Bloom Thyme Friday: Welcome to My Herb Garden

This week I had some extra time to just “be” in my herb garden. It is a very special place for me. The fence was the first structure that Mr. G built for me after we moved into our “new” home. That was over 30 years ago. Pardon me while I shed a few tears. Looking back, 30 years seems like a blink… have you noticed that — looking back is like a quick vapor and looking ahead seems like forever. Those 30 years are filled to the brim with memories. Mr. G building the fence with 2 littles in tow. My daughter and son planting seeds; picking herbs we would use in cooking; harvesting lavender and other flowers and herbs that we used in crafts — some we sold as the Ladybug Herb Garden.  (My daughter’s “baby” name was Ladybug.)

I wish I had a list of all the herbs, veggies, cutting flowers and roses (they’re herbs too) that have had a home in this happy, fragrant 16’ x 18’ space.

Let me show you around…

Basil that has gone to seed and making the pollinators happy growing in a tangle with chives and a very prominent black eyed susan that I didn’t plant. It is always a big surprise as to where the black eyed susans will show up each year!

Thyme that makes it’s way into egg salad, chicken salad and bean dishes. And is the perfect ground cover for herb gardens.

Zinnias and Cosmos (Mr. G’s Fav) running amuck in that beautiful way they do in the fall.

Nasturiums — because they are so dependably pretty and fun to add to salads.

Lambs Ears because of it’s color, texture and the fact that every child loves it. Behind the Lambs Ears is the lovely ‘Pretty Polly’ Almond scented geranium.

Okra … that should have been picked last week. Note: I don’t have a full on vegetable garden but add favorite veggies here and there around the garden, on the deck and on the driveway!

Banana peppers … that should have been picked last week. Zinnias were hiding them.
Chard … for smoothies and just for pretty.
Rosemary … because it’s beautiful, fragrant, delicious and has been used for years in a family favorite recipe – rosemary baked potatoes!

Plants that are here but have finished for the season…

Peonies, yarrow, sweet peas, sweet william and larkspur had their moment and have come and gone. The world they lived in was much more tame!   Look, no jungle in late May!

Herbs you don’t see in my “Herb” garden…

Mint… the last plant my mother bought for me was apple mint. That was more than 25 years ago. While I’ll never be without mint for the memory of her and for the fact I use it all the time, it is planted safely in a pot where it’s “roaming” tendencies are kept in check! 😳

Oregano… has been taken out to the veriest back of the property where it can run amuck. It’s yummy but it is like mint in that it desires world domination!

Sage… It is one of my two favorite herbs. I love it for so many reasons — I love the flavor and I love the holiday memories attached to that flavor and that smell and I love how it looks. You don’t see sage in the herb garden because it lives and thrives in another area of the garden where conditions are dryer. While it looks so good with the other herbs, it’s happier elsewhere.  And, it does very well beside it’s neighbor that doesn’t like the herb garden all that well either… Lavender – my other favorite. Who doesn’t love lavender!?! Is there a more relaxing fragrance in all the world? Not for me. I do plant both sage and lavender in the herb garden each year and while they mostly survive for a season, they don’t thrive. So, to have plenty, it is best to have “extras” where they are happier!

And, this brings us to Roses… they greet you as you enter. As it should be.

Thanks for stopping by for my herb garden tour. Now you know that my herb garden, like all the other “rooms” in my garden are a combination of plant types. Most of them tasty and many so aromatic — making it a destination I can get lost in!

Let’s all take a deep breath and inhale the earthy fragrance of herbs. I’m wondering what are your favorites? Is it sage or lavender or….

I bet there’s a story behind your favorite and I’d love to hear it! ❣️

Bloom Thyme Friday: Outside and In

The temps this week are getting more and more frosty and time for some of my favorite fall tasks. I am a bit late in getting some of these things done, but sometimes the “best” time to do things is when you have the time and I did.

Things like welcoming back in the houseplants that have enjoyed the sunshine and rain all summer but certainly don’t want to stay outside in the cold!

Bringing into the garage potted herbs and flowers, I hope to over winter. Note: Sometimes this works for me and sometimes it does not — but always worth the effort. These plants are put in a dark, slightly heated garage and get watered once a month until early spring and go back out! Most do make it!

By far the most fun task this week was clipping herbs and flowers to dry. Since there are only two of us, we don’t need as many cooking herbs, but this is a process I would do even if we never cooked — for many reasons. First of all I love every part of the process… gathering them and enjoying their fragrance. I love how they look in their little bunches hanging around! And, another huge bonus, it takes me back to those days when I was a stay at home mom and had a small cottage business of making potpourri and herb and flower wreaths. A local garden center requested them and it was so fun to do! Mr. G made me drying racks of all kinds for the bunches and bunches of herbs and flowers I needed. Hydrangeas, roses, lavender, grasses, yarrow, sedum, artemisia, tansy, sage, feverfew and such. Yes, sweet (and savory) memories.

In those days many of these dried bunches of beauty were also used as main decorations for the Christmas tree. Things were different every year. As the kids got older they helped to bring things in and of course in decorating. #familyfun Let me just say that both of our grown children are gardeners. I guess it is in their genes or at least in their memory banks!

You can read about my daughter’s garden here. My son has to have herbs for cooking and is always chasing the best tomatoes to plant!

POTTING SHED FUN THIS WEEK:


BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK:

Many bloomers were great at the beginning of the week but not so much today.

Thanks for stopping by.

I hope you have beautiful treasures from your garden to enjoy outside and in.

 

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY

Keeping it Cool: Rose Ice Cream

Denise Schreiber, garden friend and author of Eat Your Roses, shared a wonderful, super easy rose ice cream recipe with me recently.

ROSE PETAL ICE CREAM

¾ cup of dried edible rose petals
1 quart of good quality vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon of rose syrup (I used Monin)
½ cup of finely chopped pistachios 
1 teaspoon of cardamom (Optional)

Soften ice cream. Crumble in your hand the dried rose petals (from roses that have not been sprayed with chemicals) as you would dried herbs. Stir in slightly then add rose syrup. Taste test first to see if you desire more syrup. Refreeze then serve. 

For more recipes like this one, check out Denise’s Facebook page here

What a treat! I used Rugosas petals in our ice cream and it was delicious! Yes, yummy rose flavored ice cream is a great way to enjoy summertime in the rose garden.

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Do you have recipes that use roses and other flowers?

Overwintering Plants

When winter approaches I typically bring potted plants I want to save into the Potting Shed where there is controlled warmth and light (geraniums, mint, lavender, etc.), except for my large potted roses, they are taken to the garage (no windows). The roses go dormant and “spring” back to life in the spring. Because of “over crowding” in the Potting Shed, I took this pot of herbs to the garage too.

Last week I brought the pots out of the garage and couldn’t believe how well these herbs sprang back to life. They never lost their “green” completely and now they look almost robust! Today they are outside getting some sunshine and intermittent light rain. Let the thriving begin!

The roses left in the garage are doing quite well too.

I typically cut any spindly growth completely back and let the roses start fresh. But this one is recovering so fast that I may do minimal pruning and she how she does. Meet the “winter in the garage, in the dark version of the Coretta Scott King” rose. Anemic though she may be, I think we are going to start from here and see what she does.

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Coretta Scott King in the garden last summer…

Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King

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Happy Spring!

Blurring the Lines

At our house we like to blur the lines between inside and outside as much as possible. No we don’t have terra ferma for floors … yet. Did I just say that. Let’s just keep that between us. Mr. G need not know.

Today is one of those rare days in Indiana where it is sunny and even though it is 34 degrees, to me it feels like 70 and I just have to be outside! So, I spent the day “decorating” outside. Through the long winter months I love to look outside my window and see pretty things!

I’ve been on a scavenger hunt today to find things in the garden to add to the vignettes we will enjoy out our windows through the long Indiana winter…

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Treat for the hard-working gardener. ; )
Treat for the hard-working gardener. ; )

Bloom Thyme Friday

This week most of the roses are taking a break and getting ready for another big flush giving many of the perennials and annuals their “time to shine!” And they are going for it…

See what I mean…

The vines of the Morning Glory have been climbing and twirling around for some time, but this morning the first bloom emerged. Worth the wait!

Morning Glory
Morning Glory

This little bird bath is one of my favorite garden ornaments. It has been in my garden for nearly 20 years. Each year I surround it with something pretty. This is one of the best combinations yet–petunias and euphorbia. What do you think?

Little birds and company...
Little birds and company…

The Pinkie Winkie Hydrangeas are in full bloom … almost to the point of outgrowing their space. Love them! Do you grow this variety? I would highly recommend!

Pinkie Winkie Hydrangeas on the right side...
Pinkie Winkie Hydrangeas on the right side…

Next up are these amazing State Fair  Zinnias–compliments of my garden friend Ron Daniels. Just as Ron said–these Zinnias are blooming machines!

State Fair Zinnias ... THANKS RON!
State Fair Zinnias … THANKS RON!

This Stargazer lily just begs to be mentioned. The Stargazers have had a wonderful and long season this year! And the fragrance … unbelievable!

Stargazer Lily...
Stargazer Lily…

These lovely ladies need no introduction … Say hello to my Black Eyed Susans. They do not know how to be subtle. And, they nestle up to a fence and spill over in the most delightful way ever. And, you know what I think about yellow in the garden—It brings the sunshine in!

Blackeyed Susan making a statement!
Blackeyed Susans making a statement!

Here is the entrance to my herb garden. Love the fragrance of my herbs–love the fence that Mr. G made and especially love the sign that Mr. G made…

Entrance to Herb Garden...
Entrance to Herb Garden…

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite places on earth … My Potting Shed. Another wonderful creation of Mr. G.

L O V E him and all his wonderful creations!

I have never had an unhappy moment in my Potting Shed!
I have never had an unhappy moment in my Potting Shed! The hydrangeas are very happy there too!

Wishing you a wonderful day doing all the things you love to do — surrounded by the people you love best!!

Wordless Wednesday: Herbs

Parsley
Lemon Verbena
Mint
Sage

Basil
Flat Leaf Parsely
Lavender
And the Rose … Herb of the Year!

Potting Shed Review: How to Eat a Rose by Jim Long

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim Long during last week’s Rose Chat interview    about his book, How To Eat a Rose, the rose as herb of the year and so much more.

JIM LONG

Jim has appeared on numerous HGTV and Discovery Channel gardening programs as well as P. Allen Smith’s garden series. His gardens have been featured in Southern Living, Gourmet and Better Homes & Gardens magazines. He also writes the syndicated newspaper column, The Ozarks Gardener that runs in newspapers in Missouri and Arkansas. Check out the Ozark’s Gardener blog here.

He is the proprietor of Long Creek Herbs where you can find many wonderful products derived from herbs.

INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCE

Twelve years ago while in India, Jim was surprised to see ice cream flavors listed as chocolate, vanilla, pistachio and rose. So his interest was sparked as to how roses are used in other countries and his research began!

HERB OF THE YEAR

Each year the International Herb Association chooses the herb of the year (click for details). This decision is based on 3 things…

  • Does it have medicinal properties?
  • Is it an culinary herb?
  • Can it be used for crafts or manufacturing?

At first I thought it was odd that the rose would be herb of the year, but with the rose, the answer to all 3 questions is, “YES.” So, Jim’s says it fit perfectly as herb of the year.

WHICH ROSES TO USE

Jim says, “If it smells good, it will taste good–just be sure there have been no sprays or systemic fertilizers used on the roses!”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

This book is a great value for only $5.95. If you love roses, you need this book in your collection. You can purchase a copy here @ longcreekherbs.com, Jim’s website.

Container Gardening: From Ordinary to Extraordinary

I love growing in containers. I grow everything from tomatoes and herbs to exotic flowers and shrubs. Each year it is fun to decide what containers to use and what plants to try.

Through the years I have turned just about everything into a container for plants. Sometimes I find something unusual and the container is more important than the plant. But, most of the time my containers are ordinary and it’s the plants that make them special.

However, there is one container that I use every year that is very special to me, this little metal water pitcher that is filled with lemon mint…

Mammy's Pitcher
Mammy’s Pitcher

This pitcher belonged to my grandmother … the same grandmother who went to see her doctor when she was in her 80s and asked the doctor to give her a pill that would make her feel strong enough to hoe in the garden. This little pitcher was a part of her everyday, ordinary life. To me it is completely extraordinary in the memories that it holds!

I am told she had the greenest of thumbs and could grow anything. And, you can be sure that I love it when other family members say, “You remind me of your grandmother, Mammy!”

Here are some containers in my garden and even a picture of me taken a few years ago dressed in one of Mammy’s dresses, holding her water pitcher…

My favorite plants to use in containers…

  • Tomatoes (Because I am obsessed)
  • Chile Peppers
  • Roses
  • Mint (…Because I love it and use a lot of it BUT it will take over if you plant in ground!)
  • Most used cooking herbs
  • Nasturtiums (Planted around my tomatoes)
  • Dorotheanthus Mezoo (Big name but excellent trailing plant)
  • Lantana (Hummingbirds & butterflies love)
  • Wave Petunias (’cause they can take the heat)
  • Geraniums
  • Coleus
  • Ferns
  • Gardenias
  • Succulents

For more on container gardening, click here.

What do you grow in containers?

You might also enjoy these family stories…

Memories of My Mom…

My Dad the Sailor…