Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yes, there are herbs in the garden!

Nell Jean at Secrets of a Seedscatterer has a neat poll about herbs we grow in our gardens. Reading the post, the poll and the comments had me chuckling, thinking about some of the herbs I have grown.

Someone asked if dill counts as a herb. Most certainly it does, and there are many varieties. As a matter of fact, most plants will qualify as herbs, although we don't think of them as such. Roses are considered herbs, but I'm not gonna cook my chicken with the leaves.....

Some herbs are such thugs, I have to seriously consider how I can grow them before I will plant them. Oregano is one, as is mint of any kind. Lemon balm is another. I often plant herbs in big containers, and watch how they grow for a couple of years before I will plant them in the garden.

Mexican marigold mint isn't really a mint. We call it Texas tarragon. It will layer, but I don't have seedlings everywhere.

Cilantro is grown in my garden for flavoring the Mexican food I like to cook. I let it flower, because I love the pretty white flowers that look like lace waving in the breeze. It is a cool weather herb, and goes to seed quickly as the weather warms. We gather the seeds and save them as comino, or coriander. I grind them with a mortar and pestal to use in my carne guisada. Que rico!

We have garlic, common small garlic, and the Elephant garlic. (Garlic is a manly crop, as are the hot peppers, so the Man grows them.) Chives with delicate onion flavor, and the garlic chives, with the decidedly more robust garlic/onion flavor are both easy to grow.

Rosemary loves our hot sun, as does basil, and tansy. I tuck the thyme under another plant for protection. Sage is the same. Nothing is as good as poultry cooked with fresh sage and thyme...
or fish cooked with rosemary.

Comfrey is used as a medicinal plant here. It is great as a poultice; mash the leaves and apply to minor injuries. ( See a doctor for major injuries...) I don't think people eat comfrey, but it has lovely little pink flowers and big leaves. AND...comfrey is one of those plants that "Once you have it, you always have it.".....like crape myrtles.

Yarrow, wormwood, and horehound are ornamentals here. I grow them in my garden for the foliage. We can grow the common white yarrow, and the horehound grows wild. The wormwood has a pretty grey/green foliage. They are all thugs, and I have to pull them all about every other year. It doesn't matter one whit to them, they are back with abandon very quickly!

Parsley, curly and flat grows well here. My plants are huge, waiting for the butterflies to come eat them. The fennel too, is awaiting the butterflies. It is 4' tall now and beautiful. I wonder how long it will last if we ever get any butterflies...

The lemon grass is growing so fast now that we can almost watch it grow.

Alas, I cannot grow lavender. It does not appreciate our heat and/or humidity.

But I can grow lemon verbena, and I love it! I speak for large groups quite often, and the lemon verbena is fantastic for calming jittery nerves. I break a piece with a couple of leaves, and keep it in my pocket. The fragrance is very pleasing, and a couple of sniffs just calms me right down. Everybody knows who the speaker is; She is the one sniffing the lemon verbena!

35 comments:

NellJean said...

Thanks, Janie. My polls don't have all possible choices so there's something left for discussion.

The Lavender here that survived the winter so well that it even put on buds -- fainted and fell over when the sun got really hot with humidity to match the temperature. I was waiting to make pics when it actually bloomed, sigh.

'Spanish Lavender' is persisting. I'm afraid to look at it often.

Elephant's Eye said...

Janie - how wonderful to see you posting again. Have missed your writing. And this was worth the wait! Think you can eat comfrey leaves, but probably the smaller ones, and cooked. They are somewhat hairy? And I haven't tried!

gld said...

I am surprised you all can't grow lavender. We get very hot and humid here in southwest Missouri but after a few sorry attempts, I have had some success.

I raise angustifolia 'Munstead' from seeds and just put out 11 or 12 plants late last summer. I plant them in the driest spot I can find, even in the gravel of the driveway. If the soil is too heavy I mix half with sand. The plants are still short but are getting ready to bloom.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Janie, I am impressed with your herb collection! My favorites are dill and parsley.

Amy said...

I have more herbs than I thought I did. I just added yarrow. I like the foliage, too. I better watch out for the ones that like to take over. :)

janie said...

Yes, comfrey is hairy! I cannot imagine eating it! LOL

I forgot to mention that you should plant some garlic among your roses. The garlic wards off thrips, and the big, white, round blooms look like alliums blooming with the roses.

jeansgarden said...

My prime candidates for herb thugs are oregano and chives -- although I wouldn't be without either. A friend gave me a small clump of chives many years ago, and I believe I actually bought a 4" pot of oregano. Now I have chives and oregano all over the place. Of course, it might help if I deadheaded them instead of letting them go to seed. :-) -Jean

Wendy said...

Funny! At least you're sniffing something innocuous.

My oregano overwintered and I see why you describe it as a thug. I need to start using that stuff b/4 it takes over!

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Janie~~ I've been growing the ornamental oreganos for the past few years and it seems newer ones are coming on the market or else coming into my consciousness. You know how once you discover a plant you find it everywhere?

I grew comfrey years ago. It was growing right the water faucet and I was scared of the big black bumblebees that were attracted to the blossoms. Halfway to China, I could not dig that plant out. And speaking of digging out, my wonderful neighbor finally dug out her lemon balm plant so maybe in five years or so I won't have any more seedlings to rip out in my gardens.

Have you seen Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten'? It's a culinary sage with larger leaves than the species. I've found it is much happier with western Oregon's wet winters and it looks fabulous.

Great post!

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Kimberly said...

Janie, this is a very complete list of herbs! WOW!! I grow only a few...basil, lemon basil and cilantro. They reseed for me, and I keep them in pots (although the lemon basil found its way to the ground via seed so I let it go).

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Gloria said...

Hi Janie - my favorites are thymes. The low growing kind. Today I picked some lemon thyme, parley and chives and put them in a tuna salad. yum

Rose said...

Hi Janie, Long time since I have been here to visit. Happy to see that you are still blogging.

I have never grown an herb of any kind. I have seeds, I have plans, then three and half weeks of rain. I moved and have a new garden again. Who knows what the future will bring?!

Rose

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沈貞李添睿儀 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

We have a seven foot tall lemon verbena, and I have no idea what to do with it.

janie said...

Not sure that lemon verbena is a culinary herb, but it is wonderful in potpourri, tucked in your linen cupboard, and in drawers. AND it is wonderful for calming jittery nerves!