Monday, December 31, 2012

Lemon Verbena Lady's Herbal Year in Review-2012

January-A Bit of Snow Covering the Herb Garden
February-Always Nice to See the Herb Garden in Winter

March-The Apothecary's Rose Has Come to Life

April-The Herb Garden Made the Herb Society of America's Calendar

May-Lemon Verbena Coming Back in the Herb Garden
June-My First Attempt at a Video in the Herb Garden
July-The Last Time I Had a Repost in The Herb Companion
August-Was the Year for Sunflowers in the Garden
September-Last Issue of The Herb Companion Sold
October-'Cup of Sun' Nasturtiums Were Wonderful

November-Lemon Verbena Thriving on a Western Facing Windowsill

December-The Herb Garden As We Began 2012 Covered with Snow

 I'm not sure how we got to this point already!  New Year's Eve and the end of 2012.  I think overall it was a good year in the herb garden and in the garden overall.  The Herbal Husband and I got it back into shape after being away a lot of last year.  We had very hot early and then we cooled down for the end.  Seems like we started with and ended with a blanket of snow.  February and March were mild by winter standards in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The herb garden was a calendar selection in the Herb Society's calendar for 2012 in April.  May brought the triumphant return of the lemon verbena from the ground in the herb garden.  One of my greatest achievements in 2012!  In June I attempted a video tour of the herb garden.  July brought the last repost of my guest blog, The Herb Channeler for The Herb Companion magazine.  August was sunflower month in the garden.  They were gorgeous!  September brought the end of The Herb Companion magazine after almost 24 years of publication.  October was the month of nasturtiums.  November should be a highlight of Thanksgiving, but no we bring you my lemon verbena in a container on a windowsill in full leaf!  It is usually two sticks when it comes inside. December has been cold these last few days and finally snowy!  I had a few trips to NYC and southeastern PA with my friend, Bonnie.

I have started guest blogging for Mother Earth Living magazine, but I have also decided to take a short break from that to do some research and refresh my herbal mind.  I'll be back blogging for them in March, 2013.  As for resolutions, I'm not big on that.  I have been going through the 1,100 plus posts and trying to make them more finder friendly.  I'm not sure I'm succeeding.  I have pulled out a few of the classic and contemporary herbal authors and their books and may do some posts on their herbal lives and thoughts.  I also need to get down to my workspace and do some herbal tea blends cause it is just too cold out there at the moment and too white with snow.  So if you have any thoughts about what you want to hear and see in 2013 from Lemon Verbena Lady, please let me know.  Oh, I may try to do a few more videos in 2013.  I would like to say Happy New Year to all of my blogging friends and faithful readers!  May we all have a peaceful and safe celebration for the new year!  See you in 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Still Some Green Even with Snow!

This is a butterfly bush that is still surviving outside close to the house.  This is why this plant is on so many invasive species lists.  With the snow we are getting today though it may be buried when we go to shovel.  Well, as I always say, it is winter kids and if you don't want snow you need to be in a warmer location!  The sound of snow blowers in the background is annoying, but necessary.  Hope you are warm and cozy wherever you may be.  Got to work on the outside.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Nice Warm Lunch on a Frosty Day! Well, Not Really!

Once again the tropical Herbal Husband comes up with a satisfying lunch.  If you can't quite tell by the marvelous photo, it is avocado topped with chicken salad, a hard boiled egg and tomato and lettuce and maybe a couple of big green olives (a weakness of mine).  The avocado is a healthy fat, the chicken salad is made with lite mayo, a hard boiled egg is my favorite quick protein snack and tomato and lettuce is just great nutritious  filler.  I sprinkle it with a Tuscan Sunset Italian salt-free blend from Penzeys Spices.  Perfect.

Well, it is just cold and snowy here.  Take a look.
We got that gray 'Burgh day going on.  I think tomorrow may be a sunny day and I will get out and take a few sunny photos.  Promise.  Gotta go and work for my next lunch by shoveling a path to the car and getting the car cleaned off!  Talk to you later!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gotten A Bit Crazy in the Snow Department!

Birdies Going Crazy Trying to Get the Food in the Birdhouse!

Christmas Dinner-Chicken Divan-Divine!

Have to Have These at Holiday Meals!
Well, hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day.  I have to say I was relieved to get up this morning and be able to drive down to the grocery store and get some needed items.  The forecasters were just enough off to allow me to get there and back before the snow started to come down.  Thank God for the wrong forecast!  As you can see in the photos above, the landscape has become snowy.  Sorry for all of you in the warm climates, this is Christmas weather and winter is a season and I will always love it.  I said on Facebook last night ask me again in ten years, but for now, I really still love it.  Don't have to commute in it and can stay home and watch it come down with my mug of tea!  Now don't let the power go off!

I think the other two photos are self-explanatory.  Christmas dinner last dinner was delicious.  I just have been wanting to make this dish for a while and what better time than Christmas.  The chicken divan was divine and those crescent dinner rolls just filled in that carb gap to soak up the sauce.  We were even invited over to the neighbor's dinner, 30 plus people and a sick hostess with a throat sickness that she always seems to get.  We decided to pass and stay in the calm and quiet and be able to eat in our sweats.  The neighbor's older son even invited himself to our house!  I said you are always welcome.  He stayed in the merriment.  I'll catch you up with more photos later.  We aren't going to get a large amount of snow like they thought, but I hear the pinging of icy rain on the windows.  A good thing to be staying inside!  Stay warm.  I'll talk to you later. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Getting Ready for the Snow and BTW!

Well, Merry Christmas everyone!  I was awakened this morning by The Herbal Husband screaming get your camera and come take a picture of Santa's helpers.  We always get a visit this time of year by at least one of them.  This year was two of them.  The doe was under the grape arbor and once she got up and started to walk out of the garden, we saw she was limping.  The buck had his velvet antlers.  Never a dull moment for us.

They may come back later on to stay for the night.  I'll post another shot of the two of them on my Facebook page.  Hope you are having a great Christmas.  My turn to cook and I'm making Chicken Divan.  Here's a link for my recipe, Chicken Divan.  Snow, freezing rain, a general mess coming our way tonight.  I told The Herbal Husband, "Just chill!  We don't have to go anywhere!"  Always a good thing.  Stay safe wherever you may be.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas To You All!

Just a bit of white, but boy, is it cold!  Freezing!  Just a last minute change to the banner page and a peek at the front door.  Very minimalist!  Trust me.  If we get a brighter day between now and when I post again, I will post a new banner photo.  Will see you after Christmas and we will work in the herbal workshop.  Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers from Lemon Verbena Lady and The Herbal Husband.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Having Lunch and Dinners with Friends!

This was our dinner the other night.  One of our favorites, beans and rice and salmon cake.  We have been celebrating the season with lunch and dinner with friends.  So hope you understand I'm going to take a small break and you might see my banner page change with the snowfall predicted but I'll be back blogging shortly.  Happy Holidays to you all!  I'll talk to you soon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear Tovah Martin,

I read with interest your Growing Panes article in the November/December 2012 Hobby Farm Home magazine giving gardeners ideas for which herbs to grow inside for the winter.  I have to disagree though on two of your selections for the Don't List, particularly lemon verbena and lavender.  I understand that lemon verbena typically drops its leaves and plays dead.  Some people don't want to take care of sticks during the winter months.  I get that.  This is my lemon verbena at this moment on a western facing windowsill.
I have routinely gotten a lemon verbena through the winter, both with and without leaves.  I will harvest these leaves for tea and bread.  If I use all of the leaves before the end of the year or the end of January, it will start producing leaves again in earnest in February and by May will be a very full bushy lemon verbena ready to go outside.  Lemon verbena does have problems indoors, spider mites and white flies, but both of those problems go away when it goes outdoors.  I understand how most people including me, have limited window space, but some gardeners love the challenge of getting tender perennials through a harsh winter.

Again even though you have lavender on the Don't List, I have had success getting tender lavenders through the winter both in my garage which faces south and on the west facing windowsill.  I read in your book The Unexpected Houseplant that you too have had success with 'Goodwin Creek' Lavender.  This is my 'Goodwin Creek' this year.  It may be a bit sparse at the bottom, but it will come through the winter in good shape.
Lavenders are less prone to pests and diseases indoors than other herbs.  The only other problem for both of these plants is over or under watering as is with every houseplant.  So Dear Tovah Martin please don't put lemon verbena and lavender on your Don't List for indoor herbs.  They can make it through the winter indoors with proper attention and care.


Lemon Verbena Lady

Monday, December 17, 2012

And The Winner Is...

The Cheese Making Basket, The Official Name Picking Basket of Lemon Verbena Lady

The Official Pick from the Basket by The Herbal Husband

Oh, the magic cheese making basket has picked MARCY LAUTANEN-RALEIGH!  I will try to get in touch with you, Marcy, but if you could please e-mail your address and we will package up your basket plus surprises and get it in the mail today.  Yes, I will once again be standing in line at the post office for my loyal readers!  Got to run this errands day.  So I'll talk to you later.  I just wanted to thank everyone who reads my blog and for participating in the giveaway. Congrats to Marcy!  E-mail me with your address!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Time is Ticking Down! Last Chance to Enter!

The Scented Home for the Holidays Gift Basket

The Village Herb Shop Garden
Just a reminder that you have just a bit over 12 hours until the big pick at 10 AM EST tomorrow, December  17, 2012.  The odds are really good so if you haven't commented, NOW would be a great time.  I wanted to give you one more look and remember I'm going to throw in some other goodies as a surprise.  Don't you love Christmas surprises?  Don't wait!  You could be out of luck!  I will accept comments on this post as well.  I also wanted to show Kathleen's lovely herb garden still with a lot of green showing!  So hope you had a great day.  We had a Lima, Peru kind of day.  Gray and dreary!  Talk to you later.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Scented Holiday Basket Giveaway! US Readers Only!

My deepest sympathy goes to the parents of the children lost in today's massacre.  My thoughts and prayers are with the parents and with those families who may have lost a loved one.  It is just heartbreaking.

This is the basket that we enjoyed making at The Village Herb Shop today.  It is a basket jammed with herbal products that will put your house in the holiday spirit.  I'm still not sure what else is going in the box and depending on what size box we send, you may not get a basket at all just the goodies inside and let me tell you from Carol's experience last year, you will want this basket.  Here is A Scented Home of the Holidays Basket with the following items:

A reed diffuser kit with popcorn garland as the scent
Frankincense and Myrrh Room Spray
1 Quart of Jingle Bell Potpourri scented with a Christmas fragrance such as bayberry and cinnamon
Peppermint and Rose All Purpose Cleaner
Simmering Spice Bag with cinnamon and sweet orange essential oils

I'm going to add a couple of entertaining (double entendre there) additions, such as jelly or jam (made by me) and maybe a couple of surprises if they fit.  So pray for a big old box to be sent your way.  This giveaway will end on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10 AM EST.  Please one entry per US reader.  This will be a short turn around because of the late date.  We will want to get this in the mail to you on Monday.  So if you could also e-mail me your mailing address when you comment on this post, I will get it in the mail to the lucky winner on Monday just as soon as I can and giving me your mailing address early will ensure that the box will get in the Monday's mail.  Selection will be made in the above basket by the fair and square Herbal Husband's pick unless we get hundreds of entries.   P.S. You can comment (not just like) the post on Facebook, but I will need you to e-mail me your address ahead of selection on Monday.  Thanks for your cooperation.

I would also encourage you to buy from smaller businesses like The Village Herb Shop and The Rosemary House and have tea at your local tearooms, like Sweet Remembrances and buy American if at all possible!  It will help the economy grow and provide new jobs.

It is really frosty this morning but we are going to be very mild later today for December which I am NOT complaining about!  Snow to cover the ground on Christmas would be nice.  Asking early and hopefully, Santa will come through!  OK, trust me on this one.  You will want this basket and I will have a real photo of it on this post tomorrow.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.  P.S. My MEL blog post has photos this morning.  Thanks to the TI team at MEL and my favorite editor, Gina DeBacker!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest Blogging for Mother Earth Living Magazine!

A Collection of English Tea Items
A Collection of Japanese Tea Items

A Collection of American Tea Items
Lots of Green in the Rosemary House Gardens Late in the Season
The IT team at Mother Earth Living got my photos posted with my post.  Yippee!  My post for Mother Earth Living magazine is called The Herb Shop Owners Who Inspired Me to Start My Blog.  My two favorite sisters who have a blog called Rosemary's Sampler inspired me a while back to blog for myself.

They own Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances tearoom.  Susanna Reppert-Brill and Nancy Reppert are two of my favorite rosemarys and I hope you can see with my posts that they are both passionate and fabulous shop owners and if you are in the area of Mechanicsburg, PA, you need to stop by and do some holiday shopping and take afternoon tea or even late morning will work for Nancy.  The photos above are additional collections from Nancy's tearoom and a photo of some green that was still in the Rosemary House Gardens in late November.  In fact the bay trees and lemon verbena were still outside.  Hope you enjoy the posts.  Talk to you later.

Holiday Shopping at The Rosemary House & Garden!

The Inviting Holiday  Front Door of The Rosemary House!
Books by both Mr. and Mrs. Reppert
A Special Tribute to Mrs. Reppert
Homemade Herbal Extracts
Herbal Gift Items and Oh, Look Herb Companion Magazine!
Tea Accessories, Scrapbooks and Nancy Reppert's Cookbooks
Fairie Gardening Accessories
Herbal Vinegars and Mixes
Gardening and Herb Books and More Herbal Gift Items
Lotions and Fragrances
Wow, What a Nice Lemon Verbena!
A Gnome in the Rosemary
Teapots Adorning the Arbor
A Remembrance Stone for Bertha and Byron Reppert!
Rosemary House is an herb business started by Bertha Reppert in 1968 and is one of (if not the) oldest herb businesses in the United States.  As I hope you can see from the photos, Susanna is carrying on the herbal tradition with many herbal gift ideas, homemade herbal extracts, herb mixes, herb books, by her mother, a book on Mechanicsburg, by her father, Byron, who was the Mayor, her sister, Nancy (cookbooks) and Susanna has written a scrapbook on herbal cosmetics.  It is really a family affair.  Everything you can want if you are an herb addict like me.  I even called Susanna today to order some things I forgot when I was there last week!  I hope that if you are close to Mechanicsburg, PA, a short drive from Harrisburg and less than two hours from Baltimore and Washington, that you will stop by this holiday season and get some shopping done for the herb people in your life. 

Additional Holiday Tea and Decor from Sweet Remembrances!

Sweet Remembrances' Holiday Front Door
The Decorated Front Staircase!
A Collection of Culinary Santas!
A Decorated Feather Tree!
A Collection of Santas and Christmas Items Over the Doorway!
Remembrances of Christmas Past
A Beautifully Decorated Tree
A Festive Tea Table Ready for Treats!
Mixed Greens with Maple Dijon Mustard topped with Maple Candied Pecans!
English Cream and Lemon Currant Scones Warm from the Oven with Sweet Cream, Jam and Lemon Curd!
Basil Pesto Chicken Salad Triangles, Almond Egg Salad, Pineapple & Pecan Rounds and Parmesan Cheese Toasts!
Snowflake Tea
White Cake with Holly Leaves, Pumpkin Nut Roll and Peanut Butter Fudge!
Nancy's Homage to Her Mother
I hope you get the sense of what a wonderful tearoom Sweet Remembrances is.  It is filled with memories and love from a very close and loving family.  Afternoon tea is special at Sweet Remembrances and add the holidays and it is just more magical, delicious and worth every extra calorie.  As I said in my Mother Earth Living post, Nancy loves to play with food to our enjoyment and pleasure.  I really feel like I'm at home when I take tea there.  We even saved our fudge for dessert at dinnertime.  It was the perfect end of our day.  Hope you get to have tea at Nancy's if not for the holidays in the very near future.  I'll share a few more of her collections in a future post.