Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Herbs - What Are We Doing Now?

My friend Cory from Aquarian Bath suggested that it would be fun if people from all over would write about their current herbal activities. Other truly wonderful and inspiring posts are available here: after the first of April, but I couldn't wait. The topic seemed pretty exciting to me. Let's face it - it has been a long winter, and neither bitter winds, nor sucking mud, nor chilling rains can stay me from the green stuff that is now carpeting the ground where only a few short weeks ago, snowdrifts lay.
At the moment, I am spending a little time now and then gathering teeny-tiny leaves that my sister and I will be using in a top-secret project. Ok... you dragged it out of me. We going to play with some resin.
Otherwise, the big fun right now is in finding what survived over the winter.
Some of the plants fight with surrounding plants for space each year. In fact we have a lot of that around here. I talk a lot about the mountain mint and the various other mints (that have been plowed - heh heh heh), but there are some other herbs that are sort of bullies. Chamomile is one that is really taking over, as well as the St. Johnswort. As you can see, the SJW is already greened up and starting to move 'em out!Both of those I have encouraged, so it will be my own fault when the day comes that they require "management". Thyme is another one, and that's sort of surprising. My luck with thyme up until now has been so-so, and right now it would seem that the thyme has taken several feet to itself. It's ok though... I like it.Some plants will produce for the first time this year, and I'm expecting the gooseberries and currants to be among them. Perhaps the figs will have time to ripen this year? Looking at the bayberries, it looks like they will also provide some wax this year.
Part of every day will find me outside, pulling away some fallen leaves from the autumn, digging out some overly enthusiastic mustard or cress, or even transplanting to a better place that I remember considering from last year.
Another task is cutting back the shrubs and bushes that are the foundation for the gardens.
This second year parsley is back, but it will bolt quickly. Some new plants will go in and be allowed to grow while we have this to use in the meantime. If they get out of hand, they will shade everything and my beloved weeds and herbs would just vanish. Beautiful little monarda leaves are just coming through the ground. This particular plant has bright candy pink flowers in summer. It is my favorite of the monardas, followed closely by the typical bright clear red variety.The cleavers is having no trouble holding its own on the side of the house. I've noticed quite a bit of cleavers out there this year. It looks very robust.There is one valerian that has volunteered underneath an evergreen bush of some sort, and *somebody* is going to have to move, there. This is the original plant...The chives have a few more weeks before they will bloom, but their succulent "leaves" wave bravely in the cool, windy weather. They are perfectly fine to eat now.I hesitate to mention this, but there is someone living under the front porch again. It is somebody small, and I think it is a chipmunk family, since they've been seen in the front garden. Oh please, if it has to be something living there, let it be a chipmunk rather than a groundhog or skunk - PLEASE!!!
Chickweed is incredibly lush at this time of year. It has been around pretty much all year (except July, August, and September), but this is when it is best.So that's what I'm doing with herbs right now. Daydreaming, rearranging, nudging, making room for, and a little petting and fawning. The anise hyssop is already fragrant and tasty, and the leaves are perfect for this time of year.... they somehow don't make you feel crazy if you pet them :-).


PeggyR said...

I'm anxious to get out and clean my small herb garden out! But alas we had snow overnight and it is extremely cold again!

Marnie Plunkett said...

We have skunks that bomb our house a couple times a month. You'll be settling in for the night, reading TEH, and WHEW! The smell is so strong you can almost taste it and it makes it hard to fall asleep. I think our motion detector lights startle them and they spray.

JThao said...

Hi Tina. I've been reading your blogs and I really like what you're doing with the herbs. I just grew to like herbs, gardening and flowers not too long ago and enrolled into an herbal course from Heart of Herbs by Demetria Clark. I'm really looking around for a mentor (I'm afraid I'm going to eat something that could be harmful to me). I live in the Lititz area and would love to take some of your classes. I hope to learn a whole lot and start doing my own things. I'm just starting a garden in my lawn this year so I hope all goes well. Hopefully the rabbits don't eat all my plants. lol

Carrie said...

I have aloe vera at my home i used it to treat my acne.

Granny Sue said...

I cleaned out my herb beds and my daughter-in-law took a few starts home. Everything is coming on well so far. I will be starting a new herb garden this year because my current one is too shady. The nig question is how to keep the dogs out of it. I love my dogs but I hate them in the Spring. Once plants got big enough the dogs understand they are to stay out. It's when the ground looks mostly bare that they are a problem.

Amber Pixie Shehan said...

What a lovely garden/yard! Enjoy the warming weather and a healthy harvest. :)