In an attempt to properly prepare ourselves for our inevitable future move to the 'burbs, my husband and I decided to pick up a new weekend hobby - gardening. We're not just talking about an herb pot on our fire escape in San Francisco that would inevitably die after a month or so. We cleared out a plot of land in my parents yard and built two large raised garden beds. We're growing arugula, butter lettuce, jalapeños, padrón peppers, shallots, tomatillos and a variety of tomatoes. Thanks to fresh soil and the magic of Point Reyes Poulet Poo - seriously I'm evangelizing manure - our garden is practically growing itself.
My parents have a few garden beds nearby which have a few years of production under their belt already. Despite the fact that my parent's garden has older soil and a non-Poulet Poo disadvantage, their fennel is thriving. I have never seen a veggie plant so prolific and popping up in places it wasn't previously given permission. Bottom line - it does what it wants and I respect that.
The whole plant, from the root which is commonly roasted or shaved raw, to the willowy green fennel fronds that look like dill, to these pretty little blooms, is edible. During our last visit my Mom snipped off a few of these fennel flowers and I placed them into one of my favorite vases - a lilac Heath Ceramics bud vase.