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My Herb Garden

Updated on February 19, 2012

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

Chamomile

Echinacea

Dill

Peppermint

Spearmint

Rosemary

Lavender

Thyme

Sage

Oregano

Basil

Parsley (curled)

Italian Parsley

Cayenne

Bee Balm

Borage

Nasturtium

Cilantro/Coriander

Aloe Vera

Viola

Calendula

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.


Viola
Viola
Calendula
Calendula
Cayenne in the flower stage
Cayenne in the flower stage
Rudbeckia, aka, Black eyed Susan
Rudbeckia, aka, Black eyed Susan
Porch with herbs growing
Porch with herbs growing
More pots
More pots
More pots
More pots
Borage Flower
Borage Flower

Comments

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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks Phoenix!

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 

      7 years ago from USA

      Great hub!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello RK Sangha, thank you for stopping by and for your comment.

    • RK Sangha profile image

      RK Sangha 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks. I love harbal plants and have just planned to grow here in my house in Florida.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      OH Spirit, thanks for sharing that information!! You rock.... You should make your own hub about herbs, we could all learn so much from you. I just learned quite a bit right there! :) Love ya, Ocean

    • profile image

      Spiritwind 

      9 years ago

      You have done a really good job on your containers. Thank you so much for your story. I had forgotten about the little, wonderous things, like the parsley munching catipillars. And you are correct the purple cone flower, or echinechia needs to be estableshed 7 years before the can be used for teeth pain. The flowers, though can be used the first year. If you have pets, try the european penny royal, its a low growning mint, that is excellent for keeping away flees.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Jill, thanks so much, you are too kind. I am so happy you enjoyed it, and hope you try those rosemary skewers sometime, they are really tasty!

    • profile image

      A. Jill 

      9 years ago

      What a greatly informative article, Ocean. I thought I had some herbal knowledge but not as much as you. I especially love that you share with the caterpillars. Also, the hint about the rosemary skewers...what a nifty idea! Thanks for a super article and for sharing your knowledge. xo

    • awcase profile image

      awcase 

      9 years ago

      this is great ocean i enjoyed reading this thx for sharing it.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Phoenix, thank you so much.. Yes, do stay tuned, as I will be putting up more hubs and pictures hopefully. I have some more pictures to add to some of the current ones as well.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Frieda, Yes, One day who knows?? You can try your hand at it again. One of the coolest things about herbs, is once they are established, you don't want to overdo it in the fertilazation or "feeding" dept, as often they thrive best with minimal care. Again, this is certain of them, not all. Like the ones you mention that spread, yes you DO have to be careful, like with the mints, etc. I find keeping those in a big pot takes care of that. Ty for your words :)

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 

      9 years ago from USA

      Great Hub ! The Pictures and Photography are excellent ! I cant wait for more !

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I really enjoyed this article! My mother had a few kinds of mint growing on the side of the house (you have to be careful, cause those spread like crazy!) Brought back memories and my attempts at growing herbs myself. Sadly, I have had no long term luck. One day! Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden with us.

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