My Herb Garden
Our Herb Garden
I discovered the love of herbs many years ago. It started with drinking herbal teas and hearing about herbal remedies that were so popular and still are. Several years ago, I tried my hand at having a potted herb garden. I had NO idea how this idea would bloom and blossom over the years!!
The herb gardening started first, when we lived in California. Later, we ended up in the mid-west USA. My boys and I were excited to have a potted herb garden this time. There was no gardening area at first, only a porch. We bought several terracotta pots, as well as some paint, and he helped to decorate the pots so they all looked different. Also on our purchase list, was potting soil, and MANY seed packets for many different herbs. Initially, we thought it was a great idea to start with a just a few herbs. Then the choices of which to pick became more difficult, so we just got a whole big variety! :) We marked each pot on the bottom, with a sharpie marker, to help us remember what we planted in each pot.
Next was patience and diligence, for it was the middle of summer and baby seedlings can succumb to hot weather so fast, then die. Sure enough, one day, and on subsequent days, we saw more and more seedlings emerge and we were just thrilled!! My younger son would run in and say, "Mom, Mom, the basil is growing, i see it , i see it!!"
Since then, our love for herbs has grown. My older son and husband like to both experiment in the kitchen and cook a lot. We all enjoy using fresh herbs, and its nice to not pay the grocery store prices. I will now attempt to recall all the herbs we have grown since then, beware its a longer list than I realized ;p
Rudbeckia (black eyed susan)
Now there is an official area for my herbs, and its been a joy to see which few will return each year after a cold freeze. (yes, even in pots!) That was an unexpected joy. One of my favorite things, was seeing them grow initially of course. What surprised me most, was the whole "world of herbal knowledge" that I had no idea was out there. You can find the coolest information, down from ancient historical and medicinal uses, to really fun cooking ideas for your herbs. Another welcome surprise, was that some double for use in my butterfly garden!! Parsley, is a FAVORITE place for butterflies to lay eggs for their caterpillars to be born on. Suffice it to say, I don't use the parsley in or with food, for this reason. When I grow curled parsley, I CANNOT keep enough on hand hardly for the caterpillars. Its all theirs, and a joy to watch. Its literally entertainment to see them chomping through the parsley. (meaning curled parsley here, not the itialian parsley)
I learned all kinds of things, like if you leave the flowers that will grow on your cilantro plants, they will turn into a seed, which is our coriander herb we have in many of our kitchens. I never knew that before. Once they start this process of going to seed, you will lose your precious cilantro leaves that help make SUCH a fantastic salsa. The plant pours its energies into growing the big seeds. Cilantro is my husbands favorite herb, hands down, for that reason. He makes a fantastic salsa with it.
As of now, I am still learning how to harvest the herbs that are not so "obvious". Some are harvested in their roots, not leaves nor flowers, like the beautiful purple cone flower, aka, echinacea. If I am not mistaken, echinacea needs to be growing a certain number of years before you would want to harvest them, etc. Luckily, its reproducing plentifully in my garden, so maybe I can try this in the future. Others, like leaves of mint, or the flowers of chamomile, can be dried and used for teas, etc One of my favorite all time herb uses was seen when a friend had me over for lunch, right before I moved to the mid-west, USA. She used the stems from her rosemary plant, took off the leaves. (which could be saved and dried and stored for later use) Then, she used the harder stems AS skewers for shrimp, then grilled them like that!! They served up beautifully, and were super tasty. She and many others had some impact on my love of herbs and probably don't realize how they influenced me over the years to grow herb gardens.
I LOVE to visit the herb gardens I can find, and especially at the botanical gardens here. The older designs that many carry over from the past leave me all dreamy of possible future gardens. What is the coolest of all, is that it all started out with just curiosity, and some seeds and dirt!! Anyone can do that, as all we had was a porch, while we were waiting to move in at the end of the summer. Now, we have a yard again, and a whole area dedicated just to herbs. I am still learning so much, and so thankful for that.
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