Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Cascade of Coconut!

The weather is getting cooler here finally.   Sunday when we were working in the garden, the smell of coconut was overwhelming.  So I was reminded how much I love coconut scented geranium (Pelargonium grossularioides).  In the Jim Becker & Faye Brawner book, Scented Geraniums, the description of 'Coconut' says "The leaves of this species are small, round, and deep green.  It forms a low-growing mound of foliage with long sprays of very small magenta flowers.  It has a pleasant scent, though not necessarily that of coconut, and self-seeds freely."

Coconut does self-sow in the herb garden and I have taken it for granted.  Not anymore!  Next the pollinators find the tiny magenta flowers very enticing.  And finally I would say the fragrance of this particular scented geranium is very tropically coconut!  Delicious.  I am going to make sure to dry some leaves and see how the fragrance holds up.

Hope you had some time in your herb garden today.  Looks like Thursday and Friday this week will be the final harvesting days for me.  Flurries in the forecast!  Talk to you later.
A Wiff of Coconut!  Delicious!

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Beauty and Regret of Fall in the Herb Garden!

By Far One of My Favorites in the Fall!
Who would have thought that the parsley post the other day would get me in the mood to blog.  You really haven't missed all that much in the herb garden.  And as I went over what I have blogged about this season, you saw quite a bit more than I remember!   I am going to share with you some photos over the next week of specific herbs that I really have grown to love over the years. 

Margaret Hall reminded me that this is one of them, pineapple sage (Salvia elegans).  She stated she has tons of it and would I share my pineapple sage jelly recipe.  I would be happy to do so.  Here is a link for three of my favorite herb jellies, including pineapple sage:  An Herbal Jelly Recipe Marathon! I always try to encourage readers over the growing season to use your herbs.  I am not the greatest cook, but I do try to share my successes using herbs when it happens.  I would tell you Margaret to use your pineapple sage fresh in fruit salads, iced teas and baked goods.  My experience trying to dry it has not worked.  The Herbal Husband being my chief herbal sniffer and tester can tell you that it loses its fragrance and taste of pineapple when dried.  You could try freezing some fresh leaves and see what happens to them.  I have just not wasted too much time doing that.  We have also brought our pineapple sage inside when it hasn't gotten too big, but that doesn't always work out well either.  I know that there are pineapple sage pound cake recipes out there.  Here is a link to my search on Google and you can pick the recipe you would like to try Pineapple Sage Pound Cake Recipes.  There are a lot of choices.  Short of using it fresh with fruit or tea or baked goods, I don't have any new ideas.  If my readers have an interesting way they use pineapple sage leaves, please let me know and I will pass it on in a later post.  That's the beauty of the fall herb garden.

Now to the regret!  When I first started my herb journey more than 25 years ago, I wanted to grow everything exotic and interesting in the herb world.  Sometimes too many plants of the same variety that when the fall came, I either had regret because I didn't use them at all or I had so much of one product that I couldn't use it all or share it all!  So my vision over the years has become very narrow and as much I would like to grow every new variety of herb, I will stick to my tried and true favorites and make what I can to share and not worry so much about having it all.

I bet you are wondering why is she inside writing when she should be out in the garden harvesting?  The forecasters were incorrect and it has been raining since early morning!  So much for harvesting the garden.  I will get to it sometime this week.  Snow in the forecast next week for Halloween!  Maybe they will be incorrect again!  Hope so!   Well I hope you are enjoying your day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hurry Up and Harvest!

My New Favorite Herb!
Well, it is getting to be that time in the herb garden!  Running around like crazy harvesting what needs to be harvested, herbally speaking that is.  In the photo is a favorite of mine.  Though I don't always have it in the herb garden.  It is called Texas tarragon (Tagetes lucida) by those of you who can't grow French tarragon in the heat of the south.  A member of the marigold family.  I think I have shared this link before from Texas A & M called The Three Tarragons.  It really does a good job.

This plant is two years old which means The Herbal Husband coaxed it through the winter last year.  I was hoping it would bloom this year, but I think it got too much shade from the lemon verbena not necessarily a bad thing.  I will mainly use my Texas tarragon dried in tea blends.  We will not be digging many of our tender perennials this year because they have gotten too large.  I would love to bring them all in, but it is just not going to happen.

So here are some of the herbs I will be harvesting this week:  lemon verbena (dry), Texas tarragon (dry), green pepper basil (vinegar), scented geraniums (dry) and chives (freeze).  I have already made a box each of lemon verbena and pineapple sage jellies.  I have not been as busy jelly wise this season as in others.  Didn't have that much extra time.

So as you can see the parsley post jump started my blog! Who knew that was going to happen?  Hope you are having a beautiful day wherever you may be.  Got to get out in the herb garden.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Parsley Fairy Came!

Going to be Soup This Winter!

As you can see The Parsley Fairy (My Herbal Travel Companion, Bonnie) supplied the parsley in these two vases on the counter.   I came in from an errand and thought "Wow!  I thought our parsley plants were buried by other plants!"  Then I was enlightened by The Herbal Husband as to the source.  Here is a link to the recipe for Parsley Dill Soup.

I called Bonnie to thank her and she told me that the local herb group was harvesting their herb garden and cutting big bunches of parsley and cutting back their perennial herbs!  Lavenders, sages and thymes particularly.  Some herb gardeners are able to do that in the south especially.  Here in the northern half, I would tell you not to do that now.  Even though we have been having summertime weather here, it is way too late to be making a major harvest of perennial herbs.  It is always OK to trim out dead or diseased branches.  Just don't do anything too drastic.  It will be interesting to see how the local herb group's plants fare.  I will let you know what I learn in the spring!

As I have stated my needlework has sidetracked me these days.  I just have enjoyed that more than trying to figure out what to do in the herb garden.  I really do have a lot to say about herbs.  I just have to come up with a routine to post periodically and a bit more than zero or one post a month.  I am able to blog on my tablet so hopefully you will hear from me more often.  Remind me if I go away for too long.  We are going to have one great weekend and maybe I will get out and take a long look at what has been going on.  There is a lot of work to be done.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Not Quite My Herb Garden Anymore!

When we planned our 30 year celebration earlier this year, I knew that the herb garden was not going to be tended for over three weeks.  I had to let the garden go and just hope we got enough rain and sun.

On the other hand, The Herbal Husband does a lot of the planting for me.    And he has decided to move plants in that I would not have ordinarily planted.  Other plants are volunteers.  Looking at the garden this morning, I was sort of depressed.  I just can't embrace it as my garden anymore.  I think it might need a Bobcat!  A new blog called The Herbal Husband's Herb Garden maybe?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Been Celebrating 30 Years Early!

You may have wondered about me and my blogging.  Well, The Herbal Husband and I took advantage of having friends to visit in Europe and spent 24 wonderful days in The Netherlands, England and France celebrating (early) 30 years of marriage.  That's how my August flew by!  So here are a few view of our trip and hopefully I will be inspired to blog a bit more later.

Pride Week In Amsterdam!
The Harbor in Monnickendam, The Netherlands
A Scone Sandwich!

The Geffrye Herb Garden!

Afternoon Tea at the Claridges!

Strawberry Soup Celebration!

A Parisian Vertical Garden!
A Laundry Cart
And an Elevator!
I have so many photos to go through.  I still have my trip in 2016 to finish!  I am way way behind!  Hopefully you will hear from me soon.  Yet I still have joy in my stitching.  Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Prairie Garden Completed!

After 25 Years It Is Finished!
I know that cross-stitch is not why you read my blog.  Although during the last 9 or 10 months, I have become quite obsessed with my needlework to the detraction of my garden.  I will be honest with you, I am not sure that will change.  I have discovered quite a few WIP pieces from my stash box that I am going to finish this year if possible.   I was so glad to get the coverlet finished and I would like to give a big shout out to Lori Antonetti of Good Time Quilts for doing a fabulous job on the quilting and finishing.  She had never worked with a cross stitch coverlet before, but I was confident in her skills and the equipment she has that she would do a wonderful job and she did! 

And where did July go?  I can't believe I am writing this in August.  We have had a lot of rain.  Two inches in one day and then an inch here and there.  Many people in the tri-state area were flooded.  It has been a disastrous summer for them.  The weeds are growing nicely though.  One of my Facebook friends had a poster that reads:  Pardon the weeds, I'm feeding the bees!  Thank God for the bees!  So I hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  I will talk to you later. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lemon Verbena Living, How Did I Miss This?

A Very Early Bloom on My Favorite!
Well, it had to happen sooner or later.  There is a blog that is really and truly about my favorite, lemon verbena.  It is called Lemon Verbena Living from Mia Sherwood Landau in North Texas.  Mia lives, eats, breaths, grows and sells lemon verbena, live and dried.  She also found a book called A Plant of Lemon Verbena by Alicia Amy Leith from 1895 from England!  How did I not hear about this book or this blog?  I have been in my stitching cave, stitching!  That's why!

So I have linked her blog here in this post and in my favorite blogs in the U.S.  Hopefully, I will get some time to sit down and read the entire blog.  Looks like I have a bunch of reading to do Mia from 2014, but I think I will enjoy doing it and I will probably learn a ton about our favorite, lemon verbena.  Glad you found me Mia!  I am very delighted you did!

Since I talked about an Herb Companion post or two last post, I will give you links to my favorite posts about lemon verbena here:   In 2009 I did a post called The Lemon Verbena Lady's Favorite Herb.  In 2010 I did a post called A Summertime Favorite:  Lemon Verbena Jelly.  In 2011 I did a post called The Lemon Verbena Tales:  New Pests and Harvesting Tips.  In 2012 I did a post called The Herbal Harvest:  3 Lemon Verbena Recipes.  So that should give you few thoughts about my favorite in one place.

Here in the 'Burgh, IT IS STILL RAINING!  I have made a box of raspberry jam already.  We are supposed to have our last day of rain tomorrow and then we are to dry out.  I got the great news that my coverlet is finished and so Monday I will pick it up and hopefully show it to you then.  Hope you had a great day in your herb garden.  Ours is a jungle at the moment!  Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Going Big in the Herb Garden!

The Elecampane Has Started to Flower!
One of the activities I do when I am not blogging in the winter is get out my copies of The Herb Companion magazine and come up with topics.  I have always been interested in herb garden design.  In the end I am basically just an herb plunker, herbally speaking!  But this winter when I pulled out my magazines, I came across a wonderful array of lists and plans of herb plants for different situations.  Maybe this will be my light bulb moment, herbally speaking!  I was attracted to the elecampane when we were in France in 2011 and stopped at Chateau Val Jonais.  Bonnie was kind enough to give me hers and now I need to plant some others to give it a bigger punch!

The Elecampane Made a Statement at Val Jonais!
I was just reminded that as a guest blogger for The Herb Companion aka Mother Earth Living, I wrote a post called Growing Big Herbs:  Angelica, Borage and Tansy.  That post talked about the tansy attracting all of the ladybugs and their eggs into the herb garden among other benefits.  So big is just not taking up space.  In this post I also referenced the article that I found this winter by Rob Proctor from a January 2000 magazine called Big is Beautiful:  Grow Big Herbs for a Beautiful Garden.  As I get older and want to do less weeding, I am looking to bigger fuller herbs and herbal shrubs to take up spaces and make a statement.  Hopefully, you will find the right combination of herb plants from his list for your herb garden.  Don't forget to use the Mother Earth Living website because they have the archived articles from The Herb Companion magazine available to you.  I will try to keep sharing my finds in posts along the way!  Also if you go to my home page that gives you a page of my guest posts for The Herb Companion and Mother Earth Living!

The rain just continues to fall and the ickies and stickies are back.  I have made several batches of raspberry jam already.  So there is a silver lining in the rain.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  I will talk to you later.