Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seems Like Only Yesterday, But It Is Hotter Than You Know What!

I'm not sure this will be a clue to where we have been.  This city we visited had the Winter Olympics in 2010.  Yes, you are correct, Vancouver, British Columbia.  This happens to be Whistler where all of the skiing happened.  The Herbal Husband and I took a float plane up to Whistler and had afternoon tea on the train coming back.  It was really a deluxe trip and IF I'm ever diagnosed with an incurable disease, I have had one of the best adventures of my life.  I will post more photos of this trip, because it was magical.  This is where the Olympic ceremonies for the skiing and maybe the snowboarding (Is that an Olympic sport?) were.  Duh!

We both missed a lot in the garden.  We have left spring behind and jumped right into summer.  It was 90 yesterday and today!  It's May people!  What happened to that nice transition!  Gone!  The lovage in my herb garden has already bloomed and so has the angelica.  What I'm most excited though is my Rosa rugosa 'Alba' has finally bloomed.  Took it three years!  I moved it around a few times!  Maybe that was the problem!  A most delicious edible flower.  One of my favorites.  Well, the garden is a jungle.  Had to hand clip some of the grass down before I mowed today.  Hope you have had a great day wherever you may be.  More adventures to come.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time for An Herbal Timeout!

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the herbal world, it's time for one of my famous herbal timeouts!  I just can't blog while I'm away!  The Herbal Husband jams our time with so many adventures which is good and bad.  I usually need a vacation from my vacation.  Going out west and will be back before you know it with lots of herbal and other adventures.  Talk amongst yourselves!  Bye for now!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Instant Herb Gardening!

We have started to plant our container herbs out in the garden.  If we keep getting the rain we are getting, we will have herbal trees by the end of the season!  Not necessarily a bad thing.  These two are the tender lavenders that made it through.  They are looking pretty sparse.  They usually do this time of year.  One is the 'Goodwin Creek' and the other is the 'Grey French' lavender.  They do well in the western side of our house on the windowsill and we have drafty windowsills!

This lovely plant is a 'Green Pepper' basil.  It doesn't look much like a typical basil.  It makes an excellent herbal vinegar.  We keep it in a pot and it reseeds itself.  We have passed seeds along to friends, but they don't seem to germinate.  It can tolerate some shade.  So morning sun/afternoon shade.

I did buy a few and I really mean a few, less than ten new herbs for the garden.  Here is where the new scented geraniums and a couple of container ones were planted the other day.  So if you have gaps where you could use a larger herb, think about planting your container herbs into that empty space.  You can always find a new smaller herb for that container!;>}  Hope you are having a great day.  We are still making rain in this part of the world.  My neighbor brought his boat out of storage!  Do you think he knows something I don't?  It's laundry day here and it's piled to the ceiling!  Talk to you later.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Feel Free to Squish Away!

They have probably been back for a week or so because it has been raining so much I haven't been scouting out in the herb garden.  The four-lined plant bugs are back for another season.  The Herbal Husband is just devastated to see them.  They are trouble, but I learned as a master gardener that a lot of bugs can only be managed especially if you do not want to spray toxic chemicals.  Lots of the organic solutions are just as toxic.  So it is better to just try and squish the nymphs and adults.  They are true bugs which means just two stages.  The nymphs are red and the adults are a yellow green color with four black lines.  Last season I even saw the nymphs morphing into the adults.  The good news is is there is only one generation a season and the damage will not kill your herbs only disfigure them.  The herbs put on new growth to cover over the damage.  I did a guest post about on The Herb Companion website.  Here is the link called Herbal Pests:  The Four-Lined Plant Bug.
This is damage on oregano.  The nymphs do not fly.  I was squishing nymphs yesterday.  They can be very quick as are the adults.  The adults fly and they are quick and drop to the ground if they feel under attack.  I just love to put on my Mud gloves and squish away.  The top photo shows the nymphs on sage.  They love members of the mint family, four-sided stemmed plants.  All your favorite herbs.  Click on the link above to get a partial list from my post last year.  The plants all survive the damage. I have never lost a plant to four-lined plant bug damage.  Hope if you have this insect your damage will be relatively light.  They should be gone by the end of June at least in western Pennsylvania.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It Just Scalds Me!

You know I sometimes don't get around to everyone's blog like I should.  When I finally make an effort to get to some of your blogs, Blogger has a malfunction and erases my comments!  Yikes!  All that work goes down the drain!  Most days Blogger is great, but it just takes that one day when I'm not even in town.  Glad I wasn't.  I might have had another meltdown, herbally speaking!  Enough of that!

So Exciting! Celebrated the Herb of the Year-Horseradish!

I got to meet a follow blogger and follower, Kathy S. who just happened to be at The Village Herb Shop this morning when my Herbal Companion, Bonnie and I celebrated the Herb of the Year, Horseradish with Kathleen Gips.  We learned about horseradish and there is a lot to learn.  Eat some wonderful nibbles of food made by Heather and made several products using horseradish as a workshop.  Kathleen is always so thorough and we just have a wonderfully herbal day when we are with her.  She used my horseradish jelly to top a delicious bread.  Just click on the link to get the recipe.  I will say that it didn't gel the last two times I made it!  Ugh!  It did gel the first time.  I'm thinking bad batch of Certo.  It was next year's expiration so it should have worked!  I hate when that happens so I will be tweeking the recipe and I will give you the new version as soon as it is ready.  We always have a great time at Kathleen's.  I'm going to be doing an Herb Companion post next time.  So stay tuned.  It is raining cats, dogs and huge bolts of lightning!  It is a little scary.  The ride home today was lengthened by the storms!  Hope you are doing well wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Gift of Age

Miss C honored the dear Herbal Husband yesterday with the Gift of Age.  For most of her religion grade, she was to select an older person (over 60 that excluded me!) that has been a part of their lives and interview them about their lives and then make a book of their life as a tribute.  I told her that I thought The Herbal Husband would make an interesting interview.  He so enjoys telling stories of his childhood in Peru. The Herbal Husband said it was OK with him if I share her dedication:
This book is dedicated to my good friend for all the good times we had together in and out of the garden.  You always put a smile on my face for all the jokes you've told me and for all the funny things you do.  Thanks for teaching me how to do things in the garden like picking strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, weeds and especially digging for potatoes.  I love to find the mother lode of potatoes.  It is fun to see the different sizes, shapes and color.  I remember when we were digging for potatoes and we found a potato that we named Mr. Potato Head.  I also like to feed the birds and watch how many come to eat.  Don't forget that we have had great times outside the garden.  I remember when we all went to Phipps Conservatory and you loved to see the trains.  I liked when you would whistle to the birds like as if you were talking to them.  Thanks for all of the laughs and memories.
They celebrated Mass and the mothers of the 7th and 8th graders had a lovely brunch for us and then there was entertainment.  Miss C played the song "Sway" on her flute especially for The Herbal Husband.  Besides Miss C's version which made both her mother and I cry when it was played during her honors band concert, this is a favorite version of ours from Melinda Doolittle on American Idol.

  It was a very nice morning for us all.

Miss C and her mom and dad and brother are going to be moving to northern Pennsylvania some time this summer.  The Herbal Husband and I are going to fit some more adventures with Miss C and her mom before they move.  I'll share those adventures later in the summer.   It was another beautiful day in the garden.  We have one more day before the rains come back.  Doing some instant herb gardening and I will fill you in in the next postings.  Wanted to also give a shout out to the Sea Larks who I spoke for today.  Had a great time and I think they enjoyed it as well.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Still Moving Herbs Around!


I'm always amazed what survives in which places in my herb garden.  This winter savory (Satureja hortensis) was growing in the patio in the front of the garden.  This is the perennial choice of the savories.  It gets about one foot tall and is very hardy from Zones 5 to 11.  It needs full sun to do well and it has white flowers in late July or August.  Winter savory is the stronger in flavor and is great with soups and stews (Although split the amount you are adding because the flavor doesn't hold up through the stewing process.  Add some at the beginning of cooking and the rest about the last 15 minutes of cooking.) and is also good with beans.  Summer savory is the annual although it reseeds if it likes its spot.  So we decided to move it to the rock wall for this season.  We are definitely getting enough rain for it to survive.  In fact, we are under a severe thunderstorm warning at the moment.  Talk to you later. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Getting Closer to the Big Day!

Last September I was lucky enough to go to Open Garden Days at Jekka's Herb Farm in Bristol, England and meet these two lovely ladies.  On the left is Jekka's daughter, Hannah and, of course, Jekka.  We are getting closer to when Jekka will be visiting Pittsburgh and speaking to the Herb Society of America on June 24.  I just received Jekka's latest newsletter and I spotted her new blog.  Well, when I visited last year, she mentioned me in her September blog.  It took me until now to spot it!  Her new blog talks about chives and that's what my upcoming guest blog for The Herb Companion will be about next week.   GMTA, herbally speaking!  Stay tuned.  Got to get outside and walk before it rains again.  Horseradish jelly didn't gel like last time!  Going to experiment when I come back with a solution.  Keep your fingers crossed it works!  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Please Keep Her in Your Thoughts and Prayers!

I just realized I had a photo on my new computer of Deana and me when The Herbal Husband and I took her out to celebrate becoming a registered architect to the Grand Concourse.  We had the best time that night.  I made her a tussie mussie.  Today's not only May 5th (I know I posted this yesterday), but it's Deana's birthday.  Happy, happy birthday, Deana.  Everyone who reads my blog is praying and hoping that you get better soon.

We learned late last night that our dear friend, Deana, has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells!  The Herbal Husband worked with Deana at a downtown architectural firm and they became fast friends.  If anyone can beat this disease, it's Deana.  She's a Texas Aggie, first and foremost!  She has the loving and powerful support of family and friends.  This disease is going to have to fight us all, including Deana's mother and two sisters and her husband's family as well.  We are only sending positive energy!  We consider ourselves adopted by her family and we have enjoyed being with them on all occasions.  Her youngest son just turned 2 and her oldest son will be 12 and her daughter will be 8.  Deana is a young vibrant woman who wants to live for her family and friends.

This disease recently took the life of Geraldine Ferraro.  We refuse to believe that Deana will be nothing short of a miracle in her treatment.  She has already started at the Hillman Cancer Center here in Pittsburgh.  To get a second opinion (which insurance would not cover) would have cost $35,000.  Something is wrong here, people, but I'm not going to get negative!  Please keep Deana in your thoughts and prayers!

Pretty soggy in the 'Burgh.  We have had over an inch of rain in the last three days.  Got to run and make some more horseradish jelly.  Talk to you later.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Small Herbal Move!

My photos are all looking alike these days!  This is one of several lady's mantles (Alchemilla mollis) that we have moved into the herb garden.  It is about twice its size already from all of the rain we are having.  A native of northern Europe and named for the Virgin Mary's cloak with the scalloped edge.  It is lovely after a rain when its leaves hold the water making them glisten.  It does have an edible flower.  I have never personally eaten it.  Ours usually get buried in a bed in the back.  Maybe now that we have moved them to a more prominent space, I will try eating some of them.  Lady's Mantle is very popular in England where it is used in an herb garden or any garden as an edging plant.  It is a clumper and reseeds very gently.  It does get ratty in the summer meaning you need to trim it back after the flowers are done to have it looking good.  A very ornamental herb.  Hope you had a good day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.