Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Wild and Crazy February in the Herb Garden!

Time to See What is Coming Up in the Herb Garden!
Maybe This Has Started to Grow for You--Wild Oregano!
Got a Ton of Cleanup Done in the Back Gardens!
Square Five Done Just in Time for Spring!
This winter so far as been a puny one!  I really love to be snowed in once and while and that is when we get some of blue sky days in the 'Burgh.  We have had blue sky days, but no snow.  Yesterday it was 76 degrees here!  We were one degree short of tying a record for February 24th!  It has been unbelievable!  The Herbal Husband and I have gotten a huge amount of cleanup done in the back gardens, including the raspberry patch that hadn't been touched in two seasons.  And we got all of the ornamental grasses cut down thanks to the extension cord and electric hedge clippers.  Still remember the days when we took the old hand clippers and trimmed them!  We had six straight days of cool to very warm weather.  It has been a blessing.  Was so behind the herbal eight ball last season with everything.  I would like to be on top of things this season.

We are going to have cold days going forward into March and maybe even some snow.  Take a deep breath.  I get a bit excited and want to start drastically trimming herbs.  Not so fast Lemon Verbena Lady!  So I started out on a patch of wild oregano which is quietly taking over the front of the herb garden.  It doesn't have too much flavor, but what it lacks in flavor it makes up for in lovely purple flowers and I sometimes when I think about it early, I make the branches and flowers into wreaths for the gate.  The bees also love the flowers as well.  So it is a win-win, herbally speaking.

That last photo is my progress on the afghan.  Square Five is daffodils just in time for spring.  I am almost done with square six which means I will be halfway finished!  It has been a fun fun project.  I have already decided to keep digging in my 30+ years of stash to get those projects that were started and not finished or ones that I need to do done.  I had better find that pill that will keep me stitching into my next life soon.

So can't believe that February is about to end.  What will March bring?  It is always an interesting month here in the 'Burgh!  How are you doing with your break from the garden or in some cases already planting anew!  Please let me know!  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Favorite Getting a Quick Dose of Sun and Other Stuff!

The Lemon Verbena is More Like a Topiary These Days!
George, One of Three Feral Cats The Herbal Husband Treats!
Four Squares Down, Eight To Go!  This Square Are Cornflowers!
Well, we are not having February weather at all!  I do like to be snowed in and Mother Nature is NOT cooperating!  I am not sure that she will.  Today is a beautifully sunny day in the mid to upper 60's.  This is February?  Usually this means we will have a crappy March or jump from spring to summer in a couple of days!  I am only complaining because the bug populations needs to be really really put in the deep freeze and that has not happened this season.  We usually get about two feet of snow per winter.  Sometimes we are wildly over that amount, but this year we are under, but not by much.  Well the one thing about warmer weather that I love are the spring bulbs and they will be popping here soon!  I am sure a lot of herbs will be showing their leaves if this continues.

So the lemon verbena has turned into a topiary which isn't all bad, but hopefully getting it out in the fresh air and sun will stimulate the lower branches to produce!  Your lemon verbenas that are inside should be showing signs of life.  As long as you have been watering them about every two weeks, they should be starting to produce leaves.  Took the cover off the lemon verbena we left in the herb garden and it was very wet.  So while we have about a week of really mild weather, we are going to leave the cover off and let it dry out!  We have had a very mild winter so maybe we will get lucky and it will come back.  Can I just mention that I pulled from the shelf one of my favorite herb books, Mrs. Reppert's Twelve Month Herbal.  I think I talked about this book on many occasions.  It is so much fun to read day by day and in some cases for me, it mirrored the happenings in my herb garden.  Really, really fun to sit and hang out with Mrs. Reppert in her herb garden!  Fortunately, it is still available on The Rosemary House website. 

That second photo is of one of the feral cats called George that The Herbal Husband has become fond of.  I think I mentioned he started "treating" some cats while I was in England one year.  I came home to find treats on the table in the basement where I do laundry!  George has become a wide load and in this photo he was rolling around on the driveway getting the dust off!  I am allergic to cats so they are all his!

The third photo is of my progress on my afghan and the first row is complete.  I need the step stool to get an aerial view.  Oh, maybe I need a drone for that!  Probably not!  The photo is the fourth square in the first row, cornflowers.  I am enjoying this stitch so much.  I have already plotted my path for the next row.

I hope you are enjoying your break from your herb garden.  Many of us in the northern half of the U.S. have not had a normal winter.  I hope that it mostly a good herbal thing!  I will be back out there soon enough.  Actually looking today to see what I could start doing and I may share that in my next post!  Talk to you later!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Gray and White Day in the Herb Garden!

Yes, Sun and Snow At The Same Time!
A View Into The Back Garden!
I think I have mentioned that I am a four seasons kind of girl.  I love all seasons but particularly spring, fall and winter.  Summer gets too hot for me.  So I can't see me ever living in the south for example.  After whining about not having snow, I got my wish today in the form of about four inches of the fluffy white stuff.  I was not prepared though to find the sun coming out AND snow falling to the ground!  It was sort of an unreal experience.  The banner photo shows St. Fiacre being blinded by the snow.   The only other problem with snowy days in the 'Burgh is that it is very dark!  Lights seem to be always on these days.  It is OK!  We have turned the corner as far as light at the end of the day and by the end of February, we will accumulate another 1-1/2 hours of light.  So spring is near really!  A few more days of snow and cold and another winter will be in the back of our memory banks.

I still have lots to talk about.  I still want to talk about herbal teas, celebrate my love/hate relationship with cilantro, the 2017 Herb of the Year, and talk more about savory, the 2015 Herb of the Year.  You get it.  I am planning a special Valentine's Day tea for The Herbal Husband.  Sshh!  Don't tell him, but it will include some of his favorites and some of mine.  I will share it with you next time.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you soon.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Gray and Green of the Herb Garden Even in Winter!

Still Trying to Make the Germander a Hedge!
I Love the Gray of the Artemisia!
Wow, This Lamb's Ear Has Taken Its Share of the Herb Garden!
Always A Green Source in Winter in the Herb Garden, Salad Burnet!
Well, I didn't think I would be sitting here talking about 40's, 50's even maybe 60 degrees in the herb garden in February.  We may get up to 1/2" of rain tomorrow before we head back to more seasonal temperatures!  I got a memory of February past in my Facebook account this morning that went back to 2011. We had a lot of snow that year. This year not so much.  That is a bit worrisome.

It is such a nice day that I ventured out and took some photos of my favorites in the herb garden this time of year even when it is very snowy.  I also wanted to try and get a list together of moving herbs so that we are on top of it this season.  I need to think about the oregano population in the herb garden.  It is spreading everywhere and taking space where I could have other varieties and you know how I like other varieties of herbs!

Two of my favorite green plants even in the cold of winter are germander and salad burnet.  Germander is a traditional hedge in the herb garden and mine is looking more like a small hedge each day.  And salad burnet that gives you a cucumbery taste in salad and makes a lovely vinegar.  It does not taste so much like cucumber this time of year.  It keeps you in suspense!  The gray favorites are artemisia and lamb's ear.  The artemisia was transplanted late in the season last year and hopefully it will make a hedge similar to the germander.  The lamb's ears are volunteers that need to be moved around.  It will continue to grow out of scale again where I could plant other herbs!  What are your favorite green and gray herbs in the winter garden.

Almost the second week of February and I have been busy with my stitching.  Here is where I am on the afghan.
Square One of Twelve!
I think it will be close to two months of stitching to get all of the squares done.  I will be sprinkling posts in and among the stitching days.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be!  It is another blue sky day and I may get out and take a walk since it is so nice.  Rain tomorrow and maybe even a clap of thunder!  Talk to you soon!