Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Farmer's Market - Herbs

Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

UPDATE from last week:

My chamomile is all but lost this year. The plants are browning fast and have only a few tiny flowers on them. I tried cutting them back to give them another chance, but no change. I really should just pull them up to keep disease from getting a foothold in the garden, but I keep hoping that they'll finally turn around.

Last year was my best year ever, with five harvests filling a good sized jar. Funny how I've worried over the years about how much water to give my plants, and whether they're getting enough sunlight and nutrients, but this year the heat is killing properly hydrated, fed, and lit plants. I never realized that my plants could have as much trouble with the heat as I do. (They don't whine quite as much, though.)

I don't really miss the blackberries; you don't miss something you never had. But I will be missing the chamomile a great deal. I grow it for tea and if any is left over come spring, I use it in sachets and then replace it with the new crop.

Oh well, maybe I'll have better luck next year . . . 

Herb Garden
- Timothy Steele

"And these, small, unobserved . . . " - Janet Lewis

The lizard, an exemplar of the small,
Spreads fine, adhesive digits to perform
Vertical push-ups on a sunny wall;
Bees grapple spikes of lavender, or swarm
The dill's gold umbels and low clumps of thyme.
Bored with its trellis, a resourceful rose
Has found a nearby cedar tree to climb
And to festoon with floral furbelows.

Though the great, heat-stunned sunflower looks half-dead
The way it, shepherd's crook-like, hangs its head,
The herbs maintain their modest self-command:
Their fragrances and colors warmly mix
While, quarrying between the pathway’s bricks,
Ants build minute volcanoes out of sand.

The core of my garden (and oldest part) is my little herb patch. It expands slowly as I find intriguing new possibilities. I experiment with new plants as I find them; sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  

You could say that my herb garden is my happy place. It combines working in the garden with aroma therapy, and the plants seem somehow less demanding than their floral, prima donna, cousins.

The stores around here don't offer many unique plants. The big box, 'only what everyone else has,' mentality is everywhere. I have to scour farmer's markets, small nurseries, and occasional web sites for new plants.

I have herbs for cooking, herbs for tea, herbs for healing . . . I'm still considering a theme garden. You know, like a Shakespeare garden, a biblical garden, medieval garden, medicinal garden, bee garden, tea garden, pizza garden . . . 

. . . Wait! Pizza? From the garden? Now that would save money, wouldn't it?
  Anyone know where I can get a pepperoni plant?
What kind of theme do you find appealing?

Oh! Oh! Oh! For those of you into container gardening, here is a site with over 50 creative & imaginative container ideas. These days container gardening is not just something you do because you have no yard. It's an art form. See! You guys were artists and didn't even realize it! (That's you, Chris & Lu & all the rest - You know who you are!)

Would you call this a croc pot?

But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.
 –Sally Owens,  Practical Magic.

One of my favorite herbs.  It adds such good flavor to so many things.

I actually have two, English & Lemon (this pic).

This sweetheart weathered frost after frost without even a nip.

Garden Sage
My neighbor likes to muddle this in her black tea.

Pineapple Sage
Mmmm. Wonderful smell. Wonderful flavor.

Upright Rosemary
Keeping it near the front door is said to bring love & good fortune to the household.

Nummy in lots of things. 

My daughter got this for me because it is supposed to be good for migraines.
I haven't tried it yet.

Vietnamese Cilantro
A perennial alternative to its more familiar namesake.
(I can't keep cilantro from bolting no matter what I do.)

Lemon Balm
Planted along the walkway, it releases a wonderful aroma when someone walks by.

Trailing Rosemary
A gift from a departing neighbor. 

Spearmint, Chocolate mint, Peppermint, Cat mint
These little guys are in pots in the ground to help keep them corralled.

I have two culinary varieties; 'munstead' (top pic) & 'grosso' (bottom pic) from the local Farmer's Market.

Bay Laurel
This plucky little one, poorly when I found it, is coming back great.


  1. LOVE this post :D I had completely forgotten that pineapple sage existed! I grew it for a few years years ago and haven't grown it since, but I agree with has such an AMAZING smell...I'd grow it just so I could tear the leaves and inhale it :) Lemon thyme has to be my favorite cooking herb! Such a very wonderful taste and smell. And I love love love lemon balm. I love to just run my fingers along the plant and smell it :) Sadly, I've never successfully grown chamomile so you've had better luck than me :/ Beautiful post as always :)

    1. I admit that I grow some of the things I do just because I love the smell. To the neighbors it's a ratty little patch that would look much nicer with some flowers instead. But to me it's a tiny island of serenity.