Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lemon Verbena Living, How Did I Miss This?

A Very Early Bloom on My Favorite!
Well, it had to happen sooner or later.  There is a blog that is really and truly about my favorite, lemon verbena.  It is called Lemon Verbena Living from Mia Sherwood Landau in North Texas.  Mia lives, eats, breaths, grows and sells lemon verbena, live and dried.  She also found a book called A Plant of Lemon Verbena by Alicia Amy Leith from 1895 from England!  How did I not hear about this book or this blog?  I have been in my stitching cave, stitching!  That's why!

So I have linked her blog here in this post and in my favorite blogs in the U.S.  Hopefully, I will get some time to sit down and read the entire blog.  Looks like I have a bunch of reading to do Mia from 2014, but I think I will enjoy doing it and I will probably learn a ton about our favorite, lemon verbena.  Glad you found me Mia!  I am very delighted you did!

Since I talked about an Herb Companion post or two last post, I will give you links to my favorite posts about lemon verbena here:   In 2009 I did a post called The Lemon Verbena Lady's Favorite Herb.  In 2010 I did a post called A Summertime Favorite:  Lemon Verbena Jelly.  In 2011 I did a post called The Lemon Verbena Tales:  New Pests and Harvesting Tips.  In 2012 I did a post called The Herbal Harvest:  3 Lemon Verbena Recipes.  So that should give you few thoughts about my favorite in one place.

Here in the 'Burgh, IT IS STILL RAINING!  I have made a box of raspberry jam already.  We are supposed to have our last day of rain tomorrow and then we are to dry out.  I got the great news that my coverlet is finished and so Monday I will pick it up and hopefully show it to you then.  Hope you had a great day in your herb garden.  Ours is a jungle at the moment!  Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Going Big in the Herb Garden!

The Elecampane Has Started to Flower!
One of the activities I do when I am not blogging in the winter is get out my copies of The Herb Companion magazine and come up with topics.  I have always been interested in herb garden design.  In the end I am basically just an herb plunker, herbally speaking!  But this winter when I pulled out my magazines, I came across a wonderful array of lists and plans of herb plants for different situations.  Maybe this will be my light bulb moment, herbally speaking!  I was attracted to the elecampane when we were in France in 2011 and stopped at Chateau Val Jonais.  Bonnie was kind enough to give me hers and now I need to plant some others to give it a bigger punch!

The Elecampane Made a Statement at Val Jonais!
I was just reminded that as a guest blogger for The Herb Companion aka Mother Earth Living, I wrote a post called Growing Big Herbs:  Angelica, Borage and Tansy.  That post talked about the tansy attracting all of the ladybugs and their eggs into the herb garden among other benefits.  So big is just not taking up space.  In this post I also referenced the article that I found this winter by Rob Proctor from a January 2000 magazine called Big is Beautiful:  Grow Big Herbs for a Beautiful Garden.  As I get older and want to do less weeding, I am looking to bigger fuller herbs and herbal shrubs to take up spaces and make a statement.  Hopefully, you will find the right combination of herb plants from his list for your herb garden.  Don't forget to use the Mother Earth Living website because they have the archived articles from The Herb Companion magazine available to you.  I will try to keep sharing my finds in posts along the way!  Also if you go to my home page that gives you a page of my guest posts for The Herb Companion and Mother Earth Living!

The rain just continues to fall and the ickies and stickies are back.  I have made several batches of raspberry jam already.  So there is a silver lining in the rain.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  I will talk to you later.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sporadic Blooming, Christmas in July and Raspberry Jam!

Butterfly Bush Starting to Bloom!
My Favorite is Blooming This Season.  Second Year Plant in the Ground!
Swordleaf Elecampane, a Shorter Version of Elecampane!
Echinacea, a Staple in the Herb Garden
Monarda Blooming in Time for the Fourth!
I Thought This Monarda Was a Lighter Color Last Year!
Really 'Hot Papaya' Echinacea!
'Hall's Pink' at the Mailbox
The Really Big and Tall Elecampane!
After 27 Years in the Stash Box, Three Herbal Bouquets Finished!
An Apple Tree Ornament!
A Christmas Lantern Ornament!
The Start of Jam Season!
Really can't believe that it is July already!  We are still getting rain.  So the weeds are monstrous but there is sporadic blooming going on.  As I sit here typing, the skies are darkening again and we are about to have another rain storm.  Our blooming is spread out through our gardens, but not nearly enough to make a statement.  Will have to work on that for next year.

We do have some butterflies and bees, but they are not as present as in other years.  I think that has to do with all of the rain we are getting.  Hopefully starting tomorrow, we will have a few dry days so that the butterflies and bees will be visiting. 

One of my friends asked on Facebook if Monarda reblooms.  Yes, if you pick the petals off and keep the head intact, the flowers will rebloom.  You can use the petals in salads or dry them to put in your tea blends.  The leaves of the monarda do get mildew in this area and once the blooming has finished you can cut the leaves back and it will generate a new crop of mildew free leaves.  My two different varieties of elecampane are blooming.  The small one is in the herb garden and the large one is back in the flower bed I began last season.  I like the large enough to get more for next year.  I think I will continue to go big in the back beds and let plants take over.  Elecampane doesn't take over, but it does have a large presence.

I have been concentrating on my stitching because of the heat, humidity and rain.  As you can see, I have completed the three herbal bouquets from cross stitch magazines that are from 1990!  They each took about two weeks to finish.  Very excited!  I am also working on some small projects including the Christmas ornaments shown above.  Very happy and fulfilled to be stitching again.

And the raspberries have started to produce and I have already made two batches of jam.  Really raspberries are like clockwork.  I made my first batch of jam around the same time last season.  Christmas presents will include jam this year.   So hope you have had a great season so far in your herb garden.  Let me know what you are up to!  Also as always, I am up for any herbal questions you may have.  Hope you are having a fabulous day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.