Under the care of chief horticulturist Stan Kozak, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which I introduced you to a few weeks ago, has installed scarlet nasturtium vines descending down from the third floor balconies of the Venetian-style palazzo.
This tradition, occurring every April and dating back 100 years, is to celebrate the arrival of spring as well as Isabella Stewart Gardner's birthday (born in April 1840). These flowers are cultivated exactly the same way Isabella Stewart Gardner grew them, which requires nearly 10 months of care in the museums greenhouses before they can be draped over the balconies.
Peter Crowley, chef and owner of The Gardner Cafe has started a more modern tradition in recent years, serving colorful edible flowers in a variety of dishes including in an entree of cold poached Atlantic salmon. He also creates dishes like Chamomile panna cotta with lemon thyme poached pears and nasturtium blossoms for dessert. Yum!