Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Drum Roll Please! And The Winner Is... Winner Has Replied!

The Trusty Dusty Cheese Basket and The Herbal Husband!
Yes, he is back in the northern hemisphere!  He had a great time with family and friends and now it's back to business, herbally speaking.  The old cheese basket is ready with the potential winning names.  I still don't have a list of items that will go into the box.  So you will get jam and jelly as pictured in my last post and whatever we can fit in that large flat rate box.  You will be happy!  Oh,  almost forgot, the winner's name is:


I have reached out to the winner.  And I heard from her.  We will get the box ready and get it in the mail promptly.  You will have it in any case before Christmas.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has participated in my blog this year.  You are all herbal blessings to me and The Herbal Husband.  We would like to wish everyone who reads these words a happy holiday season.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Annual Herbal Holiday Box Giveaway! This Contest Has Ended!

We are at that time of year already!  Didn't the year fly by?  Since I did not do a blogiversary giveaway in August, it was my ninth year, we will blow the doors off with this herbal holiday giveaway.  My herbal packer a/k/a The Herbal Husband is away at the moment, but on his return next week, I will have more specific contents.  It is a Large Flat Rate box.  You can put a lot in this box.  Here is what I know for sure.

You will get one each of my raspberry jam and four other jellies to include, tarragon wine and rose geranium from last year and lemon verbena and pineapple sage from this year.

Part of the Herbal Items in the Herbal Holiday Box!
Then it will be up to the herbal packer a/k/a The Herbal Husband to decide what else will fit.  He is a marvel so you will be happy I know.

More Herbal Goodies in This Bag, BAG IS NOT PART OF THE GIVEAWAY!
OK, this contest will run from the time posted today, Tuesday, December 5, 2017 to Noon (12:00 PM) Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.  It is open to residents of the 50 states of the United States.  It gets too pricey for foreign countries.  Please leave a comment with CONTACT INFORMATION ON THIS POST ONLY.  Just a genuine way I can contact you!  Oh one entry per person please!   I will try to have a complete list of items before the contest ends posted.  The Herbal Husband will have the honor to pick the winner next week and then we will get in touch and mail the box as soon as we can.  Facebook friends please comment on this post on the Facebook side to enter.  Good luck everyone! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holy Blooming Cuban Oregano!

What a Surprise When I Was Watering Today!
In all my years of growing this herb, I don't think I have ever had this herb bloom.  I love this herb, Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) which is not actually an oregano at all.  It has a bunch of common names:  Mexican Mint, Indian Borage, Caribbean Oregano, Country Borage, French Thyme, Indian Mint, Soup Mint, Spanish Thyme and Cuban Oregano.  It is so important to know your botanical name.  Common names are different in different areas of the world as you can see above.
It is very easy to grow in a container.  It was used in Victorian times as a bedding plant.  It is a tender perennial here in the 'Burgh.  It has a very pungent smell and flavor, a camphorous one.  There are lots of people in the Caribbean regions who use it in cooking.  I just tasted a flower and I would not use it in cooking.  It is too intense for me.  If you are interested in trying to cook with it, here is a recipe for Grilled Cuban Oregano Chicken from the Feral Kitchen and the 10 Best Cuban Oregano Recipes from Yummly.  Please let me know if you try any of these recipes.

We were much more seasonal today with sunshine and even cold temperatures seem better when there is sun.  The wildlife and I got along a bit better today, but I am counting the days until The Herbal Husband returns.  Hope you have had a great day.  It is December already!  I feel like I have glided through this year!  You may think so too!  OK we are getting closer until I unveil the contents of my annual Herbal Christmas box.  It is epic this year!  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Spearmint Lives On!

A Tiny Bit of Green in A Lot of Brown!
Wow!  Where has November gone?  I certainly didn't have a lot to say, did I?  And now The Herbal Husband has gone to visit family and friends in Peru!  I guess that is the good news and bad news.  I know I take for granted what he does for me around here each and every day!  I am exhausted chasing those darn squirrels away from the peanut caddy!!

I was out on the street brooming the leaves from our neighbor's giant oak tree into the front beds.  It is a wild and crazy thing.  The spearmint is surviving in a sea of brown!  I did get some lemon verbena and Texas tarragon cut and hanging in the basement to dry.   So I will be down in the workroom some day next week.  I really need to work on some herbal tea blends.  I have been drinking too much black tea!  Never!  But this is an herbal blog and I need to start using what I dried!

We are having spring type weather here.  It was 65° yesterday!   Supposedly the bottom will drop out next week.  I really do enjoy sweater weather.  Now on to the important stuff.  I didn't get to do a blogiversary giveaway in August.  I will however be doing a monster Herbal Christmas giveaway soon.  Please stay tuned!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Looks like turkey leftovers are tonight's dinner.  Talk to you soon.

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?