A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Posts tagged ‘rosemary’

Walking in the Garden and Enjoying Life

We have a small yard and a small garden, but I love to take walks through the garden and take close looks at the plants I have growing there.  There’s always something new that keeps me interested and reminds me why I started gardening in the first place – I enjoy growing things!  Yeah, there’s never a lot going on in the garden and what ever does happen does so at the pace of flowers, bees and snails, but that’s another reason for the garden.  It has become a quiet, meditative spot to reconnect with nature.    Slowly, the garden has grown from an herb garden to a few flowering plants, to a vegetable garden, a butterfly garden and I keep adding plants.  My wife jokes with me saying that I’m addicted to planting stuff.  I can think of a thousand other things that are more harmfully addictive, so I  don’t think (and really, SHE doesn’t either) that that’s a bad thing!

I thought I’d share some of the garden with you today.   Tomorrow, I’ll share a little bit more.  There’s just too much to write about and photos to share to put it all in one post!

Starting at the veggie bed, the continued growth is easy to see.  The cantaloupe is working its way up the trellis I made a week and a half ago.  Every morning, a new batch of bright yellow flowers open up, which brings in the bees and wasps.  If you can believe it, all of these vines (except for the little bit on the far left of the photograph – that is cucumber) are from one cantaloupe plant.  I’m having a hard time believing it myself!

the cantaloupe a week and a half ago

cantaloupe trellis Sunday - click to enlarge

Walking around the corner of the house to the back door, the few flagstones I put by the back stoop have sweet alyssum and yellow thyme between them.  The dainty white flowers just keep going and going.  I’m not sure how long alyssum will last in the coming months, but they make a lovely addition to the garden – one that the bees really like.  The stones keep us from trampling the grass and making a dirty/muddy mess.  If I had my way, I’d put a lot more down and maybe add some stepping stones, too, around the yard.

flagstones and alyssum - click to enlarge

sweet alyssum - click to enlarge

Right past the back stoop, the herb garden is overflowing with chives, oregano and parsley.  If you look really closely, you can even see some thyme sticking out between the chives.  In the pot on the right is some spearmint and the pot on the left, against the wall, is peppermint.  In the other pot on the left, I have stevia growing.  I take a leaf of peppermint and a small piece of stevia and chew them together for a peppermint candy-tasting treat.  They are wonderful steeped together in tea and do not require any sugar.  In fact, as I write this, I have a little indigestion and that sounds like a great calming tonic.

herb garden 5/1/11 - click to enlarge

The parsley is over three feet tall and blooming crazily.  It attracts myriad flying insects including flies, wasps, bees, yellow jackets and more.  They all love its sweet nectar, which is why I leave it there.  The black swallowtails do not seem very interested in it so far this year.

parsley flowering - click to enlarge

The Greek oregano is standing about 18″ tall now and the first flower clusters have started to open.  They will also be a welcome treat for winged friends of the garden.  I’ll let them flower until they’ve had enough, then trim them back to within several inches of the ground.  Oregano leaves are great when dried – even stronger than fresh – so I’ll be sure to hang the leaves to dry and bottle them for later use.

Greek oregano flowering - click to enlarge

Last year, I had only three chive plants and I used them so much that they really didn’t get very big.  This year, I decided to plant six of them.  I still use them regularly, but they are so prolific that they far surpass my needs!  They do, however, make a nice border and I should send up bright pink flowers as we get further into the warmer months.  I’m anxious about that.  The flying insects really love chive blossoms, and they’re also wonderful to eat.  I’m going to make chive blossom vinegar with some of them when the time is right and I’ll be sure to share that with my readers on the blog.  Suffice it to say for now that the wonderful pink color of the blossoms bleeds out into the vinegar and imparts its characteristically mild, garlicky-onion flavor.   This is a great base to make homemade dressing or as a splash of flavor in chicken marinades.

garlic chives - click to enlarge

stevia (a.k.a. sweet leaf) - click to enlarge

The rosemary bushes are getting so big.  Now that the farmer’s market is going here in Round Rock, maybe I should trim them back and share some with the community.  There really is so much to go around!  It is such an easy plant to maintain, it grows year round and is one of my favorite herbs for flavoring!   Pictured here is the prostrate rosemary bush, not the typical variety for cooking … the one I use for cooking is the Tuscan Blue cultivar (rosemary officinalis).  The rosemary bushes are part of my herb garden, but I have them planted right in the middle of the butterfly garden.  Where they’re located, the wind constantly whips through them, stirring up the delightful smell of rosemary and wafts it through the yard.

prostrate rosemary - click to enlarge

Come back to the garden tomorrow for updates on the butterfly garden!

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Lettuce give thanks

I’m thankful for the great lettuce weather.   The light freeze we’ve had the past couple of nights gives the lettuce a bit of a strain, but after wilting in the morning, it rebounds crisp and tall by afternoon.  The Red Sail is a very soft variety with a velvety feel in the mouth.  It’s great in a salad.  The Buttercrunch is also very smooth and buttery in texture and blends nicely with the Red Sail in a salad.  Cosmo Savoy is a little crunchier, perfect for a slice or two on a sandwich or burger.   I’m in need of the latter for our sandwiches this week, so I’ll be trimming leaves off the Cosmo.  I’ve found that I can trim the entire head down to 2″ above the ground and it will continue growing, or I can peel off leaves as needed.  For our sandwich purposes each day, I’ll just have to go outside and peel a few leaves off and pack them with our lunch.  A little Boar’s Head chicken lunch meat, jalapeno jack cheese and coarse-ground mustard on sprouted grain bread, topped with some beautiful fresh lettuce.  I’m hungry already!

Lettuce/parsley bed

Lettuce bed 2 of 3, these will be ready in a couple of weeks

the Red Sail is good-sized now

Lettuce weather is good spinach weather, too.  I’m happy to say they’re finally starting to fill out with more leaves!

Popeye eat your heart out - I'm glad these are producing more leaves

And I thought I’d take a look at the rosemary transplants and cuttings.  They’ve all got a lot of new growth poking out everywhere and the stems are becoming very thick.

transplanted rosemary cuttings from fall have new growth exploding everywhere

new growth all over!

Lots of new growth on the latest rosemary cuttings

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