May 7, 2010

the herb garden

While we've been enjoying snow flurries and mornings in the looooow twenties, I know that there are parts of the country that are actually enjoying spring.

By the way, what's that like? I'd really like to know.

For those of you who are visiting your local nurseries and farmers markets, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites for the herb garden.

While the symmetrical design of my raised bed garden lends itself style wise to the title of herb garden, it's really more of a cutting garden with some herbs and veggies thrown in.

I happily make room for the most popular, well known and much used herbs.



Various and assorted members of the mint family...

By the way, mint will absolutely take over your garden, so consider planting it in its own container. Seriously consider planting it in its own container. Consider yourself warned. Lots of considering here today.



There are more, but I either don't have pictures, or more likely, just can't think of what they are right now.

Now, for my failures. I cannot, under any circumstances, grow cilantro or basil that don't immediately look like plant death warmed over. They are just not happy at my house. After trying them for several years, I have finally thrown in the cilantro and basil towel. While they are both herbs I love, I simply focus on what herbs do well for me and buy those that don't at the farmers market or grocery store.

Actually, that's not totally true. I whine quite a bit about not having two of my very favorites right outside my back door, but for the sake of this post, I'll take the basil and cilantro high road.

Now, there are a few plants that might be a little harder to find, but for me, they are a true delight.

While most garden favorites are a visual treat, these little green guys cater to your sense of smell.

Scented Geranium...

There are many varieties out there, but Orange Fizz is my favorite. Simply brushing the plant as you walk by releases an explosion of orange scent. The flowers are quite small, but that's okay because you're buying this one for the perfume, not the bottle.

Pineapple mint...

Dreamy in iced tea, and it makes a very pretty garnish for desserts.

Pineapple sage...

The cuttings we took from the plant we overwintered are looking pretty good. Later in the summer, it gets a very bright red flower. It smells just like a fresh pineapple and is tied with the Orange Fizz geranium as my favorite garden smeller.

And finally, curry.

This year is only the second time I've come across this plant, and I just love it. I know most people are either lovers or haters of curry, but if your a lover, keep your eye out for this fun little addition to the garden. It smells amazingly just like curry. Hence the name I would imagine. There's debate as to whether this plant is edible or not, so I just enjoy it for its aroma. Yum.

As I show friends around the herb garden, I am constantly picking leaves, practically stuffing them up my guests nose, and saying...."Guess what this is. What's it smell like? Guess! No, just guess! Come on, guess! It'll be fun!"

My friends love it. I can tell.

So, enough about my garden. What herbs make your summer life complete? I would love to hear. I can talk/write/listen/read about plants forever. Please share your favorites with the rest of the class.


  1. Cilantro is so difficult to grow. I know many have tried and failed - me included!I learned the hard way abt mint never will I plant it in the ground. Thanks for sharing.....

  2. I'm such a loser when it comes to recognizing herbs, even when they are waved right underneath my nose. Things must have labels for this blonde. Wish I were a gardener, but alas there are no green thumbs on either of my hands.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  3. I love love love sage and rosemary (which grows wild all over the place in Bermuda, by the way!..just so you know). and I hate cilantro with a passion. Why? I'm one of those people that when eating cilantro, it tastes like soap. That's right...soap. Did you know that there are two types of Cilantro people? THose who get to enjoy the taste, and those who for genetic reasons get the soap taste in their mouth when they eat it on food. GHACK!

    You are so right about the mint.. I love it, and it loves the entire garden if you'll let it.

  4. Basil is the one I refuse to give up on. Fresh pesto is just too good. Most successful herbs? rosemary and sage have a robust presence, as does (of course) mint.

    My favorite on smell alone is lemon balm. Divine.

    Gorgeous pictures, by the way! Any tips for using all this extra mint?

  5. Hmmm ... litening to the heater come on here this morning, still pretty cold in the mornings so no planting here just yet but maybe this weekend. And I want some Orange Fizz now - how fun is that?! And I will give basil one more try but it usually doesn't work for me either. -amy

  6. My must-have herb is basil. When you have tomatos, you've gotta' have basil. I've had really good luck with mine. The cilantro, on the other hand... I'm going to try it one more year. Maybe, just maybe this will be the year it works! If not, there's the farmer's market around the corner...

  7. I just planted some cilantro yesterday...we'll see how it does. Love the rosemary..ours is in bloom. One of my favs is chives...I just love the little purple flowers. Must try the Orange Fizz,

  8. We just planted thyme, basil, sage, dill, and rosemary. You will not believe this - my cilantro came back from last year. Is that supposed to happen? You probably think I'm just trying to rub it in..which is true, but just a little. I also have oregano and chives, from last year. OH! And I have a new POT of pineapple mint.

    Your herb garden is supa swoony. And for all of your whining, you must have some pretty perfect weather at SOME point to get flowers that look that good!

  9. I love the pineapple mint, I grew some last year and loved it. Going to have to find the Orange fizz that sounds interesting.

  10. LOL! I do that to my friends too. "Doesn't this smell good?" I'll ask. I call it "aroma therapy", because I think being outside with plants is good for people.
    I love the pineapple scented herbs too. This year for the first time I am also trying to grow chocolate mint. I had never seen that one before.
    Also for the first time, Cilantro. I have heard several people say that they had trouble with it, but i'm trying it anyway. I LOVE to make guacamole and it would be so simple if I could just dash out the back door and grab a handful of cilantro instead of making a trip to the store. Now, if I could only grow limes here....
    I have sage, mint, chives, thyme, oregano, and basil. Basil does fine here unless the pesky squirrels or rabbits get to it. They have already eaten one entire plant, so I am hoping they leave the rest alone.

  11. I just started my container garden. I never really thought of gardening as something I would enjoy but there is nothing like the satisfaction of growing something from a seed and bringing it to harvest.

    Are you ever going to post photography tutorials? Your pics are divine. :)

  12. Chives!!! They do well in the ground and spread pretty quickly. They are awesome to grab, slice and throw in some sour cream for a dip or on a baked potato!

  13. Oh dear - I'm sorry that it's still chilly there. It's been awfully nice in NW Indiana. I adore mints, and anything with a variegated leaf. Just bought some Apple Mint. I ADORE scented Geraniums. The flowers are so delicate, and the leaves a delight. Enough about your garden? Poppycock woman! There is never enough to say about one's garden. My oregano is getting a bit carried away. I'm going to try growing basil and cilantro both from seed this year - wish me luck. The basil does well when bought as a plant, and since I want so much, I thought it would be more frugalicious to try it from seed.

  14. Oh, I can't wait until it's warm and dry enough to plant basil in the Pacific Northwest! That's usually mid June for us. I loved reading this. I'm inspired. I'd love to have you link this up at Home and Family Friday! You have one of my favorite blogs!


  15. Well without a doubt Chamomile!I can never have enough of that, I grow it and then after I dry it the tea is amazing. I agree about all of your plants too. I will track down the orange fizz geraniums. I have never heard of that. When I first saw your first picture, I thought how in the world did you get your herb garden like that already. I am in California and mine is just starting to look like spring. We will have more snow next week though, in the mountains, which is so rare for Southern California so I know how hard it is waiting for spring to finally arrive.

  16. This is absolutely the most beautiful blog I have ever seen!!! I can't stop browsing through it. It is almost midnight so I must stop... I will be back though..

  17. By the way.. I think pineapple sage is one of my favorites although lavender tops the list!

  18. Wonderful blog and herbs too! After seeing your pineapple sage I remember that I have been without it for awhile. I miss it. Wish it were as hardy as the other players in the herb garden. I am introducing vietnamese mint this year, smells wonderful and I don't care how rambunctious mint gets, I must have it. The scented geraniums are enticing me this year, especially with names like Orange Fizz.

  19. OMG your herb garden is beautiful but then why I am not surprised. You have such wonderful gifts with gardening, photography and decorating. I highlighted your blog on my blog because your work is much to beautiful not to share with others and the more than can visit Meadowbrook Farm the better. You nurture our creative souls! Thank you :)

  20. I didn't see basil among your herbs. :) I plant lots and lots of it and this year to my surprise I have several basil plants coming up in the big pot I had my basil in last year on my deck!!!

    I love my herb garden that I had right off my carport. WE just moved in March and I moved bits of my herbs with me but haven't found the perfect spot yet for my new garden.

    Oh and here's what it's like for it to be spring already in Atlanta....mid 80's and soooo humid. Looking forward to fall now..... ;)

  21. I've grown basil from seed the past two years. One plant of basil is never enough. Actually, I'm renewing my love affair with my herbs and actually *using* them.. or most of them ;) I wish wish wish I could grow scented geraniums. I must be doing something wrong!

    Beautiful pictures as always!! -Tammy

  22. Lemon balm is really lovely and is a nice edible accent in places where you would use a lemon, like iced tea or with fish. I also LOVE scented geraniums. One year I let my daughter pick out a chocolate-scented one! She also had a chocolate mint that year, which was also amazing. I have had the most satisfaction as a gardener over the years with HERBS. Too cold for them here, yet, but your post has got me thinking and dreaming.
    xx P&H

  23. I thought it so odd when a friend of mine described in detail her "cilantro experience". She said it tastes like soap to her; always has, always will. No matter what form she tastes it in foods. I read a couple of comments on here that others experience the same thing with cilantro. Glad she has good company: I will pass on the soap experience to her. It was worth looking into the comments.
    Herbs forever!
    Thank you.