Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing, I Think!

The Herbal Husband and I discuss (only in the nicest way) about what we are going to do with all of the onions he has let reproduce (only in the nicest way) in the vegetable garden to the distraction of the bed space.  They are the walking or Egyptian onions.  They can be very ornamental but thousands we don't need.  OK, maybe it's hundreds.  The radishes are volunteers.  The Herbal Husband says he cut the tops off 400 extras!  I would say a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.  As my herbal companion, Bonnie, says we can start our own farmer's market.  Too many permits!  I hope you have too much of a good thing as well.  We are a lot cooler than yesterday.  Still working on clearing and planting.  Hopefully I'll show you the results soon.  Don't forget to get in on the Herb Companion magazine giveaway.  I forgot to mention one comment per person, please.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Favorite Herb Magazine and A Giveaway for You!

Here is the latest issue of The Herb Companion magazine.  I'm in it!  They reblogged a couple of posts I did and called it 4 Reasons to Love Lemon Verbena.   This issue has a very nice article about the lavender book I just reviewed for Timber Press and other interesting recipes and articles.  Sooo here is your chance to win a copy.  I have six (not five or ten) extra issues.  Even if you are some place other than the US, you can win!  So leave me a comment here or on Facebook.  The only exception is if you already subscribe to The Herb Companion.  I would like to give the issues to nonsubscribers, please.  This contest is going to be quick.  It will end on Friday, June 1st at 10:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.  Good Luck!   It has been hotter than Hades here.  We just had a big thunderstorm although it didn't cool it off much.  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Just Having a Bit of Fun! Forgot to Post!

We have been in the garden nonstop since we last talked and it appears we have some things done and other tasks are just waiting.  We are going to get very hot this weekend and again it's only May!  Plants that bloom later are blooming now!  It's going to be a flower less summer if the weather doesn't start behaving!  We got the 'Coppertina' ninebark planted.  Still have the viburnum to plant.  Hopefully once the weather gets cooler from the 90's to the 80's, we can plant it.
Finally could plant basils and hopefully sometime this week we will get a bed in the back of the garden cleaned out and we can plant the sunflowers seeds.  It has been the 40's at night and neither the basils nor the sunflowers like cold soils.
And this unknown rose is beautiful.  I think I'll call it 'The Herbal Husband'.  We are going to the movies today to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Really enjoyed the movie.  Great cast.  Wish we had seen a bit of more of India, but it was good.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend if you are reading this in the US.  Talk to you later.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

We are having just gorgeous weather to go and buy herb plants at herb farms across the country.  I have done two posts with a list of herb farms throughout the U.S.  Not every state unfortunately, but maybe you have a favorite that I missed.  Please let me know.   The photo above is from Stream Cliff Herb Farm in Cominsky, Indiana.  I was lucky enough to visit the year the International Master Gardener Conference was in Cincinnati, OH.  This is the first part called Herb Farms A-Z:  Finding Farms that Sell Herb Plants-Part One.

The second part of the post was published today and funny it is called Herb Farms A-Z:  Finding Farms that Sell Herb Plants-Part Two.  This is one of my favorite places to visit in Chagrin Falls, OH and it's called The Village Herb Shop.  Kathleen Gips, the owner, sells herbs from Mulberry Creek Herb Farm and I forget the other herbs she sells.  Her gardens are tended by her customers in classes throughout the season.  They always look great each year.  Got to run.  We mowed and planted new plants.  It's looking good.  I am an herb plunker and I can't change!  Just wanted to add  to the Pennsylvania list, a local herbalist, Joanie Lapic from Everlasting Gardener that she has herbs for sale as well.  The Everlasting Gardener is located in New Brighton, PA.  So if you are in the Pittsburgh area, check out the Everlasting Gardener.  I think I can feel a PA road trip coming soon!  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Herbal Designing on the Fly!

Well, we are going to have a string of beautiful days here and we are going to get some if not all of the plants I purchased planted.  So you may not see or hear from me for a tiny bit of time.  I'll try to post updates as we get sections planted.  I may be doing some herbal designing on the fly!  I wanted to make some small vignettes amongst the lavenders that are surviving.  I've got two lemon verbenas to plant that have been inside.  Those two red-veined sorrels that you see in the photo have been moved out.  They were taking up real estate and they needed to go.  The garlic chives were taken out over the past week.  So I have a bit of territory to design.  Not much, but it's something.  Where I usually plant the scented geraniums has been overtaken by lemon balm!  No surprise there.  So we will just work one section at a time.  I'll try to remember to take before and after photos!  I'll also be squishing four-lined plant bugs as we go.  My theory is if we leave some lemon balms at the perimeter of the garden.  They will stay there rather than come in and damage the nicest herb plants!  A little wishful thinking, herbally speaking!  Hope you had a great day.  Going to go make a list and do some combinations of plants and a plan.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Visit to Beech Creek Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve, Alliance Ohio

Visitor's Center at Beech Creek
A Nice Patio for a Picnic
Scented Geraniums in Containers
A Sweet Bay
The Plants for Sale
A Miniature Garden for Live Turtles!
My herbal companion, Bonnie and I made our annual trip to Ohio for plant shopping.  We used to go to Lily of the Valley Herb Farm.  Sadly it was sold this year, but the good news is they are selling plants at Beech Creek Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve.  They don't have all of the plants that they used to have, but we still managed to fill the new car with delightful smells for the trip home.  They are currently raising funds to complete a master plan.  They need members and volunteers to help Beech Creek succeed.  So if you are in the Alliance, Ohio area and would like to help, click on the link above to get details.  Hopefully, you have had a good day.  The weather has been changeable and we are still getting rain!  Hopefully, we will get some dry days so I can get the new kids planted.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lemon Verbena Lady's Book Review For Timber Press--The Lavender Lover's Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader

Lovely Front Cover of The Lavender Lover's Handbook
I got an e-mail from Timber Press recently asking if I would like to review books for them.  Heck yes!  I have purchased many books published by Timber Press over the years.  So it was a no-brainer.  Just so you know, I am not being compensated (Well, maybe a free book!) and just giving an honest review of the book.

My first review is The Lavender Lover's Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader.  I wasn't familiar with the author so I went to the back of the book and read her biography.  Ms. Bader is the owner of Lavender at Stonegate in Oregon and has planted at least 5,000 (Bet it's more now!) lavender plants.  I didn't need to know more.  I think she is a bit obsessed and in my opinion, that's great.  From the cover (Who doesn't love an adirondack chair in a field of blooming lavender?  Maybe a swarm of bees!)  There are smaller photos at the bottom to tease what's inside.

So I'm just going to take you through the book and highlight my notes.  From the preface where Ms. Bader had her a-ha moment with lavender.  It actually happened for me with lemon verbena on a hot summer day.  I should have taken an herbal liking to an herb that had more than just one cultivar!  I guess it's not too late!

The next chapter summed up Ms. Bader's love of lavender called Lavender Obsession:  An Introduction.  I really liked her charts with bloom colors, favorite lavenders, best lavenders for humid summers, best cold weather lavenders and lavenders with the strongest scent.  She explains types of lavender and explains common names that are different throughout the world.  I'm always preaching about learning botanical names and this is one of the reasons because as long as you know the botanical name, it will be the same throughout the world!   I'm sure now that Ms. Bader is obsessed and it's a very good thing!

In Lavender in the Garden:  Landscapes, Containers and Herb Gardens this chapter gives you lists of drought tolerant plants to plant with lavender, a list of early bloomers, all season lavenders, hedges of lavender and lavenders for containers.  This chapter also gives you ideas with photos of lavenders in landscapes with perennials for inspiration.

While this book is labelled a beginner's guide, as a gardener who has killed her fair share of lavenders, I loved the next chapter called The Lavender Palette:  100 Varieties to Try.  Being an herb plant collector as well, 100 varieties of lavender give you something to find in your travels.  There is a flower color and foliage color guide.  It is really helpful to see the cultivars chosen in bloom.  Ms. Bader also highlights her top ten favorites.

Under the Care and Cultivation:  From Planting to Pruning, Harvesting and Drying chapter, the author's explanations of soil preparation, pH levels and fertilizers for lavender growing are very easy to understand.  She talks about the difference of growing lavenders from seed and cuttings with her own tested method for rooting lavender cuttings.  Ms. Bader goes into irrigation issues, insect, wildlife and disease problems.  Then she gives you a year by year (for the first three years) pruning schedule. Boy, do I need that!
How NOT to Prune Lavender!
Ms. Bader also talks about harvesting and drying lavender for the best results.  She goes into the best lavenders for culinary use and gives some good culinary recipes from herb blends like Herbes de Provence and main dishes such as Mediterranean Chicken to desserts like lavender and lemon verbena ice cream.  Think there is an additional reason for enjoying dessert!

The final chapter called Scented Creations:  Wands, Wreaths, Swags, Sachets and Beyond.  gives you a list of the best lavenders for crafts with the best color and staying power.  I especially liked the lavender wreaths, herb box, herb swag, all-purpose cleaner, lavender spray and lavender dryer sachet recipes.

There is a nice Resources section with lavender associations and festivals and mail order plant companies.  The Further Reading page had a nice list of supplemental reading including my favorite herb magazine, The Herb Companion.  Even the back cover is a wonderful field of blooming lavender.
The Lavender Continues to Bloom on the Back Cover!
While this is a very good beginner's book for lavender growing, I think it is just as good for an advanced gardener.  That 100 varieties chapter of lavender would encourage me to purchase it.  I also have really FINALLY learned how to prune my lavenders the proper way!  REALLY, I have!  Yes, Jekka in England, I have found out the correct way to prune lavender.  I think over all Ms. Bader takes into consideration different factors that go into growing lavender in the different regions of the U.S.  The only negatives that are keeping it from being a national book for me, would be the four-lined plant bug that attacks members of the mint family including lavender in sections of the mid-atlantic states and maybe the northeast and additional mail order nurseries that sell lavender in the eastern part of the country, like Well-Sweep Herb Farm in New Jersey, Companion Plants in Ohio and Sandy Mush Herb Nursery in North Carolina.  Maybe in the next edition!

I also found an online excerpt from the book at The Herb Companion website.  Overall, I highly recommend The Lavender Lover's Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader to you.  Hope you enjoy reading it and using the lavender wisdom from Ms. Bader.  I have a vegetable book to review next time.

Finally, going to get outside.  The garden is growing like a weed and not an herb!  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Pretty Weed! Erigeron Annuus! Thanks FlowerLady!

OK, I always seem to have a weed/flower that never makes it into the weed book.  The closest plant I can find is the white heath aster.  It doesn't bloom until late summer!  Oops!  I guess it's just early like everything else!  Well, I just want to get it pulled before it spreads thousands of seeds everywhere.  You'll cover for me in case you know who wants to know where it went!  Well, thanks to my FlowerLady in Florida came up with the ID for me Erigeron annuus or Eastern Daisy Fleabane. Very soggy and humid in the 'Burgh!  Got my walk in and that's all that matters.  Hope you are having a great day.  Got to go read.  I'll explain tomorrow.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Some 'Wine and Roses' for Mom's Day!

Weigela 'Wine and Roses'
Peony 'Tom Eckhardt'
and maybe a peony too!  This weigela is called 'Wine and Roses' so I thought it was appropriate for all of you moms out there celebrating today.  You had better be off your feet and one of your beloved family is taking care of you all day!  You all deserve it!

The peony was a freebie at a conference I attended a few years back.  Freebies are always a good thing.  Its name is 'Tom Eckhardt'.  One of the Klehm family was speaking at the conference.  You can find lovely peonies at Klehm's Song Sparrow Perennial Farm just not this one.   You can't visit Klehm's so I won't mention where they are located!  It is mail order only!  As you can see they have fabulous plants and from what I remember they have a wonderful catalog.

It is trying very hard to rain on Mom's Day.  I got my walk in without too many raindrops.  So hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Take time to pamper yourself even if it isn't Mom's Day where you may be.  Talk to you later.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

More Kids for the Garden!

Physocarpus opulifolious or Ninebark 'Coppertina'

Viburnum x burkwoodi!  Finally!
Yesterday we had garden center coupons burning a hole in our pockets!  So we had to go use them.  We got these two gems for the front garden.  The top one is called Ninebark and it is a native for my master gardening friend, Shelley!   See, I don't always buy invasives.  Well, mostly, but not this time!  Then The Herbal Husband has been wanting a fragrant viburnum and I have bought every single other nonfragrant one but this one.  So FINALLY The Herbal Husband has his smelly viburnum.  That's the good news.  The bad news is he has to wait until next year for it to bloom!  We also bought some other herbs and tomato plants at one of our favorite garden centers, Brenckle's.  They were known for their annuals and still are, but they have so much more.  We are still going to be a few more nights in the 40's which isn't good for basil, but then all restrictions are off and we can get planting.  It will give me a bit more time to plan.  Got parsley, basil, marjoram, and an 'Arp' rosemary.  Haven't had an 'Arp' for a while and if any rosemary can get through the winter, it would be an 'Arp'.  Wish I had had it in the ground last winter.  May not have one of those winters again for a while!
Assorted Herbs for Lemon Verbena Lady
Some Tomato Plants for The Herbal Husband
I can't eat tomato sauce any more, but we still managed to buy ten tomato plants!  I guess I'm going to be eating a lot of caprese salads or tomato and peanut butter sandwiches (It's a Kittanning sandwich!)  Well, I did two things I really never do on the weekends.  I went to the grocery store and a garden center in early May and on Mother's Day weekend.  The plants were just calling out to both of us!  Hope you are having a great weekend whether you are a mom or not.  I'm a sort of, because of Miss C and her brother.  She was confirmed this week and will graduate from Middle School in June.  Her brother has graduated from St. Vincent today!  Yikes!  It is a great mom's day for his mom!  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Always Glad to See These in the Garden! My Submission ID Was Correct!!

The roses across the way from this rugosa are just full of aphids.  Aphids are a favorite food of the lady beetle.  I think I'm finally getting the hang of my camera.  This little cutie was on the rugosa rose the other day.  I think it's probably a multicolored Asian lady beetle.  I need to submit the photo to the Lost Ladybug Project.  You can submit photos as well.  They are always happy to find new types and where you found them.  Just wanted you to know that I got my ID correct!  Here is a link to my submission.  The photo on the left isn't as good as the recent one, but it is of a native ladybug.  So I guess that's even better!  It is sort of cool in the garden.  We probably got over a half of an inch of rain.  The rain gauge hasn't gone outside so how can I really gauge how much rain has fallen?  Oh well, eventually we will get it outside and then the measuring will begin.  Hope you are having a great day or evening wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Herb of the Year, 2012, The Rose and An Update About Our Friend!!

I was getting ready to go to Canada last year about this time so I think I must have missed this beautiful rose.  This is a rugosa rose called 'Alba' and for being edible it is the most delicious one I have ever had.  Roses have been around for centuries.  Shakespeare spoke of them in his plays.  I just got a book about roses appropriately called Rose (Rosa) Herb of the Year 2012 compiled and edited by Susan Belsinger and the International Herb Association.  It is mostly in black and white but it does have a section of color photos and a wealth of information about the rose.

We usually start fertilizing our roses about April 1 and end about August 1.  We usually use an organic fertilizer of some kind because as the fertilizer is taken up by the plant the majority of the fertilizer ends up in the flowers.  You don't want to be ingesting more chemicals into your body.  I always say that I probably would glow in the black light with all of the chemicals I have ingested over the years.  Another favorite rose book of mine is by Stephen Scanniello called A Year of Roses.  I should be reading this every year to refresh my memory.  It gives you good basic information month by month for major chores to be done if you have one bush or a bunch of rose bushes.

Finally, a rose book by one of my favorite contemporary herbal authors (He is alive and well and living in Missouri.), Jim Long.  He wrote How to Eat A Rose way back in 2004 and it has been revised (with color photos) and has a lot of good recipes using roses.  

I also want to give you very good news.  All of your thoughts and prayers have helped our friend, Deana get to her 40th birthday over the weekend.  After an exhaustive year of treatment, she is in remission!  Her numbers continue to be great.  In case you don't remember, she has been battling multiple myeloma. She has the fantastic support of her family and friends.  Happy, happy 40th dear Deana!  She celebrated with her husband on a cruise to Bermuda.  There is no one more deserving than you!

It is very rainy here.  As you can see the lemon verbena is leaping out of the ground.  We are going to be in the 30's later in the week, but it should get through that just fine.  The bucket may make a return appearance.  I'm probably going to be all over the place with posts now because topics are coming fast and furiously!  I have lost some plants in the herb garden (by force) and death so I'm going to do a quick redesign and I'll share that with you as I come up with a plan!  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk  to you later.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The First Herb Plants of the Season!

Seriously, don't you love this time of year?  Really I'm excited about what is happening in the garden, but it is at warp speed this year.  We have been so warm that everything is blooming early.  I don't always pay attention to what's going on in the front garden and I almost missed the rugosa blooming away!  Since the rose is the herb of the year, I should be talking about roses more.  For another post.

Well, these new herbal kids are from Kathleen Gips' lovely Village Herb Shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  These are all from Mulberry Creek Herb Farm out in Huron, Ohio.  I got several scented geraniums, a couple of rues, a couple of thymes, some 'lemon gem' marigolds and several lavenders.  I'll show you where I'm going to plant them in the garden later.  My herbal companion, Bonnie and I had a fun day having a tea experience and shopping at Kathleen's.   Two of our favorite things to do.

I have a lot of space (sort of) with the garlic chives out of the herb garden.  I found three dead lavender plants while I was taking out the garlic chives!  So I have lots to talk about and will do it in upcoming posts.  Just remind me if there is a subject that I forgot to writing about!  Getting old and forgetful!  I forgot which herb is most helpful!  Is that ginko?  Going to work on the garden before it storms.  I just yawned.  I got my walk in early which is a good thing but sometimes I need that extra sleep!  Forgot to mention that I've added a new little feature on the right hand column showing you the progress of my lemon verbena that's coming back from the ground.  I smelled its little leaves yesterday and it just has the most wonderful lemon smell.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The First Herbal Move!

The kids went outside yesterday for the first time this year.  The figs have been suffering because of the lack of light.  They start to drop their leaves like they are going dormant.  One of the figs has not produced one single fig.  It was told yesterday that it had better start producing or else it will be planted in the ground and probably won't produce at all!  One plant has about 20 figs on it already and hopefully they will mature.  Sometimes they drop off like a June drop kind of thing that fruit trees do.  There is that sideways lavender.  Sorta of looks like an herbal bonsai from here.  I wanted to show you a full length photo of the peppermint scented geranium.  It's an herbal monster and smells so good and has many flowers.
Well, I finally got most of the lawn mowed.  We have been having enough rain that it has made it tricky to get out and mow.  Going to Chagrin Falls tomorrow for tea.   Going to finish mowing on Sunday and getting back to getting the garlic chives out of my garden.  Hopefully I will have some new herbs to plant tomorrow.  Hope you had a great day.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

They're Baack!

You may have to click on this photo to get a better image, but the four-lined plant bugs are back.  Probably earlier than usual.  Curses!  Really this is a cosmetic problem, but they really like members of the mint family and that includes a litany of herbs not just mint.  Here is a post I did in 2010 called Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine.  Gives you a little better look at the damage on oregano (one of its favorites) and other herbs it likes.  Because of the mild winter and warm to hot spring, they are out a little bit earlier than usual and may last a bit longer as well.  I leave a lot of lemon balm for them to attack on the perimeter of the garden.  They do not fly when they are in the nymph stage, but do fly when they are adults.  Again, mostly cosmetic damage that can be trimmed back once they are done.  They can last into July!  Just one generation, but it can seem like forever.

Hope you had a great day.  We got our big containers out.  I warned The Herbal Husband that the 40's were still possible.  He has faith that it will only be in the 50's.  Hope he is right or we will be moving plants back into the garage!  Oh the pain of gardening!:-}  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A List of Tender Perennial Herbs

OK, here is my last list of herbs, tender perennials.  Let me know if I forgot any favorites.  It just works out that in botanical names, lemon verbena is first on my list.  For you ladies and gentlemen in the southern climates, these would all be perennials for you.  I'm taking a herbal moment here because you are all so very lucky!  As I told you in various "mild" winters such as we had this past one, I may have gotten some on this list through the winter.  Although none of the scented geraniums outside made it through, my curry plant did make it through as did a lemon verbena.  That is very atypical for those plants.  My 23 year old plus or minus sweet bay is doing well in its container.  I also got two rosemarys through and a pineapple sage inside. 

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) is my favorite herb.  It is a native of South America and can grow up to ten feet in its native land.  Lemon verbena is propagated by cuttings not by seed.  You grow lemon verbena for its leaves not its flowers.  I grow it both in my garden and in a pot.  It gets to about four feet in the ground in the northern climates.  I always try to put one in a container to bring it inside for the winter.  Once inside it almost always drops its leaves and goes dormant.  Water it every week to ten days inside.  It will start leafing out in February or so and you will be able to put it out again in May after the threat of frost.  I use lemon verbena leaves fresh in cooking and baking.   It is like the bay leaf.  You need to take that midrib out of the leaf before you use it to cook.  Dried leaves can be used in tea blends or for potpourri.  You can plant this mid to back of the herb border and dig it up and bring it back in for the winter.  This is a link to my initial post on this magical herb in 2008 called What’s in an Herbal Name.

Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum) is a wonderful herb that smells like the curry spice but is not the plant that produces it.  Curry is a blend of several herbs together.  This is a lovely gray leaved herb that produces yellow button flowers.   The one fact that I didn’t know about curry is that it repels bees!  I really do like the plant so I will  continue to grow it.  It would be a front of the herb border plant in my herb garden.  Here is a post I did several years ago about the curry plant.

Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis) is a wonderful container plant that can grow to about six feet tall.  It is perennial for Zones 8-10.  Propagation is from cuttings and that can take many months to root.  Healthy trees respond to pruning and shearing.  The only real problem with bay trees is that it can get scale.  Use the leaves fresh or dried.  In both cases for cooking they should be removed before serving the prepared food.  Here is a link for a post I did when sweet bay was the herb of the year.  I would just plant it in a container if you are in the northern part of the US and forget about using it in a border.  Some gardeners dig a hole for the container and then in August or September get it out and start taking it inside to get it accustomed to the changes.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) is considered a tender perennial, but I treat it as an annual in my garden.  I have had it comeback in certain years, but that does not happen often.  I love it even more than Greek oregano.  I love the knotted white flowers in the late summer.  You need to be clipping this herb so it doesn’t go to flower too quickly and using it fresh or drying it to use during the winter.  I love to make an herbal butter and use it on fresh veggies like corn on the cob.  It is a low grower and should be at the front of the border.  I talked about sweet marjoram in this post about Shakespeare's herbs.

Scented Geranium (Pelargonium sp.) is a native of South Africa and is considered a tender perennial in zones north of 9, but this is another herb that I treat as an annual.  It is very easy to take cuttings and bring them in for the winter.  It is nice to have a scented geranium on a windowsill that you can sniff the leaves from time to time.  It seems in mild winters that varieties such as coconut or apple will reseed and come back in the garden.  You definitely grow them for their leaves and not their flowers.  They need full sun with the exception of peppermint-scented scented geraniums that need afternoon shade.  Scented geraniums are very good in a container situation.  Lemon, rose, peppermint and apple are some of my favorite scents.  Used in baking a cake as a liner to the cake pan or dried in a potpourri, scented geraniums are a versatile herb.  Because there are many sizes and shapes of scented geraniums, I would use them in the front or mid-range of the herb border.  The small sizes are great in a container as shown in this post from my blog in 2009.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a native of the Mediterranean region and is a tender perennial in the northern part of the US.  In native lands it can grow to six feet tall.  We usually have at least two rosemarys in the garden, one upright variety and one prostrate.  Rosemary is just not hardy for us here in the ‘Burgh.  Propagation is by layering or stem cuttings.  You should provide well-drained soil to prevent root rot and good air circulation to discourage powdery mildew.  We usually keep at least one rosemary in a container so it can be brought inside.  With the mild winter we had it might even have made it through the winter.  If you are going to try to get a rosemary through the winter, go with the 'Arp' variety.  This is the year that I didn't leave one in the garden.  It would be a front or mid-range herb in the border.  This is a post I did from last year called One of My Favorites-Rosemary.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is a tender perennial of the large salvia family.  It is about four feet tall in my herb garden and has beautiful red tubular flowers that hummingbirds love as you can see in my post called My Herbal Dream Come True.  The leaves have the wonderful scent and taste of pineapple.  You must use them fresh because the leaves do not dry well.  I usually use them chopped finely in my fruit salads for breakfast in the summer or you can use the fresh leaves in your cold iced tea or lemonade.  We had a pineapple sage make it through the winter on a south facing windowsill.  Pineapple sage does well in the mid-range to the back of the herb border.

Been rainy and warm in the garden.  Hoping to get back out to work in it some time later this week!  The weeds are growing.  Hope you are having a great day.  Thanks for stopping by my herb garden.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

This is the first of my guest blogs for The Herb Companion Magazine called Herb Catalogs:  Ready, Set and Plant Those Herbs, Part 1.  It takes you back to when I started my herb garden 22 years ago!  The Sandy Mush Herb Nursery was the herb catalog that brought a box full of herbs to my door all those years ago.  I also talk about Goodwin Creek Gardens in Oregon and Well-Sweep Herb Farm in New Jersey.  Both mail order herbs to your door.
Herb Catalogs:  Ready, Set and Plant Those Herbs, Part 2 is also on the Herb Companion blog site.  It talks about Mulberry Creek Herb Farm in Ohio.  Also there is an international connection with Richters in Ontario, Canada.  Yes, you can bring plants back to the US with the right paperwork.  Finally, I talk about a cherished name in the herb world, DeBaggio's Herb Farm in Virginia.  So please check out my posts and let me know what you think.  I have another two part guest post coming in the next couple of weeks for The Herb Companion, a kind of national list of herb farms that sell plants.  So stay tuned.  Getting warm here and maybe down right hot!  Not hot enough or consistent enough to plant tender basil seeds.  Still might get into the 30's briefly.  Watch that long-range forecast this time of year.  Very important.  Talk to you later.