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Posts Tagged ‘tarragon’

Herbs I’ve Grown and Loved

 

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Growing favorite herbs in the herb garden for cooking

I started growing herbs when my Aunt Pearl, who lives in Georgia and is also a gardener, gave me a large pot planted with herbs. I’ve been growing them ever since. I like to mix them in among other perennials, although I have had beds with just herbs in them. Herbs are so easy to grow and since you need to keep pinching them back to make the plant fuller and to prevent blooming, you have plenty to use in cooking and you’ll have plenty to share, since it really is good for the plant to get pinched back. In most cases it would be hard to use that much of any herb. When I prune them back I put the clippings I’m not going to use in a basket on my kitchen counter. The smell is wonderful.

Put the ones you are planning on using in a glass with water in the fridge and they will stay fresh until  you need them. When using fresh herbs in recipes you’ll need to use a larger amount (about 2-3 times as much) because measurements are usually for dried herbs, which have much less volume. Fresh herbs make such a difference in foods. For example, potato salad is a whole different dish when prepared with fresh oregano, thyme, parsley and chives. The flavors are so fresh and wonderful.

Some can be grown from seeds and some can’t. Some can be dried and used, some frozen. If you’re interested in planting herbs, now is a good time for planting the hardy ones. Depending on where you live, Rosemary is iffy, and basil surely can’t take the cold but most others are pretty hardy. I’ll talk more about herbs later, but for now you really should consider herbs for your garden. You’ll fall in love.

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by Eliza Osborn

 

 

Herbs In The Garden

agastache,anise-hyssop,gardening,garden,gardens,flower garden,flower gardening,planning a garden,how to garden,how to plan a garden,how to plant a garden,growing flowers

Agastache - Anyse-hyssop

I grow at least 31 different herbs, but I don’t have an “herb garden”. Herbs are usually very hardy plants, that also happen to be edible, medicinal or aromatic…maybe even all three. Most of them are beautiful, foliage and flowers. They blend well with other, more ornamental, plants. So I enjoy mixing them in throughout all of my flower beds. I do keep the culinary herbs a little closer though, like right off the deck, close to the kitchen. I’ve had an “herb garden” before, and it can be very handy  to just run out and grab a handful of whatever you need. Now, though, I’ve scattered other perennials among them and they are still very handy.

Some herbs can get quite large and take up a lot of space, like the hyssop or the lemon balm, while others are small and compact, like the oregano and  thyme, and just kind of creep along among other plants.

apple mint, aromatic herbs, basil, chives, chocolate mint, culinary herbs, dill, garden, gardener, gardening, gardner, growing chives, growing herbs, growing sage, herb garden, herb gardening, herbs to grow, how to garden, how to grow herbs, how to plan a garden, lemon balm, medicinal herbs, mint, planning an herb garden, planting an herb garden, plectranthus, rosemary, sage, scented pelargoniums, tarragon

Lavendar

Sometimes it might seem like herbs are a little mysterious or maybe difficult to grow. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether you plant seeds (which I do a lot) or plant seedlings, you will probably have great success. Some herbs are so easy to grow that you might wish you weren’t so successful. Any of the mints will spread like wildfire and need to either be grown only in containers or in restricted areas. I love mint, especially chocolate mint, but I’ve learned the hard way that it can easily become a weed that smells very good when you’re pulling great handfuls of it out of your flower beds.

If you have well drained soil, plenty of sun and a little moisture, you can grow just about any herb you’d like. Most of them don’t even need especially fertile soil. Mulching helps keep the weeds down and will eventually break down to enrich the soil. If you can control the weeds early on, then soon the mature, spreading plants will choke them out naturally. Most herbs are perennial, meaning they’ll come back year after year.

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Dill

Many of the culinary herbs do well with pinching back, or pruning, so using them is a plus. Never remove more than 1/3 of the plant at a time though. As you pinch them back, they will become fuller and more attractive.

Cooking with herbs is a lot of fun. Be experimental and try different combinations. Have  you ever had potato salad made with fresh thyme, oregano and chives? Delicious.

I  grow a lot of aromatic herbs too (See post: The Aromatic Garden http://wp.me/p1OXDF-8d) just because I love them.  See also Ezine Article: http://ezinearticles.com/?8-Great-Plants-For-an-Aromatic-Garden&id=6582569

Some of my favorite culinary herbs are:

  • Tarragon – slight licorice flavor – used for cooking, vinegars and teas
  • Salad Burnet – cucumber flavor – used in salads
  • Chives – mild onion flavor – used in cooking and as garnish
  • Oregano – used in cooking
  • Sage – used in cooking
  • Basil – used in cooking and condiments
  • Thyme – used in cooking
  • Marjoram – used in cooking
  • Parsley – used in cooking and as garnish
  • Lemon Thyme – used in cooking

Some of my favorite aromatic herbs are:

  • Scented Pelargoniums – Lemon/Rose, Rose, Coconut, Green Apple, Lemon/Lime
  • Agastache Anise Hyssop – hard to describe, heavenly scent
  • Lavender – everybody knows what Lavender smells like…right?
  • Mint – also used for culinary by some – Chocolate Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Pineapple Mint, etc.
  • Plectranthus – hard to describe smell that I love (kind of like antique wood)
  • Artemesia – nice, clean smell
  • Helichrysum – fresh, straw-like smell

This winter, when  you’re planning your garden for next spring, think about incorporating some herbs in with the perennials or even with the vegetables. A whole new world will be opened to  you.

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Spearmint

apple mint, aromatic herbs, basil, chives, chocolate mint, culinary herbs, dill, garden, gardener, gardening, gardner, growing chives, growing herbs, growing sage, herb garden, herb gardening, herbs to grow, how to garden, how to grow herbs, how to plan a garden, lemon balm, medicinal herbs, mint, planning an herb garden, planting an herb garden, plectranthus, rosemary, sage, scented pelargoniums, tarragon

Purple Sage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feverfew and roses

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Thyme

The Aromatic Garden

Agastache Hyssop and Autumn Joy Sedum

Hyssop (Agastache) on left near Sedum

If  you’d ever visited my garden, then you’d know that I have some great smelling plants. I know this because whenever anyone visits my garden for the first time I’m very likely to began snatching off great smelling leaves and crushing them, so the aroma will be released. I just don’t want anyone to miss out on the beauty of an aromatic garden. Ahhh…

I do have favorites though and I hope that one day you’ll be able to smell what I’m talking about, it you haven’t already. I’m posting the pictures of these plants but you know, a picture can only tell you so much.

Hyssop (Agastache) – Flowers and leaves have a heavenly scent, plus bees, hummingbirds and butterflies absolutely LOVE the flowers. It is a perennial, hardy at least to zone 5, so it comes back year after year, bigger and better each year.

Scented Geraniums (Pelargoniums) – Top of this list is the Lemon Rose, which smells EXACTLY as it’s name implies. It’s a beautiful plant that  has small, insignificant flowers. It’s all in the leaves. It is a tender perennial and has to come in the house for the cold months but when I lived in zone 8 it was planted in the ground and barely died back during the winter. It can get quite large and may need pruning back to maintain a certain size. If you do prune it back, put the clippings in a basket somewhere in your house for potpourri… Or you can put them in water and root them for more Pelargoniums. There are a lot of scents to choose from in the Scented Geraniums. There’s coconut, lemon, apricot, rose, citronella, and many more. The coconut is really nice but the plant isn’t quite so pretty.

lemon rose scented geranium

Just pruned Lemon Rose Pelargonium

 

Tarragon– Even though this is a culinary herb, it could easily be used for it’s scent alone. It’s a beautiful plant that I’ve written about in an earlier posts, but I had to mention it here because it does smell so good. Let me just say that it taste as good as it smells. It’s a perennial that’s hardy at least to zone 5.

Tarragon growing in herb bed

Tarragon

Lavender – All parts of this plant smell heavenly. We have French Lavender (Spanish Lavender) which is grown for it’s oil content in France. I like to cut them and tie them in bundles and hang them upside down to dry. But cut fresh and used in small bouquets is the best. Ours bloomed in the spring and  began blooming  again in mid summer. It’s doing great here so I think it’s hardy at least to zone 5.

Spanish Lavender in perennial bed

French Lavender blooming again

Variegated Plectranthus – This is a plant I just discovered this year and I love it. It has the smell of fine, old antique wood, almost citrusy. It grows really fast and is beautiful trailing in hanging baskets because it all cascades down like a water fall. This is a tender plant and will be a house plant this winter. Oh, the house is going to smell so good.

scented plant plectranthus in hanging basket

Variegated Plechtranthus in hanging basket

Mint – Mint has such a refreshing smell and is extremely easy to grow. So easy in fact, that it really should only be grown in containers or in a confined area or you will be pulling mint out of every flower bed in your entire yard before you know it. There….the warning came first. Now I can talk about how wonderful it smells. My absolute favorite is the Chocolate Mint. Really. It smells just like a Peppermint Patty. Then there’s apple mint, spearmint, peppermint, orange mint etc. etc. Some of them you really have to  use your imagination to smell the “apple” or “orange” but they do still smell good. A hardy perennial, it will pop up again next spring.

Chocolate Mint under grape arbor

Chocolate Mint growing under grape arbor

 

 

Wormwood (Artemesia) – This is a silvery, lacy plant that is really beautiful. The leaves smell like a potpourri that doesn’t have a floral base. I think it is used in potpourri actually. Anyway it has a very pleasant, clean scent. A hardy perennial that sometimes gets a little too big but I just don’t have the heart to whack it back.

Mums and wormwood (artemesia) by picket fence

Wormwood (Artemesia) and Mums by picket fence

Helichrysum– Another discovery this year. It has a beautiful scent like fresh straw and some sort of fruit. It has green leaves that look frosty and it trails in hanging baskets. It will have to come in for the winter, so we’ll see how that goes. Hope I can keep it alive till next spring. I think there is an essential oil from this plant too.

helichrysum under grape arbor

Helichrysum in pot under grape arbor

When you’re planning your garden, consider some of these great plants. Your garden might as well smell good as look good. Right?

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by Eliza Osborn

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