Thursday, January 31, 2013

Going to Continue Hot Tea Month into February!

Rosemary Hill Farm Tea from Eastern Shore Tea Co.
As I said on Facebook, I found this tea in the back of my pantry.  It isn't even offered by Eastern Shore Tea Co. any more!  I guess I will have to treasure it or just enjoy it more often!  It's called Rosemary Hill Farm Tea.  I have placed some tea that has been hidden for a while out so I can see it and use it!

I've been reading so much and trying to get thoughts together.  You know how that is!  I know you do!  This is supposed to be the last day of National Hot Tea Month.  So I'm just going to continue LVL's Hot Tea Month into February.  It's not going to be national, because someone out there has picked another topic to make it the topic of the month.  I have been wanting to get to my workroom to make some herbal tea blends and hopefully, the month of February will give me the time to do some tea blends!  So sit back with your favorite cup of tea and we will learn something together.  I am going to talk about favorite herbal authors as well.  Need more hours in the day and days in the week!

It is freezing again.  We have dropped at least 40 degrees in the last 24 hours!  I was out walking yesterday and because of the fierce winds, I was inside exercising today!  Hope you are having a great day.  More on tea in the next days.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Partial List of Inedible or Poisonous Flowers!

A Partial List of Inedible or Poisonous Flowers

Azalea                              Azalea spp. (Rhododendron spp.)
Boxwood                         Buxus spp.
Burning Bush                    Euonymus spp.
Caladium                          Caladium spp.
Clematis                           Clematis spp.
Daffodil                            Narcissus spp.
Delphinium (Larkspur)      Delphinium spp.
Elephant Ears                   Colocasia antiquorum
Four O'Clock                   Mirabilis jalapa
Foxglove                          Digitalis purpurea
Hyacinth                           Hyacinthus orientalis 
Hydrangea                        Hydrangea spp.
Iris                                    Iris spp.
Ivy (English Ivy)                Hedera helix
Jack-in-the-Pulpit              Arisaemia triphyllum
Lantana                            Lantana camara
Lily of the Valley               Convallaria majalis
Lobelia                             Lobelia spp.
Morning Glory                  Ipomoea violacea
Mountain Laurel               Kalmia latifolia
Periwinkle                        Vinca spp.
Privet                               Ligustrum spp.
Rhododendron                 Rhododendron spp.
Sweet Pea                        Lathyrus spp.
Wisteria                            Wisteria spp.
Source:  "Edible Flowers:  From Garden to Palate" by Cathy Wilkinson Barash 

My buddy, Kathleen Gips at The Village Herb Shop asked about petunias.  I remember in our garden when I was growing up, the rabbits loved our petunias.  I thought they might be an edible flower and the link I gave you for inedible flowers has an edibles list and petunia is on it.  I wanted to dig a bit deeper.  When I did talks on edible flowers,  I found a photocopy of a February 1990 article in Organic Gardening magazine by Rosalind Creasy.  She is one of my go to authors about edible flowers.  I'm going to add these following flowers to my list because she says to avoid them because no reliable documentation for their safety has been found:

Impatiens                         Impatiens spp.
Mullein                            Verbascum spp.
Petunias                           Petunias spp.
Primrose                          Primula spp.
Snapdragons                    Antirrhinum spp.

I greatly respect Rosalind Creasy and think that it is better to lean on the side of avoidance than to have a bad reaction because you aren't sure and decide to experiment!

I have given you a lot of the more common plants and flowers in this list.  Here is an additional source list from Home Cooking at called Non-Edible Poisonous Flowers Chart.  Oh, look, black locust is still on the list.  You now know that black locust has some toxic parts, but the flowers are edible.  So do your own research and just make sure that you are eating an edible flower!  I have placed this in my pages under the banner photo so you will always have access to it and I will make sure to put your additions on the page when necessary.

The warm weather is coming to an end here.  We didn't get the major thunder storms we were supposed to get, but the temperature is dropping.  We made it to a high of 66!  Just crazy.  We're back to normal tomorrow, snow and cold.  It is January!  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Amazing Day for January!

It still is January, right?  It feels like April or May here. The sun is in and out here, but just an amazing day.  May make it to 60.  The snow has vanished.  I'm not getting too silly, because the cold is coming back tomorrow night.  In the teens by Thursday night!  Short lived shorts weather in January.  Out walking and enjoying the day.  Sorry Bill Murray and Laura Linney, Hyde Park on Hudson was awkward and just a weird script!  Save your money.  Talk to you later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Edible Flowers Back Story and Additional Choices of Edible Flowers!

'Frans Hal' Daylily
First of all the List of Edible Flowers that I gave you yesterday is certainly not complete nor the latest word on which flowers to eat.  I first started doing talks about edible flowers in the early 2000's.  I really didn't know too much.  I was learning as I went.  Honestly I am still learning.

Because I was connected to master gardening and extension, I needed to make the wisest decision about which flowers to talk about.  This first edible flowers fest I spoke at had about 200 people or more, young and old.  Because I was interested in herbs, we decided to lean the list toward the herbal side.  I had tulips on the list and then when I read in Cathy Barash's book that people had reactions that could cause numbness, I made the decision to take them off the list.  Also a lot of people talked about snapdragons as being an edible flower.  Again, I had to lean on another edible flowers author Rosalind Creasy who wrote in an Organic Gardening article that she could find no historic evidence that snapdragons were edible.  In the end we leaned toward tasty and mostly herbal flowers for my list and flowers that didn't have too many side effects!  Moderation in all things, including edible flowers.

Yesterday when I published my edible flowers list, Wildcraft Diva gave me some additional flowers to consider, including courgette or zucchini flowers (Cucurbita pepo) and I made a mistake that I will correct.  Because all Cucurbita are edible, I put the spp. after the species name, but I forgot the pepo.

She then mentioned elderflower (Sambucus nigra) the 2013 Herb of the Year.  What I wanted to say is that I didn't put Elderflower on this list because you have to be careful when using elderflower or elderberry (Sambucus canadensis or nigra).  The berries and flowers should never be eaten raw from the plant.  Always cook the berries.  Here is my friend, Jim Long's blog on the Herb of the Year - 2013 Elderberry .  I think it may give you some additional information and recipes.  Thanks Jim!

Now about the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) flowers.  I found a very nice and local blog called Food Under Foot.  They talked about eating black locust flowers in this blog post called Wild Edible Walk, In Pictures.  I also just found The 3 Foragers blogsite and a post about Black Locust Flowers with recipes.    I also discovered that black locust is listed in my favorite edible flowers book by Cathy Barash as poisonous.  Parts of the tree are toxic and it talks about eating the flowers when they are young.  If this is an unfamiliar tree to you, I would do a lot of research before I would eat the flowers and be very comfortable.  I found this fact sheet from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  There are people eating black locust flowers and surviving.

The Wildcraft Diva also said the red clover (Trifolium pratense) was an edible flower eaten by the Italians.  In her book, Edible Flowers From Garden to Palate, Cathy Barash said that raw clover flowers are not easily digestible in any quantity, but their sweet crunch adds a nice addition to salad.  The flowers can be dried and then brewed into tea.  She also says that clover can cause a skin rash in some sensitive people.  That would be me, unfortunately.

The Wildcraft Diva talked about the mallow (Malva sylvestris, Malva moschata, Malva alcea) as edible flowers.  I found this website called that may shed some light on the edible mallow varieties.  In Denise Schreiber's book she talks about Hibiscus syriacus or Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus rosa-sinensus or China rose, Chinese hibiscus, Rose-of-China, Chinese rose or Hawaiian hibiscus and Hibiscus sabdariffa or Roselle.  She mentions that Roselle may have a diuretic effect so it should be eaten in small amounts.
So maybe you can see what I mean about learning the botanical names, but even then there may be other varieties that are more edible or available than others.  I have given links in the Diva's choices to various seed and plant links that appear to be European.  We are on different continents and so different varieties are going to be used.

I'm glad the Wildcraft Diva started a conversation.  Thanks WD!  I think I'm going to keep my original list as is and give a link to this post at the end of my list and will continue to add links to additional posts as the conversation goes forward.  It is a temperature rising kind of day.  We're going to be 60 tomorrow.  Ridiculous, but colder by the end of the week.  Can't say stay warm, because we are already there!  Talk to you later.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A List of Edible Flowers and The Ten Rules for Eating Them!

Yes, Sunflowers Are An Edible Flower!


Anise Hyssop (F)                          Agastache foeniculum
Bachelor's Buttons (P)                  Centaurus cyanus
                                                    (Debs Cook says that these are an edible flower.)
Basil (F)(C)                                  Ocimum basilicum
Bee Balm (F)                                Monarda didyma
Borage (E-)*                                Borago officinalis
Calendula (P)(C)                          Calendula officinalis
Chamomile (Annual) (P)(C)          Matricaria recutita
Chives (F)(C)                               Allium schoenoprasum
Garlic Chives (F)(C)                     Allium tuberosum
Dianthus (P)(W)(C)                      Dianthus spp.
Dandelion (E-)**                         Taraxacum officinale
Daylily (E-)(B)                             Hemerocallis spp.
Eastern Redbud (E)(B)                Cercis canadenis
English Daisy (P)(C)                    Bellis perennis
  Oxeye Daisy (P)(C)                   Leucanthemum vulgaris or  
                                                    Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Johnny-Jump-Ups (E)(C)             Violia tricolor
Lavender (English) (F)(C)             Lavandula angustifolia, any angustifolia variety,
                                                      especially 'Munstead' or 'Hidcote'
Lilacs (F)                                      Syringa vulgaris
Marigold (Signet) (P)(C)              Tagetes tenuifolia 'Lemon Gem' or 'Tangerine Gem'
Mint (F)(C)                                  Mentha x piperita (Peppermint) or
                                                    Mentha spicata (Spearmint)
Nasturtium (E)(P)(C)                    Tropaeolum majus
Pansies (E)(P)(C)                         Viola x wittrockiana
Peas (Vegetable) (E)                     Pisum sativum
Roses (P)(W)                               Rosa gallica, R. moschata, R. centifolia
                                                    & R. damascena
Rosemary (E)(C)                          Rosmarinus officinalis
Sage (F)                                       Salvia officinalis,
Pineapple Sage (F)                       Salvia elegans
Scented Geraniums (E)(C)            Pelargonium spp.
                                                      (lemon or rose scented leaves)
Squash Blossoms (E-)                  Cucurbita pepo spp.
Sunflower (P)(B)                          Helianthus annuus
Thyme (F)(C)                               Thymus spp.
Violets (P)(E)                               Viola odorata
Yucca (P)(W)                               Yucca spp

(B) Buds can be eaten; (C) Can be grown in containers; (E) Entire flower can be eaten; (E-) Entire flower minus stamens, styles or sepals; (F) Florets can be eaten; (P) Petals can be eaten; (W) Remove white part at base of petal before eating.  It may be bitter.  *Borage flowers should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women, as more than eight to ten flowers can cause milk to flow.  **Avoid if allergic to latex.
Sources:  "Edible Flowers:  From Garden to Palate" by Cathy Wilkinson Barash & "the Edible Flower Garden" by Rosalind Creasy & "Flowers in the Kitchen" by Susan Belsinger.

 I will get my comments on my list of favorite edible flowers, but in the meantime, here from Mother Earth Living are two links from one of my favorite author of edible flowers, Cathy Barash talking about her Guide to Eating Flowers and within that article is her List of Edible Flowers.  I like her book because she talks about both edible and inedible flowers.  Here are those ten points:


1.     Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible.  Please learn the botanical names of plants.       No matter where you are in the world and if you don't speak the language, you will know what the plant is (if it's properly tagged) and if you don't think it is properly tagged, I wouldn't buy and eat it.)
2.     Just because it is served with food does not mean a flower is edible.  There are a lot of restaurants that use flowers for decoration, but don't necessarily have an idea whether it is edible.  Some flowers served may be edible, but not tasty.

3.     Eat only flowers that have been grown organically (not sprayed).  I would not go midnight shopping to the neighbors to try their new rose, unless you know that it has not be sprayed or drenched in chemicals.

4.     Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers (because they may have been sprayed).  I always say if you get roses from your significant other from a florist, make them into potpourri.  If you buy an annual or perennial that has an edible flower and they have been sprayed with chemicals wait for as long to eat them as possible once they are planted in a container or your garden.  If it is an annual clip off a couple of cycles of blooms before you eat the flowers.  If it is a perennial plant, you can wait until the following season to eat the flowers, if you are concerned.

5.     If you have hay fever, asthma or allergies, do not eat flowers.  I did talk to an allergist and they told me as long as you just eat the petals and none of the pollen, you should be fine.

6.    Do not eat flowers picked from the side of a road.  They have been contaminated by car emissions.  There are lots of daylilies and chicory that grow along the roadside.  Please don't eat those.

7.    Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating.  Eat only the petals.  You may have to use tweezers to get the job done.

8.    Not all flowers are edible.  Some are poisonous.  Invest in a book on poisonous plants.

9.    There are many varieties of any one flower.  Flowers taste different when grown in different locations. This is regarding the species that are all edible, like the dianthus, daylily or rose to name a few.  You may have to try multiple varieties to find the tasty flowers.  Lilacs are another flower that are edible, but they have grassy, metallic and floral tastes.  You are really going to have to work to find the tasty ones.  Also different soils in your garden affect the taste of a flower.

10.  Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby--one at a time in small quantities.  You want to introduce flowers into your diet and your family's diet gradually (children under 4 should not eat flowers) and then plan parties to introduce them to your friends.  They will be glad you use edible flowers in small ways and not overwhelm them.
Source:  "Edible Flowers:  From Garden to Palate" by Cathy Wilkinson Barash with additional comments in blue by Lemon Verbena Lady.

Bibliography of Edible Flower Books and Other Herbal Books:

Barash, Cathy Wilkinson, Edible Flowers:  From Garden to Palate.  Golden:  Fulcrum Publishing, 1995.  (This is probably the most complete book.  It has good information concerning edible vs. inedible flowers and great recipes.)

Belsinger, Susan, Flowers in the Kitchen.  Loveland:  Interweave Press, 1991.  (This book concentrates on edible flowers.  There is a very good list of 50 edible flowers and a plan for a garden.  Great recipes.)

Coombes, Allen J., Dictionary of Plant Names.  Portland:  Timber Press, 1999.  (If you want to learn botanical names, this is one of the best sources.)

Creasy, Rosalind, the Edible Flower Garden.  Boston:  Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd., 1999.  (This is a good beginner book.  Sound information on edibles vs. inedibles.  Simple but good recipes.)

Hopkinson, Patricia, Miske, Diane, Parsons, Jerry and Shimizu, Holly, Herb Gardening.  New York:  Pantheon Books, 1994.  (This is the American Garden Guides Series of books; and I think it is a very complete herb book.)

McVicar, Jekka, Good Enough to Eat.  London:  Kyle Cathie Limited, 1997.  (This is by my English friend and author and will give you a different perspective on edibles.  This is a picture across from the Acknowledgments page that contains foxgloves in it.  They are not an edible flower.)

Peterson, Lee Allen, A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977.  (This is a good field trip book.  There are updated versions available.)

Schreiber, Denise, Eat Your Roses.  Pittsburgh:  St. Lynn's Press, 2011.  (This book is by my friend who started an Edible Flowers Fest many years ago.  She has a lot of experience in cooking with edible flowers and good information about both edible and inedible flowers and delicious recipes.  This is the most current book available.)

Turner, Nancy J. and Szczawinski, Adam F., Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms of North America.  Portland:  Timber Press, 1991 (This book has very good color photos and information.)

Not Recommended at This Time

Jacobs, Miriam, Cooking with Edible Flowers.  Pownal:  Storey Communications, 1999.  (This small booklet while very affordable talks about sweet pea flowers (Lathyrus odoratus) as being an edible flower. Took my opinion with backup material to Storey and they chose to continue publishing this booklet as is.  Please do not eat sweet pea flowers.)

So as I said this is a first run and it doesn't look so pretty when published, but the information is correct.  I'm going to put photo links with the common names.  Please let me know if you can think of something I should be adding.  Hopefully you have had a great day.  It is going to get messy in the garden and then warm for part of the week.  Talk to you later. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Very Attentive At the Feeder!

Right in the center of the photo is a female cardinal.  They are the most active besides the sparrows and the blue jays this time of year.  They love to eat at dusk, but lately because of the cold The Herbal Husband has been showering them with extra food and treats.  They are in sharp contrast with their colorful feathers in the snowy landscape.  They do eat in pairs with the male standing guard while the female eats away.  In the evenings we have had up to eight pairs dining in the twilight.  We got a bit more shoveling done.  Hopefully we won't have to shovel again tomorrow and then we are in for a warm up come Tuesday into Wednesday.  Back to the 50's!  Going to see Bill Murray in his portrayal of FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson tomorrow.  Will let you know what I think.  Hope you are having a great day.  I think it's time of tea.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm!

Still very cold here!  Just had to show you the sunset tonight.  Probably could have waited another minute or two, but I might have been frozen to the pavement if I had!  It was a beautiful day here albeit FREEZING!  We are going to get some snow starting tomorrow afternoon.  So we planned our shopping and lunch trips today so we would be ready.  Got some extra milk, etc.  Had the TP and bread covered already!  Going to be working on lists for you and an herbal tea post (because it is National Hot Tea Month) and it is almost gone!  Hope you had a warm and sunny day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Never Have Seen This Bloom!

The Flowers of Cuban Oregano!
The Leaves of Cuban Oregano
I have done several posts about this nontraditional oregano, Cuban Oregano.  I think my post from 2008 will give you a lot of good information.  It is called Not Your Typical Oregano!   I was just so pleased when The Herbal Husband pointed out the blooms to me today as we were watching the birds and cat drinking from the birdbath.  Both of the oreganos looked much better in my 2008 post.  These two are old and gnarly!  Oh, maybe like The Herbal Husband and I'm not far behind!  It is just frigid here.  The coldest we have been by far.

My buddy in New Zealand, Leanne at MandaBurms FarmStay brought up some points from my last post on nigella.  I need to round out my pages with a list of edible flowers and nonedible flowers.  I'll get those done shortly since I'm not working out in the garden or in the basement because of the cold!  Hope you are staying warm wherever you may be! Talk to you later.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Have a Few Seeds With Your Omelet!

One of my favorite flowers in the garden is the Nigella (Nigella sativa).  Here is the flower photo from a website called Nigella Flower Pictures & Meaning.  One of its common names is love in the mist.  Just love it for its blue flowers.  Very easy to grow and you can see in the photo below that the pod is starting to grow from the center of the flower.  Nature, don't you love it!  I think I bought some seeds last year and didn't get them planted!  Maybe this year or they have to be on the list for purchase.
The Beautiful Blue Flower of the Nigella
Dried Pods Used for Decoration
Nigella Seeds from Fortnum & Mason
Nigella Seeds Added to My Egg Beaters
Delicious Scrambled Egg Beaters with a Nigella Twist
I found these nigella seeds at Fortnum and Mason last time I was in England and thought that they would be great in my Egg Beaters at breakfast.   I loved it when it said on the package "Adds a notable onion note to breads and omelettes."  They gave the eggs a bit of a crunch to them.  Delicious!  Well, we have gone from blue skies and 40 degree weather to 20's and snow!  Lake effect from Lake Erie!
A Snowy Front Garden
Going to be in the single digits tonight!  Hope you are staying warm wherever you may be!  Been watching the Inauguration festivities.  Hope the country can move forward together!  Talk to you later.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just Had to Have It, Herbally Speaking and Blue Skies!

Purchased at the Local Grocery Store by The Herbal Husband

A Rare Occurrence for a 'Burgh Winter!
Well, The Herbal Husband was dragged to the grocery store yesterday and among the things he purchased was this plant of basil.  A basil plant indoors usually brings the usual suspects bug wise especially white flies.  It was just too enticing for him.  I had made some arugula pesto over the summer and I placed it in the coldest part of the refrigerator and it was still delicious if I do say so myself.  The Herbal Husband chopped the fresh basil on top of his pasta and he was happy. 

The other wonderful part of today is that I got outside to walk around our neighborhood and enjoy this beautiful blue sky.  It is warmish (40+), but it is tempered by a beastly wind!  The bottom is going to drop out tomorrow.  An Arctic cold front is coming.  Much colder this year than last.  England has more snow than we do!  So I hope you are having a wonderful day.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Overwhelmed by the Pile!

The Seed and Plant Catalog Pile Growing by the Day!
Two Herbal Favorites, One US and One Canadian!
East Coast Favorite and West Coast Favorite!
English Favorite
Long Time Favorite, The First Seed Catalog of the Season!
Colorado and California Represented Here!
Connecticut and Wisconsin Represented
The Photos in This Catalog Make You Drool!
A European Company Out of Kansas!
Roses from Oregon
High Mowing Organic Seeds 2013 Cover Taken by the USPS!
Well, it happens every year around this time.  I get overwhelmed by the seed catalogs.  I did a couple of posts about my favorite herb seed catalogs last year and ordered a bunch of different ones and so now more than ever I'm OVERWHELMED!  I am concentrating on herb seeds and plants, but all of these websites have other seeds and plants to offer and accessories.  From top to bottom here are the catalog links:  The Grower's Exchange is from Virginia.  They sell a select number of herbs and flowers and gift items.  I'm looking forward to ordering from them.  More about that later.  I'm still trying to get to my next catalog.  It is on the bucket list.  I keep saying that and I really mean it!  Richters in Goodwood, Canada.  If you go there and buy plants, they will give you paperwork that will get you back into the US with your plants!  You can also do mail order, but I'm waiting for the real trip to go and buy there.

The next two are both from the US, the east coast one is in Maine and is known to you I'm sure, Johnny's Selected Seeds.  The Herbal Husband and I have ordered from them for years.  An employee owned company and has a great selection of herb seeds and some plants, like lemongrass.  The west coast choice from Oregon is Territorial Seeds.  Unusual varieties.

The next choice is an old English favorite, Thompson & Morgan.  I learned botanical names from their catalog.

The first catalog in the door last year was Pinetree Garden Seeds.  We like them because their prices and seed quality have always been reasonable.

The next two are from the western part of the US, Botanical Interests is a company that I have purchased seeds from for several years.  I love the drawings on the seed packets and everything is inclusive, including a name marker.  Next is Seeds of Change from California.  Have ordered from them for several years as well.  Unusual and organic varieties of seeds.

Continuing on with the next photo.  A favorite catalog called Select Seeds from Connecticut specializing in your grandma's flowers.  Next is McClure & Zimmerman from Wisconsin and a bulb and tuber delight.  Not too big on bulbs. (I'm sure they are not happy to hear that!)  If I were though this is one catalog I would be selecting from.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is from Missouri, but they have other locations as well.  Very much into heirloom varieties.  They also have written books and have magazine called the Heirloom Gardener.

Seeds from Italy is the next choice from Kansas.  They sell Franchi seeds, Italy's oldest family run seed business.  They also sell books and accessories to make life easier in the kitchen and more beautiful.

Heirloom Roses is one of many selling roses on the web.  They are located in Oregon.  I have ordered from them for a number of years.  Although you don't see a catalog, if you live in the southern half of the US especially, check out Antique Rose Emporium out of Texas. 

Next to last but certainly not least and not because I don't love their catalog, High Mowing Seeds.  Since we got new mailmen (I think we have a total of four different ones.), our mail is sometimes trashed.  So was the case with this catalog.  I'm just glad the back cover stayed on with my name and address.  They are located in Vermont and are 100% Organic.

One catalog is online and one of my favorites is Renee's Garden Seeds.  Used to be Shepherd's Seeds which was also a favorite.  Renee is online only now.  The sunflowers and nasturtiums were my favorites this past season.  So hopefully you won't be so overwhelmed by my pile of catalogs and have some good ideas for the coming year.  I will add choices as they come in.  A gray day with just a touch of freezing rain and slushy snow!  It's winter!  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Bit More Green and Gold in the Herb Garden!

Some years I have no luck with the golden sage plant (Salvia officinalis 'Icterina') and other years like last year it looks very good.  I can't tell you the number of golden sages that have bit the dust or rotted from a cold and wet winter.  We still have a chance of that happening, but at the moment it's looking pretty good.  I have so much to do herbally speaking and as always can't decide which to do first.  I'll let you know what's going on in the next post.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.  P.S.  I have just published my 1,200 post!

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Herbal Annual Is Alive!

This believe it or not is a German chamomile!  It seeded from the plants I purchased last spring.  It is obviously happy there.  I can hardly believe how well it is doing.  Don't want to say too much more.  I may jinks it.  Hope it hangs in there.  We have a couple months of winter to go at least.  Oh, BTW, The Herbal Husband wanted me to pass along that we came home to a BIG raccoon in the driveway walking into the backyard garden!  Just as long as I don't see it in the daytime. 

Got to see Les Miserables for the second time today.  The Herbal Husband wanted to see Django Unchained.  Not my kind of movie.  If it is possible to love a movie more the second time, I did.  The Bishop in the movie is one of the original Jean Valjeans when we saw the musical in London 22 years ago.  It is not for everyone, but if you enjoy musical theater or movies, you will enjoy it.  Hope you had a great day.  We are back to cold weather considering it was 67 degrees yesterday!  Talk to you later.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Herbal Containers A Go Go!

The Avocado Tree
The Mini Evergreens in a Trough
Prostrate Rosemary
'Goodwin Creek' Lavender
Well, maybe not all are herbal containers.  The avocado has come back from the dead (I didn't water it while The Herbal Husband was away in Peru!) and other instances.  The mini evergreens in the trough has made it several seasons and it could stay out through the winter, but I haven't convinced The Herbal Husband.  The 'Goodwin Creek' lavender has been in the container for two or three seasons.  We actually plant it and then dig it up.  There has to be an easier way.  We also have mama peppermint scented geranium and her offspring!  Below is an earlier photo of mama.  Her leaves are becoming yellow from the lack of sun, but I think the plant will hang in there until we can get it back outside in the real spring.  Yikes, I writing like she's alive!  Well, she is!
Mama Peppermint Scented Geranium

We always have a bunch of herbal containers and others hanging on.  I mean that literally.  The Herbal Husband rescued a plant from the neighbor's trash and sometimes he is very successful in reviving them and sometimes not.  He said to me yesterday looking at the hanging basket that had a dead plant in it. (Insert Spanish accent here.)  "I don't even know what this is!"  Honestly I can't make this stuff up!  I think sometimes we could be used as a "Modern Family" storyline.  I got an hour's worth of walking outside, because it is just so gosh darn beautiful out there.  It is all going to come to an end later today and we will go back to winter tomorrow.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Quick January Thaw in the Herb Garden!

Most of the Snow is Gone for the Moment!
The Salad Burnet is Evergreen!

Maybe I Can Finish That Ornament!
Yikes, Forgot to Weed the Grass Out of the Thyme Bed!
Oh, the lingering Deer Poo!

Feverfew Very Hardy for Us!
Well, as you can see the garden is coming to life if just briefly.  We are supposed to be 60 here again tomorrow, but rainy.  The temperature goes back to the 30's on Monday.  Oh, well, got to enjoy that January thaw ever so briefly this year.  Was out taking some photos as you can see.  Good to let everything get a breathe.  We took some of the containers out, because I needed to do laundry.  It was going to be embarrassing if I didn't.  Hope you had a wonderful day wherever you may be in the world.  Talk to you later. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My 2012 Christmas Ornament Project-Lamb's Ear Style!

My Work Space!  Can It Get Any Smaller?
The Type of Pins I  Used
Starting to Pin and Glue the Leaves
Don't Look Too Closely!
Well, some projects get thrown under the bus or away from the bus and don't make the cut.  I'm always crying about the lack of space in the basement.  Somehow that translates to less space than when I started complaining.  So I'm very quiet these days.  Translation I forget what I'm doing.  The top photo was taken around the middle of November.  I was going to give you the instructions that I found online and everything for this ornament.  I think I wasn't excited about the finished product.  I get too perfect!  Sorry it's my Virgo background.  So here is a link to the lamb's ear ornament.  I also need to go buy a bottle of tacky glue.  I think it would work a bit better than Elmer's.  Though Elmer's did work pretty good.  I did a combination of things.  I also found a website that talked about using straight pins when the boy scouts made their project.  Yikes, that sounds a bit scary!  No Boy Scouts were harmed in the making of this project!

My Lamb Ear Ornament

Tacky or All-Purpose Glue (I would have used Tacky glue, but mine had dried out completely!)
3" Styrofoam ball or the size you want
8 to 10 5 or 6" Lambs Ear leaves
Straight pins

So you just want to make sure that your leaves overlap and that you use enough glue to glue them down.  I used straight pins with ball ends to hold the ends of the leaves down.  Then after I made my bow, I used a couple more straight pins with red heads to stabilize the bow.

I also found in my search a lamb ornament made out of the parts of the lamb ear's plant by Fairegarden in Tennessee.  Hope I don't get in trouble with the copyright thing on her photos!  Very cute and if I can remember at blooming time this year, I'm try to make one for you.  Couldn't get a caption on one of the photos, but you get the idea hopefully.  You'll have lots of time between now and this Christmas to get ornaments done!

Going to warm up now.  We are supposed to be 60 by the end of the week.  I have been exercising inside.  Much safer.  Hope you are having a wonderful day.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

R.I.P. Dottie!

February, 2010 Snowstorm
Don't want you to think that this is our landscape at the moment.  This is the February 2010 snowstorm.  I am using this photo because my cousin, Dottie passed away on Friday.  My family isn't that big and the first cousins are going down like big trees!  My Aunt Wilma's children are gone in the space of seven months!  Dottie used to live in Jamestown, NY known for its big snows.  It was a sudden death, a heart attack.  She died peacefully.  Dottie was independent even as a child.  My favorite story about her was that on Easter one year, she really wanted to ride the neighbor's horse and her mother said it would mess up her dress.  So she went against my aunt's wishes and went to the neighbor's got their horse and rode it down past my aunt who was doing dishes in the kitchen.  All she could see was Dottie's head moving up and down because the window was elevated and my aunt couldn't see the horse, but she wasn't happy!  Hope you have a good visual in your mind!  She was a pistol in the best way!  Will miss you, Dottie!  She got to ride lots of horses as an adult.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her four daughters and their families and her beloved husband, Bob.  I will leave you with my favorite poem.
Miss Me -- But Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
  and the sun has set for me.
I want no rites in a gloom filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free.
Miss me a little -- but not too long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that was once shared
Miss me -- but let me go.
For this is a journey we must all take
and each must go alone.
It is all a part of the Master's plan
a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me -- but let me go.
                                                                                    Author Unknown
Going to warm up this week.  Will be able to see the garden by the end of this week.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.