More Things Herbal

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”

Proverbs 15:17

Well, I’m fresh out of oxen, fattened or otherwise, but I am planting herbs, and this year I am actually going to try to USE them in my cooking.  At least more often than I have in the past.  I grow them every year–basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley,  and velvety, silver sage, to name a few. But I mostly grow them because I love how they look, how they smell when I brush up against them in the garden, and how many butterflies and bees they draw.  I always think I will snip them and use them daily, but except for the occasional cup of pineapple salvia tea, I tend to forget.  This year, I plan to remember!

Basil is my favorite herb to grow and to eat, and thus one that I do sometimes think about when making dinner.  I even like to substitute fresh basil leaves for lettuce on a sandwich, I enjoy it so much.  Sweet basil tastes the best, but African blue basil is the most beautiful and is an absolute magnet for honeybees.  The clumps can get 3 feet across or better, and just as tall.  

african_blue_basil

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(Click to see full-sized)

What are your favorite herbs to grow? Do you harvest them for drying or fresh seasoning?

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14 thoughts on “More Things Herbal

    • Hi, Argyle! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I love chives, and I agree the plant is beautiful, and so useful. Sadly, I have never been able to keep chives alive and thriving here in central Florida. When I grow them, they pretty much die in mid-summer, when the temps and humidity hit the worst. Maybe there’s a secret I don’t know? I grow them as annuals now and then, and that’s pretty much it. Where do you live that you have such good luck with them?

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  1. OH, you probably have a perfect climate for chives and lots of things I can’t grow. But then, I can grow bananas and other tropicals that might not work for you. That’s the way of it, though, that we always want to grow what’s in the other guy’s garden, isn’t it? I’ve always loved the look of English gardens. Is yours cottagey, with roses and things, too?

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  2. That’s so funny…. you described me to a “T”! Each year I get very intense about growing herbs (in pots). Usually basil, oregano and parsley. My goal … cook with them! But it only happens once or twice…..

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    • Maybe you’re like me, and just really don’t care much for cooking? (I’m the Designated Eater.) If I enjoyed messing around with recipes more, I might be out there snipping away at my herbs, but instead I grow them for their looks and fragrances. And those bees. I do love my bumbly bees and honeybees. THIS year, I swear I’m going to pinch and snip and cook with some, too!! Maybe I should remind you to do the same?

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  3. Oh, NO. You mean it’s Stauffer’s frozen casseroles and grilled burgers until summer??? *me, wringing my hands plaintively, here, while wailing “What to do, what to do?” *

    Going off now to write a new play called “Waiting For Sharechair.”

    😀

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  4. I don’t think I’ve heard of “blue basil”; it’s probably one of those tropical things that won’t grow in MN. Other varieties of basil are easy to grow here (lemon basil is my favorite), and I usually wind up with way too much, but that’s good for making pesto. I also love rosemary, which is very hearty here (but doesn’t survive the winter) and chives (which do). I can’t kill the oregano no matter how much of it I weed out of the herb garden, and the mint usually overgrows everything.

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    • HI, Sue. It’s usually sold as African blue basil, and it can be grown as an annual anywhere basil can. It’s actually tougher than sweet basil, and down here, it will grow as a tender perennial until a hard freeze gets it. I like lemon basil, too. I just enjoy growing basils. Spicy globe basil is so round and pretty, I edge beds with it sometimes.

      I find I can’t kill oregano, either, though it will get stringy and lanky if not trimmed back often. I love the look of rosemary in the garden, but don’t care for the musky flavor of it, so I grow the one that gets pretty blue blooms and leave it for the bees. It will even weather short freezes here, and I’ve had some plants last for years. And I have absolutely no luck with mint at all, except lemon balm, which I can practically make a hedge shrub out of.

      Isn’t it funny what does well one place and not another? Sometimes I think it’s a “personal thing.” I have friends who can grow certain things right in my neighborhood that I kill every time. *sigh*

      Thanks for posting! Good to hear from you!

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  5. So that’s African Blue Basil. I am sure I’ve it seen many times in the family’s gardens. Just never knew that it is a type of basil. I’ll check with our local nursery, maybe buy a few plants or some seed.

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    • I think you’ll enjoy it, Francois. It is also edible, though some think it has a more “turpentine” flavor than sweet basil. I actually like it used sparingly in some dishes, like potato salad. But mostly I grow it for the fragrance in the garden, and because the bees love it so much. Some varieties of it are bluer than others, but all are beautiful, cottagey-looking, and smell good when warmed by the sun. Good luck in finding some, and let me know if you do, and how well it does for you. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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      • Thanks for the info! I hope I find some. And just check my previous post, I left out the “it” in “I am sure I’ve seen it many times..” 🙂

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  6. OH, you just taught me something new, and I’ve had these blogs up for months. I never realized I could edit another person’s response! I wondered how you fixed mine the other day on your blog, and now I know. Your “it” is now in place, properly!
    🙂
    Hope you have a great day…or is it evening in your part of the world. (BTW, I’m still entranced by the thought that you’ve seen an Indri. When you see a fossa, I will know you are a god among men!)

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