Friday, June 24, 2011

The herb garden in late June

I love the way the herb section of my garden is looking this year.

Most of my perennial herbs made it through a rough winter.  Only one of the lemon verbena plants was lost in the actual herb bed but the remaining plant is so large, I didn't try to grow another.

Everything looks fairly healthy although the constant rain has not been good for any of the garden (I had to throw away one of the kale plants today, it had started to rot).

The basil is growing near the tomatoes (somehow I did not get a picture).  They are just now beginning to grow nicely but definitely could use more sunshine.  I didn't replant rosemary this year... so far.  I'd still like to plant some herbs in containers.

Oh, and I planted lemon balm near the house, I'm hoping it grows there like ground cover.

Rober's Lemon Rose sits in the front and middle with lime, peppermint, and lemon meringue scented geraniums on the porch.  They will at times be moved out among the others to receive full sun.

Rose scented geranium grows in the bird cage

The scented geraniums are doing great in containers this year growing on and near the front porch.

The apple mint covers half the bed.  I pulled out runners this spring that started into an area I didn't want it to grow.  Mint grows so well in our area that it is one of the state's main crops. 

This year I've already harvested the leaves twice (by cutting them back).  I decided to dry most of the apple mint to use as tea later.  To make the tea fresh, I just wash it and then stuff a couple handfuls in my teapot... cover with boiling water... and let it sit about ten minutes.  That easy!

There is a great segment about making mint tea in the West Ladies' herb DVD... which I highly recommend.  I have watched it over and over and plan to watch it again soon.  The Amazon link is... here.

After I harvest the herbs, I wash them really well in the sink and then let them drain.

Then I place them on a big towel and roll it up to absorb all the extra moisture.  This time I let them sit overnight that way since I didn't have time to work with them until the following day.

They dry hung up in the little bathroom where the shower stall is used for storage.  I have had four or five hangers drying herbs at one time (years past).

The dried herbs shown above were all prepared for storage after I took this picture.  I'll talk more about how I do that another time.  The herbs which were drying further in the towel are now happily hanging on this hanger.  :)

Many thanks to Carolee from  Carolee's Herb Farm for her gift of some scented geranium plants.  She took a chance to send some plants and they survived the mail and the heat!  I am thrilled with how they are growing.


La Tea Dah said...

Your herb garden is beautiful! Mine is doing quite well too. You inspire me --- I think I will take some pictures and create a post to share too.

matty said...

How pretty it is! Mint has taken over my herb bed. Silly me! I knew better!

I like the idea of saving the leaves for tea. I think I will try to do that and maybe, just maybe, slow down the hostile take over of my back yard!

Mrs.Rabe said...

I need to get some herbs growing in pots, too!

Your garden is looking good!


Anonymous said...

Watch the lemon balm. Mine tried to take over after 2 years. First year it kept it's manners but then it decided to try and conquer the garden! :) Someone told me it is a member of the mint family and you know how they roam! You are sure inspiring me to plant more herbs when I can! Thank you Brenda! Sarah

Anonymous said...

Lovely!! So all that is needed to dry herbs is hanging upside down then? Doesn't need to be done in a food dehydrator?

BLessings, Elizabeth in NC

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Usually lemon verbena isn't winter hardy in our climate, so you were lucky...Herbs were a passion of mine for decades.......Still I love them and grow then.

Anonymous said...

Your herbs are so lush! My lemon verbena didn't make it through the winter. It amazeds me that one of yours did. I thought it was only hardy further south, like in Georgia or Florida or something. I hope to replace mine it and also to find a somewhat hardier rosemary plant. There is one variety listed on Richters Herbs website, (Ontario, CA), that is supposed to be hardier. Perhpas I'll try it. Oh, they have so many tempting herbs listed in their catalog.

Aren't the scented geraniums fabulous? They are so pretty and the aromas are incredible. You have two of my favorites, rose and peppermint. The peppermint can get HUGE! I adore its downy leaves, don't you?


Anonymous said...

I love rose-scented geraniums too. Our zoo has a huge mass of them in the "children's touch" section - they attract hummingbirds like crazy.

I have a cake recipe to try out someday, where you line the bottom of the cake pan with rose geranium leaves, and you also let some sit in your sugar before you make the frosting. I'm thinking it would be easy enough to do with a box mix & homemade buttercream . . .

Connie in San Diego