Wednesday, October 24, 2012

List Of Cooking Herbs For The Garden

Republished from my blog

Herbs look great in the garden as companion plants and are wonderful used in cooking and desserts. Basil is used primarily in Italian cooking, perfect for pesto and tomato sauces. Oniony chives and dill are often used in cold potato and pasta salads. Fennel is used raw or cooked in Italian dishes. Marjoram and oregano work best in Italian and Mexican dishes. Rosemary is wonderful paired with beef or used to flavor roasted potatoes. Tarragon and sage are often used with chicken, while bay and thyme can be used for meats, stews, and soups. Mint and lavender can be used in various ways for desserts, with lavender used lightly and mostly for flavoring. Parsley is a universal flavoring used for many dishes, used hot, cold, or even in salads. One of the most important herbs is garlic, which is used in almost all cuisines.

Bay leaves
Lemon Balm

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Pots to Repot, Restore and Replant

Fall is always a "get as much done as you can" before the rains begin here on the North Coast. We have some rain coming our way this weekend according to the forecast. Then its run out and work on the weekends when its not raining, which can be few and far between.

I have a number of pots that need to be redone, plants pulled out and repotted with fresh soil or moved into a different pot. We have a tree that needs to be repotted into a bigger pot, this will be happening soon because the tree needs more space to grow and the current pot is beginning to seriously fall apart. I also have two pots with ferns in them. One has an asparagus fern and lots of weedy material, a pot the previous homeowner left and I have never repotted with new soil. Its out past the back yard flowerbed and needs to be dug out and redone. The fern is still thriving but it needs some new space and dirt. Unfortunately this pot (as are many of the pots the homeowner left behind) has no drainage holes.

Another pot that needs to be redone is my pot with hummingbird mint. I'm thinking that this might look good from a hanging basket and attract more hummingbirds to it at a higher level. This pot has also been innundated with fern seedlings that have started to overtake the pot. I'm actually looking forward to digging out the ferns from this pot, there are so many of them that they can be split and put back in this pot (I'm thinking about it) and the other half will go in the front yard planted on the far left of our house where not much is growing near the fence other than orange crocosmia bulbs. I dug up a few seeded ferns a year ago and planted them on the side of the holly tree that had no ferns in place and the two ferns have taken off and grown almost to full size already. I think a number of ferns would look great in that section of the yard since there are only a few sword ferns near the porch that I planted a few seasons ago. These feathery ferns are really gorgeous and will look great up near the house and should stand up to the multitude of crocosmia bulbs growing there.

Our large back yard flowerbed still sits ready to be torn down and redone. Its a big job because of the huge number of rocks that were used to create the flowerbed, making it the ideal place for weeds and problems to crop up. That means pulling out all the rocks, a long job which will take many weeks to complete. I'd like to redo the flowerbed building wood walls three feet or so up with a wide seating area on top for people or neighborhood cats to lounge on. I picture ferns, fuchsias and heathers taking up space in the new flowerbed once its ready, but I don't see it ready for a good year or so. There is always so much pruning to do in the garden we keep putting off this big project. Hopefully we can get a start on it this fall.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

List Of Perennials For Planting

Reprinted from my blog Gardeningbytes.

Perennials are one of the great additions to a garden. There are many perennials that provide blooms and evergreen foliage as well as shape and structure throughout the year. Study up on the behavior of each perennial before planting to understand the flowering times for plants, whether plants die back for winter, and if leaves drop during fall or winter months. The plant behaviors may factor into when you plant and where you plant in your garden.

Bee Balm
Black-eyed Susan
Bleeding heart
Four o'clock
Lamb's ears
Perennial Sweet Pea vine

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Plants in the Coastal Garden

I have been watering the two new plants Goodwin Creek lavender and my false raspberry ground cover and they are both doing well after planting them weeks ago. Growing time will begin to slow as we enter October with just enough cold mornings to let you know it really is fall. All the heathers in the front yard that turn color in leaves are showing their fall/winter hues, it is really beautiful. Even the dried flowers that finished on the plants look so good I will probably leave them until my annual spring trimming of all the summer/winter blooming heather shrubs.

I planted the hebe I grew from a cutting, placing it in the middle of the flowerbed behind the drooping cherry tree since I had a bare spot there. So far it is doing well and establishing itself. The hebe cutting should have a good growth spurt this coming spring. The original hebe shrub I planted two seasons ago is huge now at three feet by three feet, much bigger than I expected it to be, and thriving between the pink climbing roses against the front yard fence. It bloomed well with purple flowers this last season. The heather tree sits next to the original hebe and is growing slower but is also growing up and out in size. The heather tree is supposed to get four to five feet tall, I'm hoping it will flower this coming season and grow taller.

I dug up the ground cover plants that are seeding themselves in front yard, the shrub is low-growing and similar to cotoneaster but has much thicker branches and arches branches the same as cotoneaster. I dug up the plants because they were in bad places in the front yard. I potted up the four stems with roots in gallon pots with dirt and watered them in, placing them on the back patio table. So far they are doing well rooting and the leaves are changing color with the season. I plan to plant them in back yard in spring on the small rolling hill below the kiwi metal structure. The shrubs that are established out front are fairly large at two to three feet tall and wide, covered in leaves, flowers and berries throughout the season, really a great looking shrub. I haven't had time to try and look up what shrub it is, time to get my groundcover book out and see if I can identify this plant.

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