I’ve always loved herbs, even as a little child. In their kitchen, my parents have a cross-stitched hanging with the words, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,” surrounded by blocked images and the names of herbs. If my dad ever wanted to get me to squeal with delight, all he’d have to do is read the names of all the herbs in order, really, really fast. It got me giggling and clapping every single time!
As a middle school student, I fell in love with Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series — but not because of the plot. It was the herbs! Isa, Ayla’s adoptive mother, knew everything about plants and herbal remedies. I used to page breathlessly through all the descriptions of plants, preparations, cooking and healing salves. Even when the series took a bit smuttier turn, the main thing that held my interest was Ayla’s seemingly magical ability to heal with herbs. I also liked the animal communication and shamanic journeys, but that’s another post.
Anyway, I love herbs, and I am growing a lot of them! Just thought I’d share some of the beauty and abundance:
Garden sage *after* extensive pruning this morning. Chamomile to the left.
In fact, we have sage hanging all over the place right now as I attempt to learn how to make sage smudge sticks.
Various types of lavender have begun to flower all over the gardens.
Tarragon, parsley, rosemary and more lavender
Purple coneflower (echinacea) is a favorite of the bees, although we have bees all over the gardens. I’ve never seen so many bees!
Hyssop and creeping thyme in the upper left corner
I managed to get a second flowering on my yarrow.
Dwarf nasturtium and creeping thyme
I’ve had this geranium for years! In the winter, she turns our kitchen into a garden.
In one of the InstaBeds out back, chocolate mint, parsley and oregano enjoy the company of a now towering winter bor kale
Italian basil and bush basil urge me to make and freeze even more pesto than I already have — a nice spark of freshness to cure the winter blahs.
Calendula or pot marigold makes me so happy! I’ve tried to grow this before with only minimal success. This year, I’ve got calendula plants smiling in several spots, and they play nicely with red geraniums and lavender. Bees congregate here.
Besides their flavor and medicinal value, herbs have great personalities, and they are some of the easiest plants to grow. So easy, in fact, that they can quickly become weeds, hence containing my oregano, various mints and lemonbalm. I’m actually excited for some of these herbs to assert themselves. Many grow well in sandy soil and require little to no watering once established. I’ll be transplanting another garden sage from an InstaBed to the ground once I assemble our winter raised bed/cold frame combo — hopefully later this week. If you’ve never gardened before or fear you have a “black thumb,” try growing some herbs in pots on a windowsill or plant them in a sunny, neglected spot outside. Many are perennials and will bring you beauty and flavor for years to come!