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Posts tagged ‘lavender’

Harvesting and Drying Herbs: Lavender, Oregano, Thyme and Marjoram

The gorgeous lavender flowers kept the bees very busy the past couple of weeks, but I noticed that the majority of the blooms had faded and the bees were absent Saturday morning.  According to some sources, lavender flowers should be cut when the flowers first start blooming, in order to have the highest level of oil retained in the dried flowers.  I couldn’t take the lavender away from the bees, though.  So, I waited until most of the flowers were spent, then cut them down in the morning when the oil is at its highest.   I bundled the flower stalks up using some rubber bands, then hung them to dry upside-down so that the oil  drains down from the stem, concentrating in the dried flowers.  All-bloomed-out, they still smelled wonderfully pungent!

Spanish lavender blooming

The above picture was the lavender in bloom just a couple weeks ago – it was such a gorgeous, deep shade of purple.  Each one of the flower stalks run down to the plant, where I cut each one right above the green foliage.  This is what it looks like now:

Lavender after a trim, 4/25

Hopefully this will urge her to send up some more blooms later in the season.  Here’s what the bundles of dried lavender looked like:

In the meantime, the herb garden was just overflowing.  I needed to make room for a couple new plants, but first, I seriously needed to do some harvesting!  If you will remember, last year I had two basil plants in the back.  They produced so much basil that I still have several ziploc bags full of dried leaves.  Basil is best fresh.  It’s OK dried, but it loses a lot of flavor.  I won’t ever eat all of the dried, especially not now until November when this new plant dies.   With two plants, however, we just had too much for the three of us to consume. So, I only bought one this time around …  In the place of where the other plant was last year,  I put a dill transplant.  I saw it at the nursery and thought, why not?  We eat dill at least a few times a month, so that makes sense.  Plus, it attracts butterflies as well.

Herb garden 4.25.10, before its cut

another view ...

Harvesting is a little time-consuming lately!  At least, more so than last fall.   There was so much to cut, it took me two hours to cut, sort and bundle to dry.  The sage was pretty buggy, especially the one that was flowering.  Every one had sugar ants, fire ants, green loopers – that probably took me the longest just to rid the blooms of bugs.  I wanted to hang them upside down and see how they dry.  But yeah – bugs galore.  Obviously everyone is very happy, as the sage didn’t seem to be any worse for the wear.  Needless to say, I didn’t harvest any sage.  That’s okay, too.  I have a large jar full of dried leaves from last fall.  The oregano was probably nearly 12″ tall in some areas.  I cut it back as much as 8-10″ in most places, especially near the back where the chives are trying to get more light.  I had a full bowl of two types of oregano.  They smelled outstanding.  The marjoram was just harvested a couple of weeks ago, so I only cut a small bundle of that.  And, I had the largest thyme harvest I’ve had to date!

one of two bowls (10" wide) of oregano

this gets covered with a bag and hung in a dark closet until dried - 7-10 days

Herb garden 4.25.10 - after!

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Bloom Day March 15th

In celebration of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, here’s a sampling of what’s blooming in A Round Rock Garden this week.   Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for starting up Bloom Day and for giving bloggers an opportunity to share their favorite blooms!

First of all, who can get enough of the poppies?  Each one is a different shade, a different size and shape.

Intermixed with the poppies, the cornflower – the first and most active of the wildflowers this Spring.

New to the garden is the Whirling Butterfly Guara.  We’ve transplanted two of these, and these are the first of the new blooms:

Salvia officinalis is blooming beautifully in the herb garden:

Honeybees have been enjoying lavender nectar from sunrise to sunset …

Another new addition to the garden, the Double Knockout rose.  These are the first two blooms:

Not quite in time for March’s Bloom Day, the parsley has bolted and is preparing the first of its flowers:

And another parsley flower forming …

All along the perimeter of the wildflower bed, we have watched these little guys forming, wondering what type of flower they are.

This morning, however, JUST IN TIME for bloom day, these little guys opened up into magnificent primrose:

Lavender and the Bees

Poem 111 – Emily Dickinson

The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly;
The pretty people in the woods
Receive me cordially.

The brooks laugh louder when I come,
The breezes madder play.
Wherefore, mine eyes, thy silver mists?
Wherefore, O summer’s day?

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Macro Monday

Just a few blooms from the garden today, in celebration of Macro Monday.  Got a camera with a macro feature?  Take your pictures and post them to your blog.  Then go to Lisaschaos.com and enter your blog address to be listed.

I don't need to say what this looks like. Poppy getting ready to blossom

Indigo Spires salvia

Pink cornflower

Another cornflower

Ant harvesting nectar from a closed cornflower

Salvia greggii bloom

And these were taken and posted on Saturday, but thought I’d add them:

Lavender bloom up close and personal

A spider crawling on a poppy

Inside the poppy

Macro Monday

newmint

tender new mint leaves from a buried cutting

 

hover fly

hover fly rests on sweet alyssum

 

hover fly 3

hover fly 2

 

web

morning webs on the lavender

 

carrots1

among the carrots

 

buttercrunch

buttercrunch lettuce

 

mm

Macro Mondays at Lisas Chaos.com

Macro Monday

Janet, over at Southern Post Journal, features Macro Mondays every Monday (others post Macro Monday shots at Lisa’s Chaos), so I thought I would join in the fun this week.   Here are a few I took with my little Digital Elph – and I also snapped some decent shots of the bees!

broccoli

The newly transplanted calabrese broccoli after a morning misting

red sail

Red Sail lettuce

oregano

fuzzy, sweet Italian oregano leaves

lavender

lavender's new growth

rosemary

rosemary cuttings, fully rooted

spearmint

spearmint leaves

peppermint

peppermint clone

marjoram flowers

flowering marjoram

mm