A stroll through the garden…
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
These are some gorgeous photos. I do not garden, but my mom is a huge gardener and always has been. I’d like to plant a few herbs for the coming year, maybe basil, cilantro, rosemary?
My son, Jason, and I like to garden. We’ve done well with beans, roma tomatoes, yellow squash, rosemary, strawberries and blackberries but we’ve lost 3 blueberry plants and can’t seem to get bell peppers to do well recently. This year, I’m planning to try some heirloom vegetables. I’ve already been enjoying the seed catalogs that are starting to come in. I find that “digging in the dirt” is good therapy for those stressful times in life.
Love to garden, but we’ve had water shortages the past couple of years and couldn’t keep one alive. After all the downpours this winter I’m hoping there will be abundant water. My MIL and her husband are in their 70’s and 80’s and have a HUGE garden every year. They are so sweet to share with us.
Love all your herbs except rosemary. I absolutely loathe the taste of rosemary. I’ve tried it in so many different dishes; the results are always the same. YUCK!
I do garden… but I’m a beginner garndener (2 years)
My biggest issue is squirrels!!! Those little suckers eat everything in my garden but the jalepeno’s!
I am not a gardener at all. No dirt under these fingernails, thank you very much. Ben however loves to garden and plants one every year. Problem is, he has the desire to garden, but never the time. What starts out with such promise becomes a wild jungle of rotting veggies and weeds before you can say “harvest”.
This year should be better though. With his folks moving into the old house and his mom a wannabe gardener as well, I’ve convinced him to plant over there this year. He can do the plowing and planting and hard stuff and she can do the weeding and picking. Then I can enjoy lovely fresh produce! Win, win, win!!
I am so looking forward to spring. I am going to plant sugar snap peas again like last year, but I will start them indoors so we can get a head start. My broccoli is alive still and survived several frosts, so I’m thinking we will have lots of broccoli come spring. Tomatoes of course. Probably spinach, arugula and a lettuce. My strawberries, asparagus, and rhubarb will come back. Probably do some bell peppers too. And herbs. Love fresh herbs! Last year I did basil, thai basil, cilantro (it was disappointing, I guess it gets too hot here ?), parsley (still alive), and dill. I’m going to add thyme, sage, and oregano to that. My neighbor grows rosemary, so I skip that and just reach over to his yard. We planted grape vines at the end of the summer (one red one green, both seedless) so I hope they come back and flourish for us! Probably a zucchini and yellow squash too. I just look out at that empty area and my head spins will all the possibilities. I CAN’T WAIT!
Years ago I enjoyed gardening and reaping the benefits of my hard labor. The past few years I’ve gotten into the habit of enjoying the benefits of a local fruit and vegetable stand right down the road. I would love to have some of that damn mint… maybe I’ll plant it in a large pot and see if it can be contained. It’s so tasty in tea. You wanna give some away?
You know you can stop by and pick some up any time.
How wonderful, I live in an apartment, is there any herbs or plants that I can grow in a pot??
Hey Books We Read!
I’m not a professional gardener by any means (I learn by doing, failing and starting over) but I’m pretty sure that if you have a good source of light there are several that you should be able to grow in a pot. Do a quick search or better yet look for a great book on indoor gardening or patio gardening if you have a balcony or patio spot.
our pitiful garden was sadly neglected this past year…we’re hoping to do better in 2010! I just found a gorgeous basil plant at Lowe’s over the weekend…I’m hoping to be able to keep it going in the window sill until spring…oh, how I LOVE fresh basil!
I love to garden. I desperately need to prune my roses and pull out withered flowers. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them while they were still blooming, but we had a hard freeze a couple of weeks ago and it did them in. I love the cone flowers. I’ve noticed little birds like my old flowers, especially the cone flowers and zinnias. I wonder if they’re munching on seeds? The only thing edible I have left is rosemary and thyme. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!
I grew up in a gardening family but never quite fully embraced the garden as a source of joy until the last few years or so. I’ve had a small garden every year since with tomatoes as the star…nothing like a fresh tomato, that’s for sure! I love the baby romas called juliets. Easy to grow, tasty and a large crop. This year I tried a few heirlooms and had success with a japanese variety called momotaro. A Japanese friend swoons whenever I give him a few and remembers his family growing them. I also love the herbs as there’s nothing like walking out your door and picking a few herbs to go into your evening meal. Nothing too exotic but I may have to try some lime basil this year…I didn’t know there was such a thing! That’s the joy of a garden, there’s always something intriguing around the corner. Seed catalogs are great fun to peruse this time of year, the latest Southern Living has a suggested list of seed catalogs to enjoy. Johnny’s Select Seeds is a drool fest for me! Martha Stewart also has a large list of seed companies. Sign up for the new catalogs to be sent and the lush photos will get you through the winter doldrums!
First off, dead basil bokeh killed me!!
That is some super duper fantastic bokeh you have there.
I am totally enamored witht he thought of having a garden. I think it might be the coolest thing ever. Its not going to happen on my 3 foot balcony but I’ll live vicariously thru you!
I love your site. I am so glad I was able to meet you in SF. Happy New Year and I hope we can meet up again.
Your photos are gorgeous! That top one is stunning!
Hello. I discovered your website this am. thank you very much, PW. Anyway, I love the variety in your garden. This summer, my husband made me a raised vegetable garden, about 18″ off the ground, as I hated gardening in the past because I had to bend over constantly to weed and it drove me crazy, getting headaches from constantly bending over, standing up, bending over, etc. Anyway, this was a hit. I enjoyed fresh vegetables, home grown, for the first time in years, and no headaches! Next year I am adding another raised bed, and going to plant enough tomatoes to make my own spaghetti sauce.