Growing Herbs

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. πŸ˜‰

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.

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.

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.

Various types of lavender have begun to flower all over the gardens.

Tarragon, parsley, rosemary and more lavender

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!

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

Hyssop and creeping thyme in the upper left corner

I managed to get a second flowering on my yarrow.

I managed to get a second flowering on my yarrow.

Dwarf nasturtium and creeping thyme

Dwarf nasturtium and creeping thyme

Overwintered lemonbalm

Overwintered lemonbalm

I've had this geranium for years! In the winter, she turns our kitchen into a garden.

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

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.

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.

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!

13 responses to this post.

  1. Good looking mulch…!!

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  2. LOL, thank you! The mulch was WAY more work than the herbs!

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  3. πŸ™‚

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  4. I work at the university of Washington, we get local arborists to give us their chips….saves them dumping fees…

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  5. Dear Laura – regsrding herbs may I introduce to you my other blog of : http://contramarygarden.blogspot.com/β€Ž
    which is also affiliated to the blog Ervas e Curas of Curadora64 (also “Auras,Cores e NΓΉmeros ” I presume this will be of great interest to you as it describes the benefits of herbs ,,, we did work together on this issue – Curadory64 and I …
    Love to you – I do like your blog much ! and think we are floating on closely alike waves

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  6. I got three huge truck loads for free. More coming in the Fall. πŸ™‚

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  7. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden with us Laura!
    Subtropical summer is hard on roses and herbs so I really enjoy seeing yours looking so happy;-) my eucalyptus and basils are having a fine time but the other survivors are a bit bedraggled right now.

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  8. πŸ™‚

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  9. Hi Laura,
    Just looking at those herbs one can’t help but feel uplifted, thanks for sharing them with us.
    The story of how your Dad could get you clapping and giggling with delight after naming the herbs quickly brought me a big smile, I can just picture it.
    Indeed, it’s been a life’s work for you.
    Enjoy and Bravo!
    Blessings always,
    Sri
    P.S. Hope to see your sage smudge sticks when you get to those.

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  10. Posted by tazjima on August 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

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  11. Thanks, ohnwentsya. I do love eucalyptus! I miss that smell from Monterey and San Francisco. Basil and eucalyptus sound heavenly. Happy to share the cooler varieties from here …

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  12. Blessings to you, Sri! Thanks for your sweet message. The sage bundles are drying after having been wrapped yesterday according to directions I found online, plus a bit of improvising on my part. We shall see … πŸ˜‰

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