Thursday, May 29, 2014

Newly Planted Lemon and Maybe Some Lime Herb Garden!

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Newly Planted Lemon Herb Garden!

Well, it is a bit of this and that, but there are lots of lemony herbs and a bit of lime thrown in.  There were established herbs in all of these beds.  We didn't move those out, we just adjusted.  As you all know by now, I'm a plunker, not a designer.  Sometimes I come up with winners and then other times, herbs get buried by their bigger cousins!  So here are the new herbs that are growing in each photo.

Photo One (Spacing in diagram is NOT to scale!)-

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                   4                 7         8                   9         10
                         5                   8    8                 11          12
                                    6                          13          14

1 Big Angelica leaf in the left corner, up toward the rock wall is 2 Lemon-Scented Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum limoneum), then there is a 3 Swordleaf Elecampane (Inula ensifolia), to the right of it is a 7 'Well-Sweep Golden Variegated' Scented Geranium (Pelargonium crispum) and then there is an 4 Apple Scented Geranium (It's not all lemon!) (Pelargonium odoratissimum) and a 5 Coconut Scented Geranium (Pelargonium grossularioides) and a 6 coneflower called 'Primadonna White' and the three flowers in a triangle are 8 'Lemon Gem' marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia) and a 13 German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and a 14 Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) in front and 9 is a 'Mabel Gray' Scented Geranium (Pelargonium x citronellum), 10 is 'Lemon Balm' Scented Geranium (Pelargonium x melissinum), 11 'Goldfinger' Scented Geranium (Pelargonium crispum 'Well-Sweep Aurea') and last but not least is my favorite, 12 Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla or citriodora).

Photo Two (Spacing in diagram is really off!)-

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                                             3                                 7                            
             11                     9                         8
                         10               12                       13                               

1 The Lemon Balm (Melissia officinalis) that started this crazy design and 2 is the Rosemary Xmas Tree (Romarinus officinalis 'Arp'), 3 is an established oregano that I lost the tag years ago, 4 is a Prostrate Rosemary (Romarinus officinalis 'Prostratus') that came back from the dead, 5 is another established oregano.  I have to check my records and see if I can tell what these two are.  6 is a Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), 7 is a Lemon Catnip (Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora'), 8 is a German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), 9 is a Lime Scented Geranium (Pelargonium x nervosum), 10 is Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) and 11 is my favorite, Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla or citriodora).  P.S. There are established 12 Lavender Thyme (Thymus 'Lavender') and 13 Lime Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus 'Lime') towards the front of the bed.

Photo Three (Spacing in diagram is still off!)-



             3              4          3

In this space we planted 1 Rue (Rue graveolens), 2 Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) was already established here, 3 Dianthus 'Frosty Fire' (Dianthus x allwoodii 'Frosty Fire') were established and I added 4 Dianthus 'Chocolate' this year.

Photo Four (Spacing in diagram is off!)-

                                           1                                      2                                   3/6


                                          6                       7                         8                      6

This space has some established herbs with some newbies!  1 is Lovage (Levisticum officinale), 2 is a Green Pepper Basil (Ocimum selloi 'Green Pepper'), 3/6 is a mix of Oregano (Origanum vulgare) and Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), 4 is Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans), 5 is Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus), 6 are the Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), 7 is a Scented Geranium called 'Charity' (Pelargonium x asperum 'Charity'), and 8 is a volunteer Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina).  There are also lavenders that took a very heavy hit this winter sprinkled in this part of the bed.

Photo Five-

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These three lemon scented herbs were on the western facing windowsill during the winter.  They were all overachievers as far as size goes.  Remember we have the don't prune policy in our house.  Sometimes when we prune, we kill!  1 is a Scented Geranium called 'Lemon Meringue' (Pelargonium 'Lemon Meringue'), 2 is my favorite Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla or citriodora) and a Scented Geranium called 'Lemon Crispum' (Pelargonium crispum).  They all overachieved on the western facing windowsill.  Once they get comfortable in this part of the bed, I think we will give them a trim.

Photo Six (Once again, the scale is off!)-

                      1                                                                           1

                    3                                        1                                  3

This bed is a jumble of mostly old herbs that took big hits during the winter.  I'm just going to discuss the new herbs and then in a later post if the established herbs do well, I'll talk about them.  1 are one of my favorites Lemon Mint or Monarda (Monarda citriodora) and 2 is a tarragon (2014 Herb of the Year) (Artemisia dracunculus 'Sativa') and 3 are Sage plants (Salvia officinalis).  I had two old woody plants that took a hard hit and now the young plants are being pecked by the birds.  Can't win!

Photo Seven (Scale is off!)-

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                                            2              2            2

                                                     3                  3


This bed is where we plant our basils and behind in the bare soil, we have planted our nasturtium seeds.  1 is a Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis) I forgot to get Lemon Savory!  Have to remember that for next year.  2 is a favorite Lemon Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Mrs. Burns Lemon') and 3 is a basil called 'Boxwood' (Ocimum basilicum 'Boxwood').  We have sweet basil plants that are staying in a pot and basil seeds that were planted in pots as well.  We will see how they come along.  It hasn't been extremely hot yet.  It may take extra days to get them started.  Oh, and I got a Lime Mint that is going into a container.

So the last photo shows how it looks.  Why didn't I think of lemon sooner?  Hopefully in a couple of months it will be more filled out.  You know the photos will keep coming.  I just wanted to give props to the passionate herb growers who I bought these plants from this year and previous years, Well-Sweep Herb Farm in New Jersey, Beech Creek Gardens in Alliance, Ohio and Mulberry Creek Herb Farm in Huron, Ohio.  Also, in our immediate area here, I go to Brenkle's and McTighe's.  Those first three are my top three for herb plants.  They all are passionate herb collectors and all grow great herb plants!   We are going to be working on planting sunflower seeds tomorrow, mowing and weeding. (It never ends!)  We are supposed to have three beautiful days in the garden.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Best Part of Our Day with Marion!

Lots of Curb Appeal with Marion's House!
You Can Tell A Gardener Lives Here!
A Tranquil and Lovely Place to Garden!
Marion's Garden Just Keeps Going and Going!
It's a Tree Peony, not a Camellia!
Gets a Bit Wild at Marion's!
She Even Has Her Own Fox!
She Trials Plants for Mr. Fothergill's

Now Here is Something We Have on Our Patio in Pittsburgh, Figs!
A Beautiful Clematis Growing on the Garage!
Having a Cuppa with Marion!
Well, whenever you are feeling overwhelmed in your gardens, please feel free to come over to this blog and this post and really feel better.  I got so much out of my visit with Marion.  I think the biggest thought was not to sweat the small stuff and really enjoy what you have.  It may not be perfect, but nature is not perfect.  Marion's garden is a bit wild because every year she trims the nettle growing in her garden and places it on the paths for the seven species of butterflies to lay their eggs!  How more wonderful can it get?  I asked how often she works in the garden and she told me every day.  I said in my last post that I wanted to grow up and be like Marion.  If I'm only half as flexible as you are, dear Marion, I will be happy!  Does this young lady look 85?  I think not and gardening does agree with her!  Keep teaching about gardening and life, Marion!  You are my heroine and hopefully we will meet again one day soon!
Thanks for Spending the Day with Us, Marion

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Visit and So Much More to the University of Bristol Botanic Garden!

Entrance to the University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Floral Diversity Display
Marion with Gloria and Debs
Floral Diversity Garden and Pool
Wonderful Whimsical Structures in the Garden! 
Chinese Herb Garden
 Ginkgo Tree in the Chinese Herb Garden
A Very Happily Blooming Rosemary!
Western Herb Garden
Blooming Scented Geranium in the Glasshouse!
Very Happily Blooming Scented Geraniums in the Glasshouse!
One of the Tropical Zones in the Glasshouses
Three weeks ago, my English Herbal Companion, Gloria and my English friends, Debs and Simon Cook met with Marion Monahan at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.  Marion is a Facebook friend of both Debs and now me and did I tell you I want to grow up and be like Marion?  She actually came to the United States in her college days and was going to go to the University of Pittsburgh  until a tragic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike cut her plans short.  Marion obviously has survived that time very well.  She has had a full life as a chemist, a wife, a mother of seven and now volunteers at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden on a limited basis.  At the age of 85, Marion is a Scottish energizer bunny!  Constantly on the go and always learning about the plants she took care of in the gardens.  The University is lucky to have her and we were as well!

There were lots of beautiful parts of the gardens, but I'm going to focus on two gardens in particular, the Chinese Herb Garden and the Western Herb Garden.  The main part of the Chinese Herb Garden displays the plants in 'use categories'.  The ginkgo tree was planted by the Victorians and is a female which produces many small fruits which are highly prized in China both as a medicine and a vegetable, but that are foul smelling.  An ornamental collection of paeonies and bamboos are being planted with the herb garden.  "The Chinese Herb Garden has been developed through a partnership between the University Botanic Garden and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.  The partnership was founded in 1998 and each year students from the Register study at the Garden.  The garden and many of it plants are unique in Britain.

The Western Herb Garden has been designed as a circular garden surrounded by a beech hedge (which I think is in the process of being replaced).  The Garden is influenced by an ancient physic garden at Padua in Italy which was founded in 1545 and is thought to be have been the origin of the modern botanic garden.  The last several photos are of plants (scented geraniums in the glasshouses) and an overview of one of the five tropical zones in the glasshouses.  If you click the link above, you will find out about the history of this wonderful botanic garden.

So this is part one of our fabulous day with Marion.  Yes, you may be guessed what was next, we were invited to her garden.  Part two next time.  It has been a beautiful series of days here in the 'Burgh.  Have been working to get the beds planted and weeded.  Maybe should give you an update next time!  Talk to you later.  I received a comment from Marion to my post and I wanted to add it for you to read.
Lovely account and pictures, Nancy. But I did manage a year studying at Pitt before the accident drove me back home and know Pittsburgh well. Loved the Mellon Conservatory in a circle and the way the university campus came to life in the spring with forsythia gold in almost every garden. I enjoyed taking you round the Garden immensely.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Visit with Jekka McVicar, the Queen of Herbs, Bristol, England!

Herb Plants for Sale At Jekka's Herb Farm!
Hannah, Jekka's Talented Daughter and Me!
Jekka's Logo on WoodBlocx Bed!
Those Circular Beds Are Going to Have Jekka's Favorites in Them!
Wonderful Collections of Rosemarys and Mints!
The Mints Are All Contained.  This One is Basil Mint!
A Thyme Named for 'Jekka'!
A 'Green Ginger' Rosemary!
A New Lavender to Me called 'Pale Pretender'!
Greek Sage
English Mace
My Favorite, Lemon Verbena Making an Appearance!
2014 Herb of the Year for the US, Artemisia, French Tarragon!
A Very Happy and Healthy Salad Burnet!
Scots Lovage
Broad Leaved Sorrel
So Happy to be with Jekka!
She Is Always Excited to Give Tours of Her Herbetum!
My English Herbal Companion, Gloria, and my English friends, Debs and Simon Cook and I got to attend one of Jekka's Open Days at Jekka's Herb Farm in early May!  We couldn't have asked for a better day to share with Jekka!  Always happy to see her and her lovely and talented daughter, Hannah!  The new herbetum is beautiful.  So full of all varieties of herbs, big collections of mints, lavenders, thymes and rosemarys and British native herbs as well.  Of course, my favorite lemon verbena was included!  The herbs all had signs with uses.  I had never seen Scots lovage (Ligusticum scoticum) and the sign said the young leaves can be used in soups and seeds in breads and with vegetables and has a taste like celery similar to the regular lovage (Levisticum officinale).  I also got to see English mace which I grew briefly in my herb garden.  That sorrel is an herb that The Herbal Husband loves and we lost it in our severe winter this year.

Soon there will be a garden of Jekka's favorites.  I think 30 different herbs in all.  She is also still sells herbs at the nursery.  Just does not do mail order.  And if that all wasn't enough she was also busy getting ready to go to the Chelsea Flower Show in London.

She lead us on a tour of the new herbetum which is her pride and joy.  The beds give you the growing habits of herbs and how to contain them if necessary.  I think every visit will probably be a new and different experience as it should be.  I am learning daily about herbs and I hope to continue to do so until I go to the big herb garden in the sky.  I'm going to try next visit to find a time of year when I can take her out to lunch or dinner and spend some time with her.  Jekka (and Hannah) are two of my favorites.  We had such a great time together when Jekka came to the US for the national herb society meeting.  You can read about her visit with me in Pittsburgh in The Herb Channeler's Adventures with Jekka McVicar.  Jekka is a special herbal spirit and I am lucky enough to call her my friend.

We are madly planting in the herb garden.  I'll show you those photos in the coming days. Hope you had a great day.  It was a beautiful day here in the 'Burgh.  Talk to you later.