Captured by Rosemary

The Herb Lover's Garden

“Take thee a box of the wood of rosemary and smell to it, and it shall preserve thy youth.” Richard Banckes unillustrated Herball (1525)

rosemary blog post flowers (1).jpgI woke to a very chilly morning. Like most gardeners, I debate if I am ready for winter or want that basil plant in the garden to hang on just a little longer. Frost or not, there is a plant in my garden that never fails to capture my attention. It usually has hummingbirds dancing over it on a sunny morning and gives a nice dose of aromatherapy when I brush against it. Hello, rosemary!   

What prompted me to write today is I am having some electrical work done outside the home. A worker needed to dig in an area where there was a big, woody, rosemary plant. I have always known it would need to be cut out of the way of utilities…

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Make these easy Herb Drying Screens!

The Herb Lover's Garden

Pick, pick, pick…are you harvesting your herbs?  As summer gives us it’s late summer heat, it seems like every day there is an herb to pick and preserve. Make a stack of these easy DIY drying screens for your bountiful harvest. These are perfect for drying delicate flower heads like Chamomile and Calendula or leafy herbs that are hard to bundle and hang like basil.

IMG_7618 drying screens wroding too.jpgI have a stash of these I made years ago and use them in all seasons of harvest.

DIY harvest screen finish IMG_5351Herb drying screen directions (1) - Copy.jpg

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Do you know Savory?

The Herb Lover's Garden

The name savory is a good descriptor of the flavor of this herb. It has a bit of hot spicy flavor on the tongue. Savory tastes like a combination of oregano and thyme. The essential oils of savory and thyme are very similar in their chemical make-up so their similar flavor that can be used interchangeably in recipes. Both winter and summer savory taste alike, but winter savory will be stronger and can be used in cooking and simmering without losing its flavor.

Savory IMG_6701There are two types of savory-Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) and winter savory (Satureja montana). For culinary use, the summer savory is preferred. It has a lighter, less heavy flavor than winter savory.

Use the leaves of Savory in an herbal vinegar for an flavorful light dressing on salads or to marinate meat.

mediterranean IMG_5578(1) words low resMediterranean Garden Oil
A mix of pungent herbs native to the Mediterranean…

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Herbal Hydration!

The Herb Lover's Garden

As summer heats up, so does herb garden abundance. Harvest fresh herbs and make some herb-flavored hydration!

Herb Infused Water
Why buy flavored waters when you can make your own? Cool, herb-infused waters are a healthy alternative to sugary or caffeine-laden drinks. Use fresh summer herbs from the garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh-made herbal waters are a great way to stay hydrated through the day with some micro benefits from the fresh herbs.

cucumber lime mint in web water bottle water bottle IMG_7218 needs captionCucumber Lime Mint
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into thick, chunky pieces
8 to 10 whole fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 small lime

Add sliced cucumber to a half gallon-sized glass jar. In a separate small glass bowl, pour in about ½ cup of water. Add the mint leaves and muddle them into the water. Pour muddled mint water over the cucumbers. Add lime juice, and more mint leaves. Fill the jar with water…

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Pot Marigold (Calendula)

The Herb Lover's Garden

Recently on one of my evening walks around the neighborhood, I came upon a  patch of Calendula. The bright orange flowers boldly showing off  that they had snuck under the fence and into the crack in the sidewalk.  These sweet little escapees seem ordinary and simple to some, but immersed in those flowers are amazing healing powers.

Calendula healing teaCalendula Healing Tea: Make an infusion from the flower petals of Calendula to use it’s calming healing qualities to soothe a sore throat or mouth sores.  Add extra healing by adding raw honey to sweeten.   To make- add petals (dried or fresh, gently pull the petals form the base of the flower) of 2 to 3 flowers or about a overflowing tablespoon to one cup of very hot water. Allow to steep in the water for about 15 minutes.

Healing  Oil: Calming and softening to sunburn or dry skin. I use it to…

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Easy Herbal Hair Rinse!

The Herb Lover's Garden

herbal hair rinse LOW MG_9943It’s spring! Pick a small bundle of newly emerged perennial herbs and try this easy, refreshing recipe for a clean, healthy shine to freshly washed hair.

2 cups of boiling water
Plus
A large handful of fresh-cut herbs
Try:
Rosemary- good for brunettes, adds shine and enhances hair color
Mint- tingly to the scalp and refreshing and cleansing
Sage- enhances color of dark hair and adds shine and softness

Place herbs in a glass jar. Pour hot water over the herbs until they are completely submersed in the water. Cover and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes. After steeping and the water smells strongly of herbs, filter the water through cheesecloth or a strainer to remove all the plant material. Toss the herbs in a compost bin and use the fresh herb water to rinse just-washed hair. No need to rinse the herb water out.

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Upcoming Workshop!

The Herb Lover's Garden

IMG_8517 smoked rosemary saltSeasoning from the Garden

Herbal Workshop with Sue Goetz
Saturday May 4th, 2019 10 am
at the WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory
316 S G St, Tacoma, WA 98405
Grow Flavor! Create herb seasoning salt mixes using herbs from your garden. Shake them on a fresh leafy salad or flavor up a marinade for grilling meats. Stir them into olive oil to add zing to fresh tossed pasta. Add herbs from the garden and flavor your culinary dishes in a whole new way. Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, French grey…which one to choose? We will talk about different salts and why to choose them, what herbs to use and how to harvest herbs in your garden for the freshest flavor.

Plus…Make your own seasoning blend!
Create a dry seasoning mix from a selection of herbs. We’ll talk about what herbs combine well together plus added ingredients like garlic and lemon to…

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Native Plant Sales

Native Plant Sales

Ribes-sanguineum-labeled.jpgOften,  I have discussions with clients about re-establishing and caring for native areas in their landscape. A typical scenario is a new home built on a property that was once fir trees with a mix of brush underneath. In the building process, plants and soil are mercilessly pushed to the fringes of the property to level the land.
My design brain says I want that lovely native understory to creep back into the landscape and create a natural edge.
If you have one of those areas in your landscape, start by identifying the good and the bad. Remove invasive plants like blackberries, then encourage the good that are healthy like western sword ferns and salal.
Then re-plant! Check out the native plant sales and take advantage of bundle pricing.

Here are a few of my favorites being offered this year at the Pierce County Conservation district plant sale http://www.piercenativeplantsale.com/

Baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) Grow this scrubby little rose in small thickets of 3 or more. (one plant, can look a little weedy) Does well in the part shade understory of a woodland garden. Pretty, delicate single petal roses will add color in the early summer.

Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum): One of the best evergreen shrubs for the understory of tall fir trees. It will create a dense privacy hedge that does well in both full sun and deep shade. Good bird habitat too. It provides shelter for birds and they love the small edible dark berries. Hummingbirds are attracted to the delicate spring flowers.

Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) If you are looking for some height without planting a tree this tall rangy shrub adds a delicate canopy to a woodland garden. It prefers moist soil and part shade. Birds and other wildlife forage the berries. Interesting note: red elderberry has been studied for use in heavy -metal contaminated soils and found to be tolerant as well as showing signs of protecting soil bacteria from the toxins http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/pubs/elderberrysymposiumguide.pdf )

Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea): This shrubby dogwood is best known for its brilliant red stems in the winter. Attractive to wildlife and pollinators this tall vase of stems will help with soil erosion in moist areas.

Red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum): I use this a lot in natural landscape design. It is highly ornamental and tolerant of tough conditions dry. The pink flowers in the spring are hummingbird magnets. Plant in groupings of three or more in open spaces under tall limbed firs to add a swath of color in the spring.

Coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis): Plant this for an easy care, tough groundcover for slopes and dry soils. Forms a low carpet that spread fast to help with soil erosion. Tiny strawberries are sweet and delicious, but the birds will find them before you do.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon): A common and lovely evergreen creeping plant. A good groundcover that can grow 3 to 4 feet high. If you have open space that needs to be re-established start with salal to cover ground and create a nice woodland understory.

Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) Tough and beautiful. Just a planting of sword fern allowed to grow and colonize make one of the most attractive tough groundcovers in the dry shade of fir and cedar trees.

Other resources
Woodbrook native nursery in Gig Harbor (http://woodbrooknativeplantnursery.com/)

Do You Need a Moment?

The Herb Lover's Garden

Remember time out as a kid or sending your children to “time out.” It was all about taking a moment to stop, get in a better mood…or get an attitude adjustment.
Now as an adult, time out sounds good to me. There are days when it would be nice to stop the chaos that swirls around in a busy cell phone ringing, electronic calendar dinging world.
Defrag my brain, please…
Maybe it’s time to give yourself a moment- an herbal moment with these mini spa ideas.

cindy harp garden

An Off Your Feet Moment
Peppermint Foot Soak (page 119 of the Herb Lover’s Spa Book)
Towels
Tub of warm water
Grab a towel, small tub, the peppermint foot soak and a book to read.
Find a quiet spot in the garden or your favorite chair.
Fill the tub with warm water and pour in two tablespoons of peppermint foot soak.
Set feet in…

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