildflowers in the summer! Albion Basin in Alta opens in July with multiple hiking options. Though remember do not pick the wildflowers and please stay on designated trails!
Participate in this year’s Wasatch Wildflower Festival the whole month of July 2020! This year’s Wasatch Wildflower Festival 2020 free event offers weekly Wildflower Wednesday activities to keep you, your friends and your family connected to the forest and Utah ski areas through online wildflower videos and maps of our favorite trails.  

Connect with Local Experts

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What is Nature?

How has nature evolved in your lifetime? In this video from Nature All Around Us, environmental writer Emma Marris challenges us to redefine nature as anywhere multiple species live together, even in our bustling cities and manicured backyards.

Watch The Video

Explore More About Local Plants

Looking for more delicious recipes from Megan and the Dandelion Cafe? Check out the NHMU Blog posts for Dandelion Greens with roasted garlic dressing and Chicory and Scallion Gratin!  

Practice your flower identifying skills with Ski Utah and the Cottonwood Canyon Foundation with their guide about the 10 most common wildflowers in the Wasatch.

Check out the Utah State Noxious Weed Guide on iNaturalist! The plant species on this list are not native to Utah and have forever changed Utah landscapes.

Back to Neighborhood Naturalists for Kids!