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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Herbs, Too

One of my favorite kinds of gardens that I don’t have is an herb garden.

In my mind, an herb garden is a mysterious and magical place where garden fairies hide in the day and then come out to dance and party through the night.

In my imaginary herb garden, the paths between the garden beds are lined with old worn bricks and guide you toward the center of the garden where there is a sundial marking the sunny hours. The garden is filled with all kinds of mysterious plants, at the peak of perfection and ready to be harvested.

I imagine there are some simple benches placed here and there where I can sit in the sun, which is never too hot, and watch the bees lazily buzz from herb flower to herb flower.

Though I long for such an herb garden, I’ve never planted one and I’m not likely to.

Instead I tuck a few herbs in the vegetable garden, sometimes.

Around the dwarf apple tree in the center bed in my raised bed vegetable garden, I planted thyme and sage. You can see them near the right center in the picture above. The leafy plants at the bottom of the picture are peppers and to the right are tomatoes.

The reason I only think to 'sometimes' plant herbs is that I don’t generally remember to use the herbs for anything, like cooking. But I’m determined to do better, especially in February when I am ordering seeds and it is snowing outside.

So this year’s garden will include

- ‘Italian Large Leaf’ Basil (I like pesto, I should make some.)
- ‘Fernleaf’ Dill (Maybe I’ll pickle some cucumbers after all?)
- Cilantro (Should I be so lucky as to have enough tomatoes for salsa.)

What herbs do you always plant in your vegetable garden? Or do you want to make me turn into a green-eyed gardener by telling me that you have an herb garden like my imaginary herb garden?

29 comments:

Colleen said...

I wish I had an herb garden like your imaginary one! Maybe someday. Like you, I tuck herbs into the veggie garden. I always have some basil, chives, and parsley somewhere in the garden. I want to try to grow more, but sunny spots are hard to come by in my yard :-)

Christine said...

I have that SAME dream in my head. I even went so far as to plan one out. But I haven't actually started it yet. Maybe this summer. I want one of those large round metal things in the center, though. I do have a small one planted up by the house, but I might need that area for flowers very soon. What a shame, wink, wink!! Oh, we love pesto, too. My personal favorite is pesto-pizza. Just use the pesto in place of the red sauce. Yum!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Interesingly I clicked on your blog earlier and there was no text with your picture and I wrote a comment. Now you have text and not my comment. Oh well. You answered my question. Tee hee...Peppers in the bottom of the picture.

I have a few herbs tucked here and there in my garden. I had an herb garden once but didn't like the way it looked toward the end of the season. I didn't use all the herbs either. Now I just plant what I will use or if it is ornamental, like tansy, I keep some.

Mary said...

I'd love to have a herb garden, just to have the fairies. I have rosemary, and that's all. I'll think about it :o)

Leslie said...

We must all have the same herb garden vision! I do have herbs because I love being able to use fresh herbs with fresh picked vegies. It somehow seems very luxurious to me and I am too cheap to buy them in a little bunch for the same price as a seed packet. I have lemon verbena which makes wonderful tea (and with which I made Sauvignon Blanc-Lemon Verbena Jelly last summer), oregano, thyme, culinary sage, chives, French and Mexican tarragon, fennel, borage, rosemary (which I don't cook with because...yuck) and then annual basil and biennial Italian parsley. I've changed the herb garden over the years to bring it as close to the back door as possible making it more likely that I actually use the herbs. I do wish it was more picturesque, tho.

Entangled said...

My fantasy herb garden is something like yours - a medieval knot garden would be nice. In reality, my herbs are scattered wherever I can fit them in.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Also basil, dill, chives, coriander/cilantro, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, and chervil. This year I'm adding summer and winter savory.

The Cheap Vegetable Gardener said...

I always have cilantro in my garden, can't get enough of the stuff. Hopefully I will produce more tomatos than last year to get a decent amount of salsa.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Okay, I did the Celtic knot garden, but it's not what you think. It is too little and too crowded and I try to grow the herbs with the veggies and the flowers. It turns into an unrecognizable jungle during the summer. The herbs are dill, cilantro, basil (lemon and jewel), parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (couldn't resist) lemon verbena (grow this seriously, grow this), garlic, garlic chives, borage, comfrey, and Mexican mint marigold. No one would consider this a dream garden. It really turns into a mess.

Dave said...

You can't go wrong with basil in the garden. we use it for all sorts of Italian style cooking. I'm planning on the cilantro also, mostly for guacamole but maybe for some salsa too. It's also good with chicken or in Chili. You should try some rosemary. Fresh rosemary is great with a little olive oil and a few other herbs like oregano and basil. Add a little salt and pepper and you have a great olive oil dip for bread! I'd better stop writing before I make myself hungry!

Kylee said...

I have quite a few herbs and the majority are in the same section of the larger back garden (the one I sometimes call Max's Garden). Others are scattered around among other things.
There is: Parsley, Oregano, Chives, Dill, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Lavender, Catnip, Spearmint, Germander, Yarrow, Basil, Chamomile, Calendula, Lovage, Rue, Sorrel, Tansy, Sweet Woodruff.

Naturegirl said...

You are right when there are herbs there are fairies and kitty cats..I always tuck in some catnip!Oh I can't wait...snow be gone..please!!! still walking through snow..NG

artistsgarden said...

My herbs are in pots and edging the raised beds in the veg garden - but in my "grand plan" I want to make a herb area near the house.
Currently I have chives, garlic chives, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon grass ( is this a herb?) various basil, 2 types of parsley, rosemary, 2 sage, 3 mints, oregano, thyme various, dill, coriander, lovage, borage, sweet cicley. Elsewhere I have fennel umm ... when I list them like this it seems I grow quite a few!

gintoino said...

No Carol, no herb garden like the one in your dreams. Instead I have herbs planted all around the garden. I find them beautiful and useful (both in the garden as in the kitchen). I have sage, marjoram, oregano, several types of thyme, several mints, chives, lemon verbena and lemon balm. The only herbs I have in the vegetable garden are cilantro and flat leaved parsley.

Kathy said...

Did anyone mention tarragon? It is a perennial supposedly hardy to Zone 4, but needs well-drained soil. It did straggle through one winter for me, but not a second, in my clay soil. Fresh tarragon was so different and so much better than dried. You have to get cuttings of French tarragon as it doesn't come true from seed.

jodi said...

I used to have a herb bed, but I turned it into a nursery bed instead. Now I either grow herbs in pots (basil, rosemary, mints) or put them into the garden directly (lavender, golden oregano, thyme). I bring the rosemary in for the winter, where it endures until spring, and don't grow any herbs at all from seeds. There are nice patches of chives here and there outside, some cilantro in the greenhouse that has been there and been reseeding as long as we've been here, and I buy fresh herbs from local growers, too. Like you, I like the imaginary herb bed, but it's a trick to get the right herbs into the site, because they don't all want the same conditions, and many of them have inclinations to roam (mint, anyone?)

Carolyn gail said...

You asked me not to tell you , Carol, but I once was seized by the same desire for an herb garden and turned my entire backyard into one ! Well, having a full-time job of mother, wife and a 9-to-5 position I nearly killed myself keeping up with it.

Now I grow them in pots or between vegetable rows.

Curtis said...

I grow my herbs in pots so they are close to the door. But I still didn't use them as much as I should of.

seeded said...

I'm starting an herb garden this year (well, herb + greens + flowers + brassicas). In my imagination it's pretty close to yours, but in reality I expect it to be a lot like my vegetable garden, fairly linearly laid out and pestered by weeds.

Last year I grew rosemary, sage, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and dill. I found out I adore cooking with fresh dill--especially pasta salads. I also didn't cook with sage the entire year (though I have some dried in my pantry). This year I plan to add medicinal herbs that I won't use, but simply like the sound or look of, and some dyeing herbs.

WiseAcre said...

Well what do you know. I have the same imaginary herb garden. Herbs get tucked in here and there but nothing is planned and nowhere reserved.

Cheryl said...

I am your original herb fanatic and I have herbs all over my garden. Some of them are lavender, rosemary, wild garlic, lemon thyme, mint, fennel, lemon balm, chives, I could go on. I cook with them and use them medicinally. They are so good for you. My lovely husband has made six large wooden troughs to go on my decking, I feel some more herb planting coming on!!!!

Mary Beth said...

My herbs are scattered willy-nilly all around my yard - so I, too, dream of an herb garden where they can all do their magical herb thing together! It may be time to turn that dream into reality!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Herb gardens are so easy! I'm surprised that you don't have a dedicated space. It'll pretty much take care of itself.

Herbs I always have on hand include:
--Dill
--Sweet basil
--Purple basil
--Greek oregano
--Flat leaf parsley
--Rosemary
--Lemon thyme
--Thyme

This year I'll be expanding the selection. The trouble is finding the room for it all!

Robin at Bumblebee

Nicole said...

I fully endorse your choice of herbs. This week I made the season's first batch of pesto-with linguine-for dinner, and I added some young cilantro, garlic greens, dill and fennel leaves to the basil-the taste was divine. So many herbs are so easy to grow and makes all the difference in your cooking.

Chookie said...

I'm another surprised one, Carol! I love getting herbs from the garden to add to our meals. Even when the vegie patch isn't performing I can still get herbs. I think I will post about herbs today!

Chookie said...

I have posted about herbs, but I don't think you'll thank me for the title! Hope you find something useful in it though.

Alison said...

I have the same herb garden dream too! Somehow, that dream garden simultaneously manages to be walled and yet get plenty of sun all day. All I have generally been able to manage is a few pots with basil, chives, and maybe oregano or dill. My husband got me some garlic to plant, and we'll see if it survives the winter.

Carol said...

Thank you, all, for the wonderful suggestions on herbs to grow and for sharing my dream of an herb garden. I'm going to have to think about herbs some more and maybe expand my selection. Now which one of you is going to come and help me with digging out some sod to make room for the herb garden?

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Kylee said...

"Not I," said Kylee. LOL


Actually, if I were your neighbor, I would.

shivere said...

Hi Carol,

Could you tell me how your Cilantro performed. I am in zone 7, NC and every year it starts off great then kicks the bucket.

Happy Planting
DianaDigsDirt:)