Tuesday, October 30, 2012

OK Here in the 'Burgh!

The garden is very soggy, but we made it through the winds with only a brief power loss, a minute or two at most.  We can't complain.  Still saying prayers for the people to the east of us in eastern PA, NY and NJ.    Although the new furnace we got a month ago is having problems!  It is always something even when it is new!  Hope you understand I'm going to take a break from blogging.  Will start again next week.  We are supposed to make our annual trip to eastern PA and NJ this coming weekend.  May not happen.  Hope you are safe wherever you may be.  Talk to you next week.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just Wanted to Say!

Praying for everyone on the east coast.  It hasn't gotten bad here in the 'Burgh yet.  In fact we were supposed to have an inch and a half of rain by this time and the forecasters were wrong so far.  Thank God!  I've sent my first post to Mother Earth Living.  Hopefully, you will see that shortly even if I can't see it.  Sandy's wrath is supposed to start tomorrow morning or afternoon and progressively get worse.  I don't think we are to have as much rain as the east coast, but we are supposed to get wet snow for Halloween.  Hopefully, they will postpone it until it is better.  Keeping our fingers crossed that we don't lose our power.  That's why I'm posting this so if you don't hear from me for a while.  I'll post again as soon as I can.  Stay safe.  I will as well.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last Minute Herbal Harvesting Going On!

Tarragon Added to White Wine Vinegar

Some of my Herb Picks for Today

Found a Drying Rack under the Stairs and Put it to Use
Well, I've run out of time to do this post justice.  The clock is ticking.  It was a beautiful summer like day here.  I did get some things accomplished.  My tarragon was just pathetic this year, but I managed to collect a tiny bit and put it in a pint jar with some white wine vinegar.  You see tarragon loses its flavor when it is dried.  So if you cut it and put it in vinegar, you get flavored vinegar and you can use the tarragon from the vinegar as you would use fresh.  Genius!  I cut the last of the 'Rober's Lemon Rose' scented geranium and my pathetic pineapple sage to dry in paper bags.  We will see if the pineapple sage holds up.  It loses its smell once dried, but one can hope.  Then I went about collecting some tea herbs, mints, spear and orange, anise hyssop and lemon balm.  I've got one more dry day to cut other herbs.  I'll dry these and make tea bags soon.  I found this little booklet I bought and it has the easiest recipes that I will share.  Well, it's a bit crazy with Hurricane Sandy may be hitting us early next week!  The Herbal Husband is coming home Saturday if he can get out of Florida!  It is going to be a wild one!  Will talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Herbal Flowers in the Fall Garden!

Nasturtium flowers and some leaves!

Nasturtium flowers and no leaves!

Calendulas happily blooming!

A Calendula with a dark center!

The Best Part of the Sunflowers for the Birds!

Some Orange Calendula Flowers!
Walked around the garden today.  The wind was blowing the leaves around and these herbal flowers are still blooming away.  Been busy trying to tie up some loose ends.  Hope you have had a great day.  Doing all of the jobs that The Herbal Husband usually does!   Talk to you later.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let's Just Say A Road Trip Not Quite Around the Corner!

I guess you could say that I'm following Sharon Lovejoy around.  Not stalking.  I love my Sharon.  She is the best and she has an adorable bird book out.  She and Jeff are on this crazy book tour thing.  She was at the Books by the Banks festival in Cincinnati on Saturday.  A symphony of children!  That's the nice way to put it.  And I thought I'll put The Herbal Husband on a plane to Tampa on Thursday and off Bonnie (my herbal companion) and I will go on Friday and catch up with Sharon and her phone man, Jeff.  You can read Sharon's version in her post called Drinking from Johnny Appleseed's Spring.  You should read the entire post, but if you just want to cut to the good part, scroll down to the bottom of the post and you will see what I brought to share with our friends.  I pinch myself to be able to say that I know Sharon Lovejoy and Jeff Prostovich and they are friends of mine.  We shared a meal together at Via Vite.  Couldn't hear everything that was said between the packed restaurant and the background music.  I think we had a great time.  Safe journey to my Sharon and her Jeff.  Bonnie and I send our love across the country for your safe return to California.  I'll share the herb gardens tomorrow, because you know we visited some.  BTW, beautiful Indian summer weather here in the 'Burgh.  Lulls one into a false sense that summer will continue for awhile longer.  Not so.  Will plunge back to reality next week I hear.  Talk to you later. 

I Haven't Become Compost or Anything Like That!

Just a quick post to say I'm alive.  Just got back from a road trip to a neighboring state with my herbal companion, Bonnie, to see one of my favorite authors and her phone man.  The Herbal Husband is visiting Tampa and family.  He has already called me.  Not a good sign.  Soo I'll post more later today if I get the chance.  Got to get some things done cause I may be going back out to the airport to do an early pickup!  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A List of Reliable and Sometimes Fragrant Roses!

'Brother Cadfael' and 'Queen Elizabeth' Meeting in the Dining Room
I haven't done nearly enough with the 2012 Herb of the Year, Rose and the year is almost gone.  So I was going through the millions (OK maybe thousands) of papers from lectures and other good things I have attended over the years and I came across a sheet from Michael Ruggiero from 2005.  A renowned expert in roses and all perennials, Mr. Ruggiero has spent more than 50 years in horticulture. 

Currently horticulturist and plant and garden expert at Matterhorn Nursery in Spring Valley, NY, he previously was senior curator for horticulture at The New York Botanical Garden, where he was responsible for the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden and many other collections. Mr. Ruggiero is the author of four books on horticulture: Perennial Gardening (The American Garden Guides), Annuals with Style Design ideas from Classic to Cutting Edge, Spotters Guide to Wildflowers of North America and Spotters Handbook: Flowers, Trees and Birds of North America.

So with thanks to Mr. Ruggiero, here is his list of Reliable Roses-Old Garden Roses.  (Please note:  The links I have given are to show the rose itself and not necessarily a place to purchase them.  Also make sure they are hardy in your particular zone or area of the world.)

F = fragrant

hybrid rugosa
'Buffalo Gal'
'Frau Dagmar Hastrup'        F
'Hansa'                               F
'Pink Grootendorst'
'Sarah van Fleet'                 F
'Sir Thomas Lipton'             F
'Therese Bugnet'                 F

hybrid musk
'Ballerina'                           F
'Belinda'                             F
'Buff Beauty'                      F
'Cornelia'                           F

hybrid gallica
'Camaieux'                         F
'Charles de Mills'               F
'Versicolor'                        F

hybrid moss
'Alfred de Dalmas'             F
'Henri Martin'                    F

hybrid damask
'Madame Hardy'               F
'Triginapetala'                    F

hybrid portland
'Jacques Cartier'               F

hybrid centifolia
'Fantin-Latour'                 F

hybrid bourbon
'Mme Issac Pereire'         F
'Variegata de Bologna'     F
'Zephirine Drouhin'           F 
I'll give you the Modern and David Austin choices in the coming days.  I'll try to combine these lists into one page here when I get a chance.  An overcast day in the 'Burgh and chilly.  Hope you are having a good day wherever you may be.  I'll talk to you later.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Peruvian Chard Pie!

This was a joint creation by The Herbal Husband and me.  He grew and picked the Peruvian chard and made the filling from an old recipe that a friend of his mother's made for the family in the 50's.  Some days we are just stuck there in the 50's.  I bought the puff pastry and formed the bottom and top crust.  Hey, I contributed the foundation!  This was a different kind of pie because there were several eggs dropped at the last minute on top of the filling before the top crust was placed.  I will get you a translation of the recipe when it is done.
You can see the egg hanging out of my piece of the pie.  It was hard boiled, but sunny side up.  It is a very nontraditional chard pie.  Maybe more typically Peruvian.  Hey, anything made with puff pastry is a winner in my book.  I just can't have a huge piece of it.  Semi-beautiful fall day here.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Year It Worked Perfectly, Herbally Speaking!

'Frensham' Pelargonium Leaves Drying in a Paper Bag!

Very Lemony Smell!

'Rober's Lemon Rose' Pelargonium Leaves

Some Leaves are Not Yet Dried!
Really some years we do the right techniques at the right times and then other years, it doesn't work as well.  I am talking about drying scented geranium (or if you would me to be more precise, pelargonium) leaves.  I took three paper bags.  Yes, I have them stashed away in case I need them.  I wrote in pencil what each leaf was before I placed them into the bag.  I didn't crowd them too much.  And voila, it worked.  I think some years I don't clip them when they are very dry and try to dry them when they are slightly damp with dew.  Don't do it.  Wait until afternoon when they are completely dry and then cut and place them in the paper bags.  I have done Frensham, a lemony pelargonium, a hybrid of 'Mabel Grey' and 'Prince of Orange' and 'Rober's Lemon Rose' which looks like a tomato leaf and has both the rose and lemon fragrance.  As you may be able to see some of the leaves of 'Rober's Lemon Rose' still need to dry.  So shake and look periodically to make sure they are drying evenly.  I'm just so excited they kept their color.  My peppermint leaves that I dried between paper toweling didn't fair as well.  They are brown and not as appealing as these are.  They still smell good, but they aren't as pretty.

Most of the pelargoniums are still OK and I may do the paper bag drying with some more leaves this week.  I don't want to go too crazy and then not find a way to use them later.  We did have a hard freeze yesterday morning so the tomatoes are done.  The zinnias in the front are toast.  The nasturtiums looked done, but I saw that some flowers are still blooming!  The tallest lemon verbena got some damaged leaves.  I will make jelly some time this week.  Busy time in the herb garden.   We are going to be in the 70's today and so I guess this is Indian Summer now.  We got the grass cut this morning and maybe for the last time this year.  Never know about that.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Learning About Lovage with Kathleen at The Village Herb Shop!

Lovage in the Herb Garden!  Looking Good!

The Herb Garden at the Village Herb Shop in Chagrin Falls, OH!

We Made a Seasoning for Soup and a Rub for Vegetables and Chicken Using Lovage!
Well, my herbal companion, Bonnie and I went up to Chagrin Falls to take another wonderful class on a specific herb, lovage from our favorite herbal goddess, Kathleen Gips.  Bonnie and I have both used lovage before.  We just wanted to make sure that we were using it wisely.  We got to try a carrot and lovage soup and a small sandwich of tuna salad made with lovage made by Kathleen's staff member, Heather.  I'm going to make a version of cream of carrot and lovage soup and a cornbread recipe that I will use as part of a post for Mother Earth Living magazine tomorrow.  Got to start somewhere.

Lovage is a perennial herb from Zones 5 to 8.  It needs a large space in the garden.  Once you plant it and it is in the ground for several years, it takes a piece of machinery to get it out.  It needs four to six hours to grow.  I love it because it is a true spring time herb.  It has a celery smell and flavor but a stronger depth of flavor.  In many European countries, it was thought to have special powers as a love charm or an aphrodisiac.

Lovage was a very important cooking and salad herb in the middle ages.  It is up early in the garden.  I have dried leaves between two pieces of paper toweling that gives it a scent of lovage as a bonus.  Once dried (If they aren't completely dried, they will turn moldy!), lovage can be stored in a glass jar or plastic container.  Leaves also freeze well.  It doesn't have much of a flower.  Lovage is grown for its leaves.  Once it flowers and goes to seed, cut and dry the seeds to be used like celery seeds.  Very flavorful.  Because it is a stronger flavor than celery, it can be used in soups, eggs, salads and stuffing.  The hollow stems can be used as a straw for beverages both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.  It can also be used in vinegars, butters and pulverize two cups of fresh lovage leaves with one cup of water in a blender.  Freeze in ice cube trays and use one cube per pot of soup.  It was a great herb day in Chagrin Falls with Kathleen of The Village Herb Shop.

Going to be another cold one tonight.  Hopefully, the herbs will make it one more cold night so I have a bit more time to harvest.  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Herb of the Year Still Blooming in My Garden!

Everblooming Cecile Brunner

A 'Rose' Geranium in Bloom
The Red Fairy Rose

The Pink Fairy Rose
Well, we are getting to the end of the growing season.  Our garden has not had a hard frost, but it's only a matter of time.  The rose, the 2012 Herb of the Year, is still blooming all around the garden.  I haven't talked about them much and sometimes they don't do as well as they should, but who doesn't love a rose.  These are all miniatures.  The bigger roses I have are done for the season.  Hopefully, you had some roses to enjoy this year.  We are going to have another cold night and then some moderation.  I froze some lemon verbena leaves for bread later.  Yes, The Herbal Husband is still digging herbs out of the garden.  I'm beginning to think I will have to move out some day!  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Close to Freezing and Still Going Strong!

My 'African Blue Basil'
I'm not sure what to say about this.  I am always preaching about how basils don't like temperatures in the 40's and the 30's.  Well, forget about it!   I guess I'm incorrect.  I think wrong is a bit harsh!  We have had temperatures in the 30's the last two nights, this is too big to cover and it is still beautiful!  Who knew!  I guess it is in a microclimate it likes!  This is a very ornamental basil and not an edible one.  It has a very camphorous flavor.  This was the basil I was hoping would go into a container at the beginning of the season.  The bees really enjoyed and that's all that matters to me.  Hope you had a great day.  It was a beautiful fall day here.  Families out raking leaves.  Talk to you later.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sometimes Leaves are Larger than Flowers!

'Dwarf Cherry Rose' and 'Jewel Peach Melba' from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
These were supposed to be nasturtiums ideal for containers, but I think that is an exaggeration.  These leaves are as big as a small plate.  I often use them as doilies for vegetable plates when serving dip and crudites.  Very effective.  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has a very photogenic catalog  These leaves are protecting the flowers underneath them.

'Buttercream' nasturtiums from Renee's Garden
One of my favorite online catalogs for seeds is Renee's Garden.  Most of my nasturtiums this year are from there and we haven't been disappointed!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Am Just Totally Disgusted!

Sorry there won't be any pretty photos with this post!  We came out into the herb garden this morning to find dog crap in my herb garden.  In full view.  I am just so tired of loose dogs and people letting their pets go on other people's yards and gardens.  I just wish there was some way to give the dog a jolt if it steps in the garden to do its business!  Shame on all of you who let it happen!  Be responsible for your pets, please!  If you have a solution in the prevention department to help keep them from doing it again, please let me know.   I'm done.  Talk to you later.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We're Down to Crunch Time, Lemon Verbena Crunch Time!

You Really Don't Grow Lemon Verbena for Its Blooms, But Isn't It Beautiful?
I just got three recipes of rose geranium jelly made.  Now it's on to the lemon verbena plants.  As you may recall, I have three in the herb garden.  One that has done well on its own coming back from the ground.  It's this one that is blooming and being attacked by the brown marmorated stink bug.  Grrr!  The good news is about the slits that the stink bug makes that it has forced more leaves to be produced.  Leave it to do more and it would kill the plant.  Can't have that, can we?
The big question is which plants will be used for what task.  The one that is blooming is just about as tall as I am, 5' 6"!  From the smaller plants that have a lot of leaves on each, I think I will do jelly and freeze some for lemon verbena bread since I discovered they can be frozen.  I have four packages of Certo left!  I thought I bought enough!  It's been a busy year jelly wise!  Well, it's a small issue in a world that is different each day.  Also we'll pick which lemon verbena will be coming in this winter.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a lemon verbena come back from winter in the 'Burgh.  If you live in the northeast, don't hesitate to dig up your lemon verbena and bring it in.  They will drop their leaves and play dormant until about February.  So don't forget to water them and keep them in the basement or in a room with a southern or western exposure.  They will start to leaf out sometime in February.

The leaf blowers have started outside.  We generally rake what leaves come from the neighbor's trees.  It is cool and crisp.  A typical Autumnal day in the 'Burgh!  Hope you are having a great day wherever in the world you may be.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Growing in the Rose Bush!

Silly melons from the compost spread under the rose bush in the herb garden.  We have had an awful problem with pill bugs this season.  So The Herbal Husband sprinkled them with diatomaceous (It's a sad day when I can finally spell this correctly and I still get a red line underneath it!) earth on them.   First it was too hot and dry and now it is not wet, wet, but raining enough the pill bugs and slugs are having fun with the produce.  The slugs have made in roads into the hostas in the front garden.  Holes on the leaves everywhere.  I have also been picking slugs out of the nasturtiums flowers.  Yuck!  Hope none of them made it into the vinegar I'm making!  Oh, just a bit more protein I guess!  Well, we finally got the ivy cut and we can see out the windows and open and close them!  Getting a bit weary of that chore every year.  It is surprising how it hasn't ruined the mortar like everyone thinks it does.  Well, I'm going to close now.  Sorry this post is so late in the day.  I have had to put off the rose geranium jelly until tomorrow.  Have three recipes to make.  The temperatures will be dropping tomorrow so we need to think about last minute harvesting and herbs to transplant in the garden.  Always something doing.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The End of an Herbal Magazine Era!

Well, I keep outliving magazines.  I guess it's the way it's going to be.  This one has been a particularly special one for me in the last several years.  Linda Ligon founded The Herb Companion in 1988 and in the last years Ogden Publications ran the herbal ship.  I was so fortunate to have my own blog, The Herb Channeler for the last year or so for The Herb Companion.  Thanks to K.C. Compton and Gina DeBacker for allowing me to blog for them.  I really loved the journey.  Now you will find my blogging abilities on Mother Earth Living, a combination of two of Linda Ligon's babies, The Herb Companion and Natural Home.

Hope you will continue to follow my herbal adventures with me.  I will still be blogging about herbs for Mother Earth Living.  Thanks to The Herb Companion magazine for all of the great herbal knowledge.  I know Mother Earth Living will continue the herbal journey.  For those of you who are asking, you will get Mother Earth Living if you either subscribed to The Herb Companion or Natural Home or both.  If you have five issues left on The Herb Companion subscription and 2 left on your Natural Home subscription, you will get 7 issues of Mother Earth Living.

Got to go trim the ivy.  An annual event!  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The New York Botanical Garden-2012

Entrance to the Gardens
They Do Wonderful Plant Combinations at NYBG

Manolo Valdes Monumental Sculpture through next May

Rose Garden from the Tram

A Bit of Vertical Gardening for NYC

The Nancy Bryan Luce Herb Garden
Basil was Thriving

The Enid Haupt Conservatory

Monet's Garden

The Exhibit Looks Very Much Like October in France

Wonderful Flower Combinations

Plant Boxes with Trial Combinations
Well, I'm so far behind my traveling posts that I'm just going to keep going with the last trip I was on to eastern Pennsylvania and NYC.  The next stop on the trip was the New York Botanical Garden.  I was there in 2009 in May and that was a wonderful time to be in the garden because they still had spring bulbs, but they were transitioning to the summer season.  This was also a great time because the herb garden was very lush and the main exhibit about Monet and his garden was beautiful and reminded me of when The Herbal Husband and I were in Giverny in 2007.   Here is a photo of that trip for comparison.  Karen D. did a great job.

Monet's Garden in Giverny in 2007
We took a tram ride to get an overview of the garden.  It is immense.  Saw the rose garden from a far.  I loved the vertical gardening for NYC dwellers at the gift shop.  They had just started installing the Manolo Valdes Monumental Sculpture exhibit and it will run through next May 26th.  The herb garden was very lovely and I share more photos of that garden tomorrow.   Lots to see at NYBG.  Hope you had a great day.  The rose geranium jelly will be made tomorrow.  Talk to you later.