A stroll through the garden…

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Back at the first of December, when making some herb butter, I took a stroll through our garden in hopes of finding enough herbs still around to avoid a run to the grocery store. I was happy to find anything worth harvesting as the garden has been a little neglected since late July because I was working on getting this blog up and running.

The basil that was once green and vibrant, and a hip local hangout for bees, is now dead and dry. For you photography geeks out there, I call this dead basil bokeh.

A stroll through the garden

Used all summer and into early fall for many a dish, including one of my favorites, basil pesto for use in creamy pesto pasta. Basil is a must for a cooks garden. In addition to the regular sweet basil variety we grew lemon basil for a second year and lime basil for the first time. Both variations go great with chicken or tossed in a salad. It’s amazing how these basil seeds dead and brown smell just like lime – like a crisp, fresh, just-opened can of Sprite. It truly is surprising that something so dead could smell so alive. I’ll be saving some of these seeds to plant in the spring.

dried basil

Snuggled right up next to the basil I was excited to find that the cilantro had reseeded and was looking better than ever. Early to mid summer was the last I saw of the cilantro. It can’t take the heat. It was good to now be able to use my own fresh cilantro in the well-liked white bean chili – good stuff.

cilantro

Thyme. Thyme is loverly for sure and one of the ingredients I was hoping to find for use in the butter. Fresh thyme is a treat to have on hand. I especially like it with potatoes and corn.

thyme

These red blossoms first caught my eye from the kitchen window and the reason I brought my camera along. It’s sage. Pineapple sage to be exact. It was added alongside the regular sage which we’ve been growing for a couple of years and is very different in appearance from the purply, leather leaves of the typical sage variety. Love these red fluttery little blossoms.

Pineapple Sage

Of course oregano was to be found. Still vibrant and green.

Here’s a pain in my neck, mint. I have pulled and pulled this stuff up. I wish I would have known better. It grows insanely like a weed, sending out runners, flourishing when all else may falter. Here you see it trailing across the garden path. Damn you mint. I’ll get you my pretty and your little mint friends too.

After I gathered the herbs I continued to check out the remains of the much forsaken space.

Leeks! I’ve been keeping an eye on these hoping that there would be something to salvage. They’re small but sure were tasty in this scalloped potato recipe with some of the fresh thyme. Yummy yum yum. Nothing quite like leeks and butter.

And look at this. Carrots where none were planted.

Yep. Carrots indeed. How strange that they would pop up about 4 feet from where they were first planted as seed. The only thing I can gather is that they were displaced by an early spring gulley washer.

I’m happy to see these purple coneflowers.

As a perennial we’ll welcome them back next year and with the many seeds they’re sporting plenty more purple friends will be joining them too.

I’m looking forward to start planing the garden space for spring. Maybe I’ll try something new, as well as stick to what has been true. It’s been fun to cook using fresh ingredients from the garden – especially the herbs.

Do you garden? What are you thinking about adding to your crop this year? Or what has been a favorite in years past?