Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mr Sticks and Strings Strikes Again!

Now I just think he is showing off!  The Herbal Husband aka Mr. Sticks and Strings planted his beans finally last week or the week before!  Some years it just takes forever!  He is very methodical!  Here is another view!
We hopefully will have a lot of beans!  Got to go!  The neighbors went on vacation and we have an apple tree that is invading their space that we have to cut back.  Their dogs will be going crazy!  Should be noisy if nothing else!  Hope you have a great day!  Talk to you later!

Friday, July 30, 2010

One of My Favorites This Time of Year!

We hardly ever have our own lettuce and tomatoes at the same time.  The lettuce is usually on the way out and the tomatoes are just starting to ripen.  The Herbal Husband's salad this time of year are wonderful.  We still have lettuce because we have a lot more shade.  The heat didn't make it bolt.  The beets, radishes, flowers and tomatoes (They are hiding under the greens.) are all ours.  He puts chives, salad burnet and basil in as well.  It is delicious!

I always talk about my favorite herbal authors who are no longer with us like Adelma Simmons and Bertha Reppert.  I would like to talk about one of my favorite contemporary herbal authors, Jim Long.  This is one of his many booklets he has published, The Best Dressed Salad and yes, that is a half naked man on the cover!  But getting back to the subject of my post, salads.  That is what is my favorite this time of year, SALAD!  Jim has written the definitive book of salad dressings!  Some dressings you have used a lot and others that you might not have thought of.  I know you can still purchase this book at his website, Long Creek Herbs.  Jim Long's column in The Herb Companion magazine is the first thing I read when I receive each issue.  He is a true herbal treasure and has been so generous with his help tweeking his own recipes for my presentations.  Thank you, Jim for your inspiration, your herbal writings and your friendship!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cheep Rooms on Thursdays!

OK, OK I know these really aren't real Cheep Rooms, but it's close.  My best friend's daughter colored this for me for my birthday a couple of years ago or may be it was last year.  The mind is going.  Hope you had a great day!  Talk to you later.

Tricolore Salad Reminds Me of London!

You say, but Lemon Verbena Lady, you have lost what's left of your mind!  Well, certain food we eat during the day reminds me of places on our trips.  For instance, fruit salad reminds me of Boston.  Because every morning we woke up at our bed and breakfast in Boston, we had a fruit salad to share.  We have had that tradition at breakfast ever since.

So this tradition started in London many years ago.  There is a little Italian restaurant in the neighborhood where we stay that is very good called O' Sole Mio.  They have a tricolore salad that can be shared and is very fresh.  We hold our breath each year that it is still open when we go back because restaurants come and go so quickly!  The Herbal Husband makes ours with feta cheese instead of mozzarella and adds black olives for me.  How much more summery can you get then with a nasturtium flower to decorate it?  Hope you have a great day wherever you may be!  Rain on the garden this morning and our grass is growing like a field!  The Township will be after me!  Maybe I'll mow tomorrow!  More jelly to make!  Talk to you later!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A New Favorite Blue Flower from Argentina!

The Herbal Husband brought seeds back from Peru for this chicory like plant from Argentina.  The flowers open in the morning and close by the afternoon.  It took several attempts to get them to cooperate.  Not too much of an early riser!  Should be because of the heat, but when you wake up at 3 or 4 AM and can't get back to sleep!  Early is not as doable!  So we didn't get to try this in a salad because it quickly went to flower!  Hope you have had a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine! (CORRECTED LINK)

Geez, I used the same photo back to back and then I tried the link because I wasn't getting any comments, good or bad.  The link was flawed!  So now if you click the link, you will go to The Herb Companion site.  This was my lemon verbena a couple of summers ago.  Here is my latest post for The Herb Companion magazine, A Summertime Favorite: Lemon Verbena Jelly.  It also talks about moving plants around and taking advantage when a plant dies back in the heat of summer.  Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Ah Ha Herbal Moment!

Here is my basil bed!  The outer portion is the lemon basil.  I always have this ah ha (Is that one word?) herbal moment every year when I cut the lemon basil for jelly!  This year it has gone crazy and The Herbal Husband said to me, just harvest what you need!  I will be making lemon basil jelly until frost!  Maybe that's not such a bad thing!  Hope you had a great day!  It was a beautiful day here.  Went to Gardenline and it was a zoo!  Got to go eat dinner.  Talk to you later!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Muffin Sunday!

I have been loosely following The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., and Robert A. Barnett to lose my weight and maintain it.  So for Muffin Sunday I made Carrot Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (but didn't use the frosting).  The Herbal Husband likes plain jello!  I love him to bits, but come on plain jello reminds me of the hospital!  OK, here is the full recipe including the frosting part.  We had them plain this morning.  We used just plain CoolWhip when we had our tea this evening.  Yes, if you're counting we had a third one this evening!

Carrot Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple in unsweetened juice, undrained
1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/3 cup low-fat or fat-free buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups finely grated carrot
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Drain pineapple in a wire mesh sieve, and press down on the pineapple to extract excess liquid.  Reserve the juice separately for the frosting.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl.
Combine the egg, egg white, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the sugar.
Add the egg-buttermilk mixture to the flour in the bowl, and whisk until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in the carrot and reserved pineapple.
Spoon the batter evenly into paper-lined muffin pans. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then remove them from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread 1 tablespoon pineapple cream cheese frosting on each cupcake or use a dollop of CoolWhip.

Yield:  12 cupcakes

Note:  After cupcakes are cooled, they may be sealed in heavy-duty reclosable plastic bags and frozen up to 1 month.  Refrigerate the cream cheese frosting.  To serve, thaw the desired number of individual cupcakes, let 1 tablespoon frosting for each cupcake soften, and frost.  (Really, we ate these so quickly, we didn't have to freeze them!)

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 ounces (1/4 cup) cold reduced-fat block cream cheese
1-3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the cream cheese in a medium bowl.  Sift 1 cup of the sugar over the cream cheese with a fine wire mesh sieve, and work the sugar into cream cheese with a spatula.  Stir in the pineapple juice and vanilla, and work in the remaining sugar until spreadable and smooth.

Yield:  12 servings of 1 tablespoon each (about 3/4 cup).

Nutritional Information Per Cupcake with Frosting.  Calories:  220 (without the frosting 150+/-). Energy Density:  1.7.  Carbohydrate:  39g.  Fat:  6g.  Protein: 3 g. Fiber:  1 g. Sodium: 139 mg.

Hope you had a great day!  Has gotten cooler here if only temporary!  Talk to you later!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Decorating the Herb Garden!

Came home the other day from some errands and The Herbal Husband was busy decorating my garden!

I get a little lazy this time of year and just try to coast.  Sorry in the heat I lose my way!  We were having our friends LaVerne and Jim over for a visit.

So no matter how late in the season it is, you should have a few decorations around the garden!   Hope you had a great day!  Talk to you later.

Friday, July 23, 2010

If You're Missing Some Bees, I Have Found Them!

You may need to click on this photo to make it bigger.  This is my spearmint in bloom and the bees are enjoying it immensely!  This mint is in the ground in the front garden.  Probably not the best idea, but the bees love it and that's a good thing.  It is so humid outside!  Going out to lunch with my friend to Chipotle!  Talk to you later!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cicada Update!

I wanted to do an update for Little Messy Missy about cicada because she has never heard or seen them.  Here, Missy, is a link from a website called Cicada Mania.  I also want to give you an extension website because I'm a master gardener and we just want to give you an educational site to peruse.  Here is the Colorado State Extension site on cicadas.  I actually heard them singing when I was out in the garden today.  Most of the time I don't pay attention to them.  They really don't do damage.  They are loud, but not seen.  Somewhat like kids!  I guess they are loud and seen!  I wanted to update this post because Peggy R. reminded me that the periodic cicadas can cause damage to young trees.  They appear every 17 to 19 years and you do want to protect newly planted trees if you have any.  Oh, well, still hot and icky here.  Hope you are staying cool wherever you may be.  Having our friends Jim and LaVerne over for a visit.

Almost forgot to tell you my friend, Kathleen's article was in the New York Times not the Wall Street Journal.  If I had a brain I would be dangerous!  Here is a link to Making Tea from Plants Grown in the Backyard.  Congratulations, Kathleen!  You have hit the big time!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Tomato with a Profile!

No, the FBI is not looking for my tomato!  I have seen other people's vegetables with distinctive markings.  I think this is the first time we have had a tomato with a nose!  The variety is 'Nyagous'.  Really it was delicious with some peanut butter on an English muffin for my breakfast earlier this week.  My favorite time of year for peanut butter and tomato sandwiches.  Maybe you have seen my other posting on this very subject.  If you haven't here it is, Favorite Summer Sandwich.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  I've got to go work in the garden while it is cloudy or exercise!  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cicada Disco!

The Herbal Husband comes up with the weirdest titles for my posts some days!  Here are cicada carcasses.  They are even coming out early.  Aren't they more an August insect?  The dog day cicadas remind me of August not July.  Although we are rapidly approaching the month of August!  I once was told that time would go faster as you got older and I said how can that be?  It is very true.  Time just flies by!

This is the photo that coined the phrase for the title of my post, "Cicada Disco".  I think The Herbal Husband is in the eighties a lot of the time.  Just kidding or may be not!  Maybe that's what is part of the problem!  Hope you are staying cool.  I'm certainly having a hard time in this heat and humidity.  Standing perfectly still and just being soaking wet!  It isn't fun!  Bought a pair of shoes on sale.  That rarely happens!  It's been a great day!  Talk to you later!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Herbal Husband's Structure in the Garden!

Sticks and strings are a staple in our garden.  You see if you have forgotten I live with an architect so we don't have drooping plants.  Anywhere!
 The main path in the back garden is getting smaller and smaller.  Maybe I won't have to mow it soon!  And sometimes you can hardly see the sticks and strings.  They are keeping my pineapple mint from lounging around and getting in the way.

This was hidden from view without the sticks and strings!  A beautiful variegated sage and a couple of thymes!  Don't forget to use some sticks and strings to give your plants lift and structure in the garden.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Herbal Miscalculation!

Yesterday as we were driving home, my Herbal Companion, Bonnie said, I think your bay tree in the container is older than 5 or 6 years old!  I had to agree.  The bay tree is probably 10 to 15 years old.  Not in that same container.  We have sized up as we go.  I think the last time we root pruned it to keep it in the same pot.  Here is a really good root pruning video link from Fine Gardening magazine.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Herbal Paradise!

My Herbal Companion, Bonnie and I were asked to visit Kathleen's gardens at her house in Chagrin Falls yesterday.  Here is a stand that is chock full of troughs and potted lettuces and, of course, a beautiful rosemary.  My rosemary is doing well in a pot also.

This is a Fairy Garden with all kinds of cute furniture and plants that she sells in her shop.

As hot and sunny as it was, it was cool and calm in Kathleen's garden.

Would love to have this shed in my garden!

The fennel and butterfly bush are very happy in the front garden!  We had a lovely time visiting with Kathleen and glad that she is part of my herbal journey!  Thanks Kathleen for all you do for passionate herbal people like Bonnie and me!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Great Herbal Day!

Here is Kathleen's wonderful display gardens at The Village Herb Shop.  If you haven't been able to get to Chagrin Falls, you need to go because besides Kathleen's lovely and wonderful shop, the village of Chagrin Falls is a classic hometown.  I grew up in the 50's and it so reminds me of my childhood.  Small family run businesses and very good restaurants are the foundation of Chagrin Falls.  Of course, there are the falls as well and they are very active unlike other years when we haven't had as much rainfall.  But I digress!
Here's Kathleen teaching us about how to set up and design your herb garden.  If it's your first herb garden, take small steps.  Even maybe plant a few herbs in containers.  Kathleen and her shop will be featured online in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal and in the actual paper on Thursday.  So I will try to remember to give you this Wall Street Journal link again on Wednesday and hopefully, you will find an interview with Kathleen.

She has worked hard to have her dream.  She has inspired hundreds of people to dive into the herb world.  Thank you Kathleen for inspiring me!  I did talk to the group about my gardening and showed pictures of our garden (had to include The Herbal Husband) and helped answering questions.  Two of those questions I'm going to answer here.

I did find an extension educator talking about milk and water and powdery mildew.  I began to doubt whether it was actually milk and water.  It is milk and water as a powdery mildew protectant.  I have seen 1 part milk to 9 parts water.  I also saw 50/50 milk to water.  You must use it before the plant has the disease.  It will not cure it once it has the powdery mildew.  It can smell bad when the milk breaks down.  It does work though.  So experiment with it.  You might want to try Neem oil.  This link is from the University of Connecticut.  The Neem tree is a tree from Southeast Asia and India.  A 1% solution of Neem has been found to help powdery mildew on hydrangeas, lilacs and phlox.  You need to follow package labels when you use it.

The second question was how to use Cuban Oregano.  I have blogged about it on November 29, 2008.  Here are some links that I found when I Goggled recipes using Cuban Oregano.  The first one is a November newsletter from vegetable  The second one is a Cuban bean recipe from Lingle's Herbs.  The third link is oregano recipes that are Cuban inspired from old fashioned  The final website is more Cuban inspired recipes from

You'll have to wait to see her fabulous garden tomorrow!  It is an herbal treat!  Had a great herbal day!  Hope you had a wonderful day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Friday, July 16, 2010

And The Winners Are....!

I first want to thank everyone who reads my blog.  You are all originals and it is a pleasure to blog with you.  Without you, I would still write, but it wouldn't be nearly as fun!

OK, in a very closely monitored selection out of my Greek cheese making basket, The Herbal Husband pulled out lifeshighway for the first set of buttons.  If you haven't stopped by her blog, you need to do it to give yourself a laugh.  Sometimes I'm just speechless!  Actually most times!

Little Messy Missy won the set of buttons in the middle.  Her blog is about all of her adventures and she has plenty and she has teenagers!  She isn't old enough to have teenagers!  She's also lost some weight and kept it off and is an inspiration for me to keep my weight off!

The last set of buttons was won by My Farmhouse Kitchen.  Kary and her dog, Teddy always bring a smile to my face.  So ladies, I will be by to get your mailing addresses.  Congratulations! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not Quite a Cheep Room!

OK, it's a bath for the birds.  When we first moved to this house, we were buying those ceramic two-piece birdbaths.  They didn't last long with the crows around!  It became a game with them and it took us a few breaking to finally decide to get this one.  It takes the two of us to move the top in the fall.  We just turn it over so it does crack!

The herbs thriving around it are basil mint that I got out in sunny California a number of years ago.  It is more in the shade than it would like so it moves to the edges and into the sun.  The other herb is sweet woodruff.  It gets a little ratty looking this time of year and it is hotter this season.  It is still looking pretty good in the shade.

So I'm going out to weed before it really gets too hot!  Going into the 90's later today!  Far cry from last year's Seattle summer!  Hope you have a great day!  Tomorrow is the last day to enter my 600th post contest.  Just comment for those buttons!  Talk to you later!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Language of Flowers Sign!

Volunteer sunflowers again!  The tiny sign at the bottom in the dirt says it all.  Sunflower for Hope is the language of flowers.  I'm going to be helping Kathleen Gips (Who wrote a couple of nifty dictionaries on the language of flowers.) at the Village Herb Shop with her July 17th Saturday seminar on herb garden maintenance.  Here is the sign up close.
FlowerLady inspired me to do this post because of her friend, Gina from Antique Art Garden who lost her youngest daughter in a car crash this week.  Please send a comment her way.  No one can imagine burying their child.  Our friends, Jim and LaVerne had to bury their dear Sue Ann and they are in their 80's and 90's.  Life is a testing adventure!  Hope you have a good day wherever you may be!  Going to make lemon basil jelly!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harvest Time!

The Herbal Husband was making room for seeds and small transplants.  He doesn't stop!  He harvested these beautiful beets!  He also pulled the first garlic.  The bulb is maybe not as formed as it could be, but hopefully it is OK.  Looks pretty good, doesn't it!  Summertime is heating up again in the 'Burgh.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be!  Going to do some exercise!

Monday, July 12, 2010

If You are in the Neighborhood!

If you are in the neighborhood of Chagrin Falls, Ohio on Saturday, July 17th, I will be joining Kathleen Gips to help with her Village Herb Shop's Saturday Seminar. You need to call to reserve your space. You can call (440) 247-5029 if you are in the Ohio area and 1 (800) 836-9120 if you are out of state. The Seminar fee is $20, but you get a packet of seeds and a lot of great information when you reserve your space.

Herb Garden Design Basics and Maintenance
July 17, Saturday 10:30 am to 12 noon
Is your herb garden running wild???
Did you forget what you have planted???
Is the whole garden filled with mint???

Join us to learn how to design, plant, cultivate, maintain, prune and harvest your herb garden including seasonal care for spring, summer, fall and winter.  This program is suitable for those who are starting their first herb garden as well as experienced gardeners facing overgrowth and pruning challenges in their established gardens. Learn about herb garden ornaments, organic composting, fragrance gardening and theme gardens. Gain ideas from our thirteen herbal display gardens in the front of our shop. We will show you our favorite garden tools and organic fertilizers. The hand-out includes a month by month herb garden care guide. Bring your herb gardening questions and challenges. Bring a sprig of your mystery herb plant for identification. Free seed packet included with each reservation. Seminar Fee: $20.00. Advanced Registration is Required.

I'm going to bring photos of my garden and talk about my blog and hopefully give people a little inspiration in their herb gardens. Hope to see you in Chagrin Falls on Saturday!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be. Talk to you later.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I had a surprise for The Herbal Husband this morning.  I made him surprise muffins with the extra raspberry jam left from my last batch.  They were very delicious and moist.  So here is the muffin recipe link again if you missed it the first time around.  Off to work in the garden it is a beautiful day and The Herbal Husband will enjoy the World Cup final.  I don't have a favorite..  I have friends who are Spanish and friends who are Dutch!  May the best team win!  Hope you are having a great day!  Don't forget to comment to get your chance to win the 600th post buttons!  Talk to you later!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cheep Rooms on Thursdays!

TG, here is a closer look at the birdhouse.  It was a really beautiful little perennial garden at the Green Tree Municipal Complex with a birdhouse and a butterfly box.  Very hot day, but it looks very cool!  Just had to clarify for those of you thinking it was our garden.  It is not!  I also have no idea how to link this picture on Cheep Rooms!  Just when you get used to something it gets changed!  I feel so stupid!  Well, I will just participate from afar!

Hope you join in the giveaway going on until next Friday!  Weather has gotten better.  Will actually be in the garden for awhile this weekend!  Hope you have a great day!  Talk to you later.

Friday, July 9, 2010

600th Post! It Better Be A Good One!

Well, it's a great giveaway!  Lots of you are multi-talented.  I bought these little buttons for some reason a few years ago that I really can't remember now!  Herbal senior moment!  They range from 3/4" to 1" in size.  Click on the photo to make a bad photo a little worse or better!  Everyone who comments from now until next Friday, July 16th at 10 AM Eastern Daylight Time will be entered to win.  No matter what day you comment on from today onwards until next Friday.  Please give me a contact if you do not have your own blog!  Thanks.  Made two more batches of raspberry jam this morning!  Just an incredible year for the raspberry.  I think someone upstairs feels bad about losing our grapes!  Good luck!  Talk to you later!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Presentation for the Green Tree Garden Club!

I did my Flavor Infusions presentation for the Green Tree Garden Club today.  Really enjoyed lunch and had a very enthusiastic group of ladies.  Thanks ladies!  They tend a beautiful group of perennial gardens at the Green Tree Municipal Complex.  This garden has a statue and a birdhouse among the beautiful perennials.

  Here is the rose garden.
I forgot to give some herbal vinegar recipes this afternoon.  Here they are:

Savory Basil Garlic Vinegar
1/2 cup summer savory or tender sprigs of winter savory
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 small cloves garlic
1 quart of red wine vinegar

Burnet Chives Garlic Vinegar
1/2 cup of salad burnet  (If you don't grow salad burnet, I would try some sliced cucumbers.  Try 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers.)
1/2 cup of chive leaves
2 small cloves garlic
1 quart of white wine vinegar

Recipes courtesy of Shaudys, Phyllis V., Herbal Treasures, Pownal:  Storey Communications, Inc., 1990.

You can use a quart jar and make sure if the lid is metal to place plastic between the lid and the jar.  Trust me vinegar will eat a hole in the jar!  Let it steep for at least 2 weeks at a minimum.  Then test it and let it steep longer if necessary.  Here is also a link for the radish pickles using Herbes de Provence.  This is winter savory (Satureja montana) doing just fine in a concrete container.  My summer savory (Satureja hortensis) is already gone this year.  The summer savory did very well in the cooler temperatures last year.  Both of these herbs are considered good with soups and stews and summer savory is called the bean herb because it combines so well with green beans.  If you don't grow savory, you can buy savory through Penzeys.

Right in the center of the picture is salad burnet Poterium sanguisorba.  It has a wonderful cucumber flavor and smell.  It makes a great vinegar.  The four-lined plant bug is driving The Herbal Husband crazy.  Guess I have to patrol all day tomorrow!  It may be a long day!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Intoxicating Evening Smell!

The night blooming jasmine is blooming at the moment.  Last night it was 85 degrees at 11 o'clock.  The neighbors' sons were having a fire.  I don't understand that.  The fragrance of the jasmine was almost canceling out the smell of the fire!  Almost!  My presentation will be inside tomorrow, not outside!  Thank goodness!  Hope you are staying cool wherever you may be!  Talk to you later.