Saturday, April 18, 2015

Four-Lined Plant Bug Damage Already and An Herbal Retail Experience!

Not An Herb But Four Lined Plant Bug Love Certain Perennials Too!
We have been slowly weeding and getting beds ready to plant seeds.  Yesterday, we came across the damage of the four-lined plant bug.  I associate the emergence of these pests with the blooming and leafing out of forsythia.  It is one of their favorites and it is blooming and leafing out all around us!  I did a post about them for Mother Earth Living called Herbal Pests:  The Four-Lined Plant Bug.  They really only do cosmetic damage and the plant starts to grow new leaves even before the bugs are gone, but it can be six weeks of herbal pain until they are gone.

Also got out and had an herbal retail experience at the local Garden Symposium co-sponsored by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County, the Penn State Center Pittsburgh and Shady Side Academy.  Got several wonderful scented geraniums, a couple of lavenders and a clematis that is more like ground cover than a climbing vine.  Oh and a couple of agastaches.   

Herbal Retail Delights!
Latest Book from My Favorite Horticulture Teacher, Jessica Walliser!
My final purchase was the latest book from my favorite horticulture teacher, Jessica Walliser.  I have already read a bit and I loved your confessions, Jessica!  Will look forward to reading the rest and making a review in the coming days!

We had one of the more beautiful days today, sunny and warm.  Getting beds weeded and ready to plant seeds.  Although we are going to get strong storms tomorrow night into Monday.  So I told The Herbal Husband that we would work on clearing a second bed tomorrow and then postpone seeding until the storms pass on Tuesday or Wednesday.  At least we separated the seeds to be planted from the ones to plant later.  Never a dull moment.  Hope you are getting your gardens ready to go.  Maybe another savory post next time!  Talk to you later. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just a Glorious Day, Herbally Speaking!

Starting the Process Over Again, Trimming Back the Oregano From Last Year!
A Perennial Problem With Grass Invading the Thyme!
Very Excited!  The Tarragon is Back!
This 'Hidcote' Looked Dead, But There Are Signs of Life!
The Violets Are Starting to Bloom!
Some of the Kids Were Out for Some Fresh Air!
The Clematis We Thought Was Dead Has Even Come Back!  It's A Miracle!
It Was An Outstanding Day in the 'Burgh!
Just One Bit of Color from the Primula in the Herb Garden!
Honestly my whole energy level has been lifted by our weather.  We are having a string of beautiful days and even cloudy and warm makes me happy!  Today was such a day.  The sun did break through the clouds late in the day so the temperature gave the plants in the gardens another boost of energy!

As you may be able to see we are trimming plants back and in the process seeing life in some that we didn't think would come back.  A little 'Hidcote' lavender is finally showing signs of life.  It was nice to peel back the leaves and see that my tarragon is coming back.  Just a little progress is making me very happy!

We have the usual problems with grass invading the beds and in particular one that has some of my thyme plants.  I think I will just have to dig it up and start over again.  A chance for a new herbal retail experience!  Always a good thing!  Even some of the herbs in containers (better clarify the kids comment) got a breath of fresh air today. 

Spring has really taken hold here and it doesn't look like we are going to just jump into summer like some years.  I think we are just going to have a very lovely spring.  What's coming back in your herb garden?  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Will talk to you later.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Question About Dried Lemon Verbena!

Don't Store Your Dried Herbs in Plastic Bags!
First and foremost I am always here to answer your herbal questions at any time.  I love doing research about herbs particular my favorite, lemon verbena.

Over the weekend I got an email from a new reader who googled lemon verbena uses and came up with my blog.  She had purchased dried herbs from a reputable source, lemon verbena and lemon balm.  She was disappointed with the scent of the dried lemon verbena in particular.  It had no scent.

As you can see by the photo I have excess dried lemon verbena, and I didn't take my own advice and at least date it to know how old it is.  It's old!  I will be using these leaves as filler in potpourri.  I told my reader that old lemon verbena loses its scent.  She purchased it as new product.  So I told her to grind some leaves up and see if that would bring out the scent.  If that doesn't help, I think she should try to get her money back because I know that dried lemon verbena is typically not cheap.

So I am suggesting to you that if you are going to buy dried herbs make sure that the company you are purchasing from are known for their dried herbs.  If the herbs do not have scent, you should return them for your money back or if there is a no return policy, at least get a credit for some other product besides dried herbs.

I will also tell you to use your dried lemon verbena leaves promptly.  Get your recipes or thoughts together once they are dried and start mixing!  If you can't use all that you have dried, place them in a  glass jar with a tight lid.  I was reminded by my friend on Facebook, Denise that plastic can cause mold if the leaves aren't very dry and have some moisture to them.  In fact I wrote about it just last year!  The mind is failing me!  I think I need a boost of rosemary!  Here is a link called "Been Busy in My Herbal Work Space."

Lemon balm is typically not the best lemon herb dried.  I will suggest that if you dry lemon balm that you use it right away.  And lastly, you always need more than what you expect.  So make sure you have a lot of plants producing because potpourri or even tea blends take a lot of leaves to make the right mixes.  Here are links to my favorite potpourri and tea blends.

It is a beautiful day here in the 'Burgh.  The temperature is close to 80 degrees.  Rain later today and a bit cooler tomorrow.  Will be out in the garden cutting herbs back in my next post.  Hope you are having a fabulous day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Bit of Green and Gold All Around!

Before the Rains Came Yesterday!
The Lady's Mantle Coming to Life!
Coltsfoot Starting to Bloom!
The Lavender Has Dried Out and Going to Bloom!
'Tete A Tete' Daffodils Finally Blooming in a Sea of Green!
Had a busy day in the garden yesterday.  About four hours of work and my sore tired body told me last night as I crawled into bed!  I was happy though.  When The Herbal Husband and I can work together, miracles happen!  It does take working together these days because we are both getting older and tasks take a bit longer to accomplish.

Slowly seeing the herb garden come to life.  Always nice to see plants surviving the cold weather and those that surprise.  We cut back the roses outside and we lost a lot on some of them.  May just have to buy some new ones!  Always good to have gardening retail adventures in the spring.  My herbal companion, Bonnie and I are going to the Garden Marketplace during the annual spring symposium.  Should find some very interesting plants there.  The lavender that was over watered is loaded with blooms.  We are going to transplant it into a larger container because it is extremely root bound. 

April showers bring May flowers and we will be dodging raindrops all week long.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be and seeing and enjoying spring or fall weather.  Talk to you later.