Saturday, May 30, 2015

New Life to an Old Herb Garden

The Herb Garden c. 2008
I had to dig way back into the blog archives to unearth a photo of my herb garden in it's prime.  A couple of steps from the kitchen door it stood ready each day to offer me a sprig of this or a pinch of that.  Often just the right ingredient to add a touch of flavor and freshness to the evening meal or breakfast omelet.

Since then the Kwanzan Cherry tree has gotten huge grown exponentially.  Between the expanding canopy and root system, my herb garden has been reduced to two lone survivors.  Lemon Balm can be seen at the bottom center of the photo and if you had microscopic vision you might even see it sprouting up in the grass too.  Gotta love that herb for it's tenacity.  The other survivor, Garlic Chives, have been relocated to a new home.

See them there in the upper righthand corner?
They are now mingling with oregano and thyme in a sunny little pot.  The thyme is a silver/green color bearing the name "High Ho Silver".

I put one on each side of the grill.  
They should like the full sun and I think it will be a convenient reminder to the chef to add a snip or two to the food as it cooks.

The remainder of my herbs will now reside in my one and only raised bed.  The chives have been growing in 3 spots along the front of the garden.  We just got the garden planted last weekend, which is late for this area.  Four tomato plants, 3 peppers, a small row of leeks and the rest are herbs.

When I think of the tastes of summer I think of watermelon, corn on the cob, fresh crisp cucumbers and basil, to name just a few.
Last year we enjoyed fresh pesto and I froze pesto in ice cube trays.  What a wonderful treat that was in the wintertime.  I also dried every last leaf that was left at summer's end.  I like the fact that I know my herbs are organically grown.

Planted last year from seed, this sage hung out in the corner of the bed all winter.  It is now doing so well I decided to leave it right where it is.  I must admit that I don't use sage all that often, but hope to find some new ways to do so this year.  Do you use fresh sage?  If so, what are your favorite ways to use it?

Tarragon and Parsley
When I think of Tarragon I think of chicken, in particular chicken salad.  My favorite recipe can be found here .  
Parsley finds it's way into many of my meals.  I can't imagine not having it close at hand as I think it adds just the right touch of freshness to so many things.  I prefer the Italian flat leaf variety.

 My herb garden wouldn't be complete without Mint.
Those who have grown mint are well aware of it's tendency to go a bit wild in the garden.  It is definitely more well-behaved when grown in a pot.  When selecting a mint plant this year I was tempted by the many interesting varieties.  In the end I went for the chocolate mint. (one of my very favorite flavor combinations).  Once potted I was looking around the yard for a place to put my mint plant.  It needed to be somewhere that I would see it daily to remind me to check whether it needed to be watered and also for convenience in snipping.  I had read that mint can grow in partial shade which helped to make the decision.  The bench in front of the blue hydrangeas.  I must say I love the selection of glazed pots that are currently available at the garden centers.  It was really hard to make a choice based on the many pretty color combinations.  
I'm thinking this one will work just fine in my garden.

 Herbs are such a wonderful addition to the garden.
Most require very little care.  My original herb garden grew happily for almost ten years.  It was a great return on my original investment of about a dozen plants.  If you've bought those jars of dried herbs or fresh bunches at the grocery store you know how costly they can be.
As you can see they can grow in a garden plot or a little pot making them ideal for just about any situation.  
I'm beginning to sound like an herb sales person. Ha.  Not meaning to do that at all, just sharing my passion for herb gardening with you here today.  If you share this interest and want to talk herbs, please do so in comments.  Favorite herbs to grow, favorite uses for particular herbs, recipes, etc.  I'm all ears :).

Happy Herb Gardening and Happy Weekending too!!


  1. It is amazing how fast a garden, or the plants, can change. I am starting more herbs in pots this spring. I put basil seeds in a pot just this morning. Seeing your sage reminded me that I want to grow sage. I use sage in dressing. Really I don't do a lot of cooking with herbs mostly because I don't know how. I do use basil. Anyway, your pots of herbs are very pretty. Thank you for visiting!

  2. Wow you have lots of different herbs growing in your gardens. We plan to go out Mon and buy the rest of our plants for the garden. June 1 the danger of frost is finally gone.
    NICE grill.
    I keep forgetting to tell that that Brett was on the complete other side of the state from us. I checked out the difference and it was 212 miles. My daughter lived in Havre de Grace back in the 90's.

  3. What a handsome herb garden you once had but you are on your way to getting it going again. Good luck.

  4. Sage in Arabic is miramiya and we use it dried in our tea. Very tasty. I have a vegan pumpkin alfredo that calls for sage so I just crumble some of that up into it. Delish! Our growing season is over. I've had a hard time keeping mint because of the heat but must try again since we put a tarp over a portion of one balcony. It helps protect plants from direct sunlight which is much needed once we hit 50 degrees C. Have a great day. Tammy

  5. Your tree grew so large that it was stealing water and nutrients? Hmmm...that may expain a few things. My garden is not looking so great this year. Herbs are always annuals, except for chives and mint, here. I will probaby pick up some rosemary and parsley. I really don't use the others. I tried one year using my dried sage for stuffing and things and it was nearly flavorless. I settle for the cheap stuff at The Christmas Tree Shop. At least, it has flavor.

  6. Your garden is lovely, lovely, lovely, Kim! I like herbs, too. I'm thinking about planting several lavender plants by the back door so the scent can waft into the family room.

  7. Your garden is looking so pretty. Love the color of the mint pot. I like herbs, too, and have almost the same ones that you do. I like sage leaves fried until crisp in a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and eaten as a snack with some cheese. Have a great day, Kim.

  8. Your gardens look amazing! Oh, that mint, it does have a will all it's own doesn't it? I have not had a lot of luck with sage, I keep killing it off! Oh well, at least I have rosemary which does quite well here.

  9. This post was so inspiring to me! I think all food tastes better when made with fresh herbs. I especially like the idea of putting the mint in a big pot, along with the hydrangeas . I have experienced mint taking over my flower beds, so this is what I will do. Your gardens look so good, which remind me of all the work you put into them. I too, enjoy basil and summer would not be the same without it. This post gave me some new ideas. Thank you!

  10. Yes, I too, am inspired to have more herbs growing. I have a little oregano plant that has held on for a couple of years now...and a rosemary bush that's starting to have seen better days. But your gardens look wonderful and I love herbs, too, so I can appreciate your post.

    Blessings for delicious herb growing,
    Marianne xox

  11. Your garden is looking lovely! I also have enjoyed growing herbs these past years...and love having them on hand to add to the summer dishes. I learned my lesson about growing took over the herb garden and I was forced to remove everything and start over. The mint now grows in a pot all of its own!


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