Monthly Archives: March 2013

Relocating Perennials

Early spring when the ground is thawed, is a good time to move your perennials. Before they get too big because this is hard on the plant. This year I plan on not waiting until they get ‘toooo’ big and it stresses the plants. Some times just moving them a few feet can mean the difference in how they will preform in the future. Perhaps they received too much sun or not enough.

Another reason to relocate is too many plants in one area, or we just want to change the garden around. I have a bed the construction of the bed is not working, so I need to move everything and find a new home until the bed can be re done.

Try not to plant too many plants in one location, give them room to grow. I know a fuller bed looks nice but when it comes to herbs they have a tendency to get happy as one of friends like to say of spreading plants.

Plants like to have room and dividing them makes the plant healthy and happy. Not the same kind of happy as the above comment. It may take a year for the plants to bloom, but next year the blooms will be better than ever.

Some plants can have the bloom period extended by cutting back. Try cutting back half of your purple cone flower (Echnicea) and or yarrow, some will boom now and some will bloom later. Zinnias, even through they are annuals work great using this method of cutting half back to bloom at a later time.

If you have a garden tour plan for late summer, cutting back will give you booms that might not otherwise be present. Be sure and do this before they bloom for the summer. Most perennials will only bloom once a year. Now their are exceptions to every rule and Stella De Ora will sometimes bloom both in the early spring and throughout the summer if it is not too dry.

To relocate a plant, dip it up carefully, try not to disturbed the roots too much. Some can take it more than others. Dig a hole slightly larger than the clump. Water the hole before planting and allow to drain completely, and fill again to make sure the hole is thoroughly watered. This will help the ground from wicking the water away from the plant. Carefully place the roots the same way there were growing and at the same depth as before.

Now an exception to the above rule about not disturbing the roots. Purple cone flower can have the dirt mostly removed and replanted. In fact I usually cut off some of the roots if the plant is at least three years old, and use the roots in a tincture. Be sure the plant is old enough because you can loose the plant if not careful. I usually don’t take all the dirt off the plant unless I want it for a tincture.

Some herbs are hard to kill as I mentioned in a previous post, I just want to restate be sure you plant it where you want it, because even a small root can spread.

Happy Gardening SK



Bouquet Garni and Fine Herbs

In a previous post,”Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen”, I mentioned herbs used in Bouquet Garni and Fine Herbs. What exactly is bouquet garni and fine herbs blend? I hope the following will answer the question.

Bouquet Garni is a small bunch of aromatic fresh herbs and spices tied together and used in stocks, soups, stews, and sauces.

The herbs are tied together to keep the herbs contained so the flavor not the bits of the herb  will infuse the food. Fresh herbs have a tendency to look bad in the dish if they have cooked for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Plus all their flavor is gone after the long cooking time. Both dried and fresh herbs along with spices can be used. If using dried herbs use method two.

Method #1: Tie two or three sprigs of Italian parsley (flat leaf) with one or two sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf. You can include marjoram, French tarragon, rosemary, or sage in one or two sprigs each depending on the flavor desired.

Try tucking the herbs between two stalks of celery before tying for additional flavor. Some bouquet garni contain peppercorns, whole allspice, and whole cloves. Once the dish is cooked, remove the bunch of herbs.

Method #2: The bouquet garni is place in a small square of cheesecloth or clean muslin. The herbs are chopped and usually dried with this method. Bring the corners together and tie with a string with a tail long enough to hang over the edge, (not too long, you don’t want it to catch on fire) or tie to the handle of the pot. This makes it easy to remove. The dried herbs can also be placed in a tea ball instead of cheesecloth.

The bouquet garni can be made ahead from either fresh or dried. The fresh can be frozen and added to the pot straight from the freezer. The dried can be place in an airtight container for future use.

Fine Herbs blend: are usually added to the dish in small quantities in vegetables, eggs, chicken, soup, salads, sauces and fish dishes. Add the last few minutes of cooking to retain their flavor.

Fine herbs include finely chopped in equal amounts of chervil, chives, tarragon, and parsley.

A jar of dried fine herbs make a wonderful gift to anyone who enjoys cooking.

To make the gift jar of Fine Herbs blend: Fine a pretty jar or container with a tight fitting lid and add the dry herbs in equal amounts listed above. Include a few of your favorite recipes to the jar. Tie with a pretty bow. Don’t forget a label for the jar with the date the herbs were dried. Herbs loose their flavor after a certain amount of time. Six months to a year.

Happy Cooking!


Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen part two

Oregano: Greek Oregano (best) has a hot, peppery flavor.

How to Use: Oregano enhances cheese dishes, eggs, frittatas, quiches, and savory flans.

It add dimension to yeast breads, marinated vegetables, roasted red sweet peppers, mushrooms, roasted and stewed beef, pork, poultry, onions, black beans, potatoes,  eggplants, zucchini, and most shellfish.

Oregano flavor combines well with garlic, thyme, parsley, and olive oil. It is good with pizza, Italian dishes, tomatoes, chili, and vinaigrette.

Oregano can be used in place of marjoram but use less, because oregano has a stronger flavor.

Harvest and Storage: Can be dried, in fact some dishes taste better if used dried. Pick young leaves anytime and gather just before flowers open. it can be frozen or used in flavored vinegars.

Parsley: Italian of flat leaf has stronger flavor than curly parsley and is the best variety for cooking. Curly is good added after dish has been cooked. It is a popular kitchen herb, and when Italian Parsly is cooked it enhances the flavor of other foods and herbs.

How to Use: Chop and stir into dips, herb butters, scramble eggs, pasta salads, soups, stews, and potato dishes.

Use as garnish, in tomato sauce, in mayonnaise, sandwiches, salads, with carrots, cucumbers, peas, and squash.

Parsley is known for containing vitamin A, B, C, calcium and phosphorus.

The whole leaves can be fried for a unique garnish or snack.

Harvest and Storage: Can be dried or frozen. Pick leaves during first year. Parsley is a bi-annual and goes to seed the second year.

Rosemary: Used as seasoning, rosemary’s flavor combines both strong and subtle qualities. It is pungent, somewhat piney mint like flavor. The leaf should be added sparingly to most meat dishes.

How to Use: Rosemary goes well with beef, lamb, and chicken. It will aid in the digestion of fats. 

Great in breads, cornbread, stuffing, jelly, vinegar, cauliflower, corn, onions, peas, butter, potatoes, squash, vinaigrette, marinades, cream sauces, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, eggs, lentils, and complements the herbs; chives, thyme, chervil, parsley, and bay in recipes.

Enhance the flavor and sweetness of fruit salads, and replace mint with rosemary in mint jelly recipes.

Harvest and Storage: Harvesting can be done throughout the summer. Do not remove more than 20 percent of the growth at one time. Pick small amounts all year long, and gather the main crop before it flowers. It can be dried or frozen. After it has dried, strip off the leaves from the stems. If the stems are large enough save and use as skewers on the barbecue grill. Always soak the skewers to prevent burning.

Sage: is a strongly flavored pungent herb which complements strongly flavored foods and aids in the digestion of fats. Sage lemony like camphor flavor is pleasantly bitter.

How to Use: Young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads, and cooked in omelets, fritters, soups, yeast breads, marinades, sausages, meat pies, and stuffing. Try dipping leaves in a batter and frying.

Good with artichokes, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, squash, corn, potatoes, eggplant, snap beans, leeks, onions, brussels sprouts, cabbage, oranges, lemon, garlic, cheese, lentils and shell beans.

Flavored sage such as Pineapple and Clary can be used instead of garden sage.

Harvest and Storage: Pick leaves just before flowering. Sage should be dried slowly either by hanging or dry them in the refrigerator. Dried sage has a strong flavor and is different than fresh.

Tarragon: can be dominating and overshadow or fight with other flavors. Use in small amounts for a subtle, and desirable flavor, which quickly mixes with other flavors.

How to Use: Add to tartar sauce, avocado filling, mayonnaise, fish dishes, salad dressing, light soups, tomatoes, omelets, herb butters, yogurt, sour cream and is good as a garnish.

Great in mustard and add to preserved pickles.

Add the last 15 minutes to fish, pork, beef, and poultry. Good in dishes with chervil, garlic, chives, oranges, rice and grains.

Harvest and Storage: Cut tarragon in the first six to eight weeks after planting. A second harvest can be taken after growth as reoccurred. When harvesting, handle the leaves gently as they can bruise easily. Tarragon is best frozen or preserved in white wine vinegar, but can be dried at a low temperature, at or below 80 degrees F.

Thyme: Blends well with rosemary and sage and has a delicate faint clove after taste.

How to Use: Sprinkle on sauteed sliced summer squash and onions. Thyme works well with beef, chicken, fish, stuffing, sausages, stews, soups, stocks, bread, herb butter, lentils, herb mayonnaise, flavored vinegars, mustard and most beans.

It blends well with lemon, garlic and basil.

Try thyme in cookies, fruit salads, cakes, and jelly. In tomato sauce, salad dressings, pickle beets, carrots, eggplant, potato, and zucchini.

Harvest and Storage: Can be frozen or dried and can be cut back hard in the beginning but towards the end of summer the last cut should leave plenty of leaves for winter hardiness.

Just a note about most fresh herbs they should be added at the end of cooking time. Dried herbs  can be added earlier in the cooking time. Dried herbs are stronger in flavor and a good rule of thumb until you learn the flavor use about half dried to fresh.

Happy Herb Cooking!








Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

Part one: Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

When planning your herb garden think of the herbs you like to cook with. If you are not sure what herbs you would like to grow in your kitchen garden, try these. 

Following is a list of fresh herbs and their flavors: How to use and store. 

Basil: Great for fresh pesto, it is very aromatic when raw, sweet and mild when cooked. This versatile herb is used in Italian, French, and Asian dishes.Does not react well to long cooking time.

How to Use: Stir thinly sliced basil into pasta dishes, homemade mayonnaise, use on devil eggs, and for all kinds of salads. It should be chopped and added just before you remove it from the stove.  Basil should not be chopped too early, or with a dull knife, it will turn black. Top tomatoes and mozzarella slices with fresh basil leaves. Try adding sniped basil to pizza.

Storage: Place fresh basil in ice cubes trays and fill with water and freeze. The leaves can be frozen in a plastic bag but you take the chance it will turn black. I have been successful in freezing just the leaves.

Bay leaves are at their best when cooked for a long time. One or two leaves is all you need in almost any dish, and remove before serving. They do not get soft.

How to Use: Add to soup, beans, stews, pot roasts, stewed tomatoes, and rice. When added to beans they help with digestion as well as flavor. All parts of the plant are edible. Leaves and flowers. Place dried bay leaves in flour and rice to help deter bugs.

Storage: Should be dried and store in airtight container.

 Chervil is a relative to parsley and has a slight anise flavor. Found in French dishes and in some desert dishes.

How to Use: Add whole leaves to green salads, egg salad sandwiches or scramble eggs. Good to help flavor tofu if using instead of eggs in scramble eggs. Add a little turmeric to color the tofu to give it look of scramble eggs.

Storage: Can be dried and/or frozen for winter use.

Chives: A delicate member or the onion family, with a slight hint of garlic. Snip with kitchen scissors or slice thinly.

How to Use: Great in bread especially biscuits. Stir into cream cheese, butter, or sour cream. Great as a topping for potatoes, eggs, and soups. Use as a garnish for almost any dish with onions. The flowers are edible and are great in salad. Wow your friends by making toss green salad with Chives flowers.

Storage: Can be dried and/or frozen for winter use.

Cilantro: This is a herb that people seem to love or hate. No in between. It is also known as fresh coriander or Chinese parsley, this robust herb is used in Mexican cooking. It’s most often used raw.

How to Use: The leaves are used whole or finely chopped. Great in butters and to use on fish and vegetables. Add it to salsa, guacamole, tacos, bean dishes, soup and chilies.

Storage: This herb is better stored in canned salsa or frozen. It seem to looses flavor if dried.

Dill: The feathery leaf plant has a strong distinctive flavor. It can be chopped, snipped and is good with fish and salads.

How to Use: Add to fish dishes, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, cooked green peas, and carrots. Try in crab salad. One of my favorite ways of using dill is mixed in cornbread. And of course don’t forget the dill pickle.

Storage: Can be dried and/or frozen for winter use.

Marjoram: Similar to mild oregano. Can be used in most dishes that call for oregano.

How to Use: Mix in food process or blender with olives, garlic and olive oil to use as a spread on dark Italian bread or toss on pasta.

Storage: Can be dried and/or frozen for winter use.

Mint: Add to all kinds of tea, it’s taste and flavor will cool you on a hot summer day and settle your tummy as well. If your Asian dish is too hot, add mint to cool it down.

How to Use: Great in marinates for chicken or lamb. Stir into yogurt for a sauce for your lamb. Can be used in chocolate dishes for classic mint chocolate. Add to brownie mix for a cool interesting flavor. Chocolate mint is great use an infusion in apple juice to make mint apple jelly. Another way to use your mints is to add them to water for just a hint of flavor. It will refresh you on a hot day.

Storage: Mint can be frozen or dried.

Stay tuned for part 2

Happy Gardening!

Herb Butters

If you are new to cooking with herbs, try herb butters. They are easy to make and taste wonderful on most dishes and of course all types of bread. Start with bread and when you find a flavor you like, try the herb butters on green beans or other steamed vegetables.

When mixing these recipes, start with room temperature butter and use a wooden spoon for mixing. It does help for a smoother butter.

Following you find some of my favorite recipes. You can try these are mixed your own flavors. It is fun to mix and match your herbs.

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter

  • Roast bulb of garlic
  • Mix your roast garlic with 1 lb. of sweet butter.
  • 1/4 tsp. salt if using unsalted butter, which is my favorite
  • Your choice, add 1 tsp. dried rosemary, or sage or thyme.

Mix this together and use on your favorite bread. Optional: Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese with a little olive oil.

Chive Butter

Mash finely chopped chives with soften butter and chill. I use about 1 Tbsp. fresh chives to 2 sticks of butter. For a decorative touch placed in candy molds and allow to chill thoroughly before removing. When cooking with chive butter, add it to the last of the cooking time, because long cooking can destroy the flavor of the chives.

Rosemary Butter

  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely mashed
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary finely minced

Cream the softened butter with garlic, lemon juice and rosemary. Chill and allow the flavors to meld. This butter can be refrigerated for up to one month. Try it on grill cheese sandwiches or grill meats.

Parsley Butter

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Add parsley and lemon juice to softened butter. Mix well and served with any cooked vegetables. Try it on potatoes, green beans or carrots.

Dill Butter

  • 1 c. butter, soft
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh dill, or 3 tsp. dried
  • 1/3 c. minced fresh curly parsley
  • 2 -3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Add dill, parsley, green onions and lemon juice to softened butter. Mix well and chill.

Spiced Honey Butter

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. candied ginger root, finely minced

If you are new to cooking with herb, it is better to start with one herb add a little lemon juice before trying too many combinations. But once you find the herbs you like, then mix to your heart content. Well maybe not too much, after all there is a lot of fat in the these recipes.

Other herbs to try include:

  • Basil
  • French Tarragon
  • sweet marjoram
  • Greek oregano
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • Mexican Marigold Mint
  • summer savory

These are just a few ideas for butters. Have fun.

Happy mixing!





Herbal Teas

Herbal teas made from flowers, leaves and roots was at one time, one of the most consumed beverages other than water since ancient times.

Herbal teas do not contain caffeine and in most cases offer additional benefits. When an herb tea is used for medical purposes, it often taste bitter and will will avoid it at all costs.

Pleasant tasting herbs can be added to the tea to improve the taste and in most cases it will add to  the health benefits. Raspberry leaves and peppermint leaves will improve the taste of most teas and add health benefits as well.

Basic Tea Recipe: Warm the tea pot by adding boiling water and rinse the pot. Place herbs in the teapot and pour almost boiling water over the herbs and let it steep for three to five minutes. In most cases one to two teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water. Covering the teas as it brews is important because it holds in the valuable properties of the steam especially if it is for medicinal purposes. Covering the tea will also help the flavor of the tea along with adding honey or stevia.

Just a note these tea combinations are not meant as medical advice just the traditional uses of the herbs.

Some examples of herbs used in tea:

  • Chamomile: use to calm the nerves and help with sleeping
  • Peppermint tea is used as a pick-me-up and for stomach disorders
  • Borage tea is used in tonics
  • Yarrow tea is used to reduce fevers and as a digestive tonic
  • Lady’s Mantle is used for gastroenteritis and diarrhea
  • Marshmallow is used for bronchial and urinary disorders.
  • Hibiscus is thought to help with blood pressure

Tea Recipes:

Get You Going  Morning Herb Tea

  • 1 oz. dried crushed rose-hips
  • 1 oz. dried hibiscus
  • 1/2 oz. dried lemon balm
  • 1/2 oz. dried peppermint
  • 1/4 oz. dried borage flowers

Tea to sooth the Tummy

  • 1 oz. dried peppermint
  • 1/2 oz. Lady’s mantle
  • 1/2 oz. dried lemon verbena
  • a few fennel seeds
  • 1/4 oz. dried rose petals

Hibiscus Blend Tea

  • 4 tsp. hibiscus flowers
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 tsp. spearmint leaves
  • 1 half stick cinnamon
  • 1 half vanilla beanBring 4 cups of water to almost boiling and pour over herbs and steep for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or Stevia. Serve hot or cold.

Water plays an important role in making tea. It extracts the properties of the herbs and is a carrier of the dissolved chemical ingredients found in the herbs. Water will also help the body to flush out unwanted toxins in the body. When drinking tea for medicinal purposes, it is recommended to sip the tea every 10-15 minutes throughout the day. Make enough tea to last the day.

It is best to use stainless steel or glass when making tea. Avoid aluminum pots.

Growing your own herbs and drying them for teas is a great way to enjoy them all year long. One of the questions I am asked almost every time I give a talk is what do I do with my herbs? My answer is, you don’t have to do anything with them, they look and smell wonderful in the garden. We can enjoy them just as they are. My second answer is dry your herbs for tea, it is one of  the easiest way to use your herbs. Make sure you know what herbs you have in the garden and which are safe to use in teas.

Happy Herb Gardening






Sunburn Care and Aloe Vera

As the weather starts to warm we find ourselves outside and working in the garden. Don’t forget about the sun. Even in spring the sun can caused sunburns.

Sunburns are caused by overexposure to the sun without protection. We get sunburns on places we forget to cover such as the back of the neck, tip of the nose, and don’t forget those domes (bald heads).

Following are some sunburn care tips:

Aloe Vera is a great relief for the discomfort and burning of sunburn. It helps to seal in the skin’s natural moisture, which helps in the healing.

The aloe’s gel forms a coating on the skin but does not hold in the heat and burning like other ointments. It helps the skin to heal from the inside out.

To use aloe for sunburn care, simply cut open the leaf and smear (don’t rub) the gel on. It can be bandaged in place but may be better to leave it exposed to the air.

Aloe Vera also mixes well with lavender essential oil to help cool a sunburn. This mixture may be helpful to someone with chemotherapy burns. This combination will help prevent infection, which can be a problem with burns of any kind.

Combine 4oz. of Aloe Vera with 1/2 tsp. lavender oil, 1 tsp. apple-cider vinegar and a few drops of vitamin E oil. Shake the mixture before applying. Reapply to keep cool.

Apple Cider vinegar feels cool on sunburns. Keep applying as needed, and ignore the smell.

Recently I burned my thumb on the stove and nothing felt good on it except ice. I keep ice on it all night long because as soon as I took off the ice it starting burning again.

Once the burn stop burning where I could stand taking off the ice, I slather it with Aloe Vera to speed in healing and to help with infection. It healed in just a couple of days.

So watch out for the sun and take precautions by wearing sunblock even in the spring. But if you do get a burn try Aloe Vera for your sunburn care.

Happy Gardening

Christmas Crafting with Herbs

In my neck of the woods spring is comin’ At lease we hope so. As if we didn’t have anything else to think about in the spring, how about planning the herbs you want to use in making your Christmas gifts. I love to make herbal vinegars, herbal spice mixtures, herbal cosmetics, and potpourris just to name a few.

These all require growing the herbs I need to make my Christmas gifts. I know it is several months away but while you are planning the garden don’t forget the Holidays are coming one of these days. Of course we do have other times of the year we can make gifts such as birthdays, Mother’s Day and just because.

If you plan now, you might not be faced with the upcoming holidays and wondering what you are going to make everyone. With just a little planning it makes life and gift making so much easier.

So make your list and check it twice and know what is naughty or nice. Herbs I mean, after all if you have ever grown mint or mugwort you know what I mean by naughty. Nice are those herbs that stay where you plant them. Few that they are.

Here is some of the herbs I like to have in my garden for gift giving.

  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme, all kinds especially lemon thyme
  • Mint, chocolate (makes a great jelly)
  • Chamomile
  • Southerwood
  • Mugwort (this spreads)
  • Lavender
  • Scented geranium
  • Yarrow
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Santolina
  • Lemon balm
  • Lemon grass
  • Lemon verbena
  • Rose
  • Tarragon
  • Chives

Now is the time to plan your garden and checking then twice, their growing habits of course.

If they spread, if they like sun, or partial shade and how much water do they need. Draw out your garden map, and think about what you might add this year as well as next. Not all plants you want to plant have to be planted this year.

Most garden’s plans show what to grow now and what can be grown in the future. Some herbs can be started from seed, not mint, so start your seeds indoors to reduce the cost.

After all one of the reason we make our Christmas gifts is to save cost, of course I always seem to spend more than if I just went out and bought my gifts.

Happy Herb Gardening


Herbs to replace the Lawn

Have you ever had a patch of grass too hard to mow? Well consider using herbs to fill in those tough spots. Creeping thyme, wooly thyme, perennial chamomile also known as Roman chamomile or pennyroyal can take some traffic without damage.These are great herbs to replace the lawn.

Just think of the fragrance released with every step. Pennyroyal is a form of mint and will also repel most insects. Creeping varieties of herbs have a wonderful feel and fragrance as you walk on them. These herbs are not hard to maintain or get started.

Herbs can be mixed with cool season grasses, such as rye, bluegrass, or fescues. They add a touch of color in cold winter regions. Roman chamomile has small white daisy like flowers.           Both have a wonderful fragrance especially when step on.

How to Grow:

Sprinkle the seeds on loosened soil (where grass is not growing) or plant seedlings in bare spots. Water well and keep soil moist until plants become established.Once established they take very little care, especially thyme. Every few years they may need to be replaced as they may get a woody center. Take cuttings or divide plants.

In the lawn where you have mixed herbs with grasses you may need to mow every other week. But in the areas with just herbs, mow only a few times a year or leave completely alone.

A Quilt for your yard:

How about creating a show piece in the yard by planting creeping thyme in quilt like pattern with creeping variety of golden marjoram. Marjoram is lime green where the thyme is dark green. Add a statue or other garden art and you will have an area everyone will notice.

Stepping Stones:

These same herbs work great around stepping stones. Other plants might include low forming sediums. Set the plants about six inches apart between the stepping stones. These herbs should fill in by the end of summer. Next year, you may need to cut back the plants to keep the area looking good.

Two thymes for these projects include low-growing English thyme and Mother of thyme. These work in sunny location or part shade. Especially after noon shade. Creeping forms of thyme will provide a dense mat as well as being durable for walking.

Roman chamomile grows best in full sun to part shade. Grows 5-6 inches tall and works in zones 4-8. Tolerates light foot traffic. Have fun with your new herbal lawn.



Spring Cleanup and Perennials

Don’t you just love all the gardens catalogs that come in the mail. All those gorgeous pictures of perennials and annuals.  Most are offering a special deal if you order by a certain date. As soon as I see them, I just want to get out in the garden and start planting. I want to order everything in the catalogs even if I have never heard of the plant and have no idea where I would place it in my garden.

How many times have we bought a plant before we knew where to plant it. So it lives in it’s pot until we can figure out where it will fit. What we should do, is plan what we want to plant and then purchase. I know I don’t always do it either.

When the catalogs first arrive we still have a lot of winter ahead of us especially if we are planting vegetables and annual herbs. When you have 65 degrees F in February or early March, don’t be too eager to set out new plants if your area is known for late frosts. . Now is a great time to clean up the garden and get rid of leaves and last years clutter.

If you live in the Midwest, don’t get too eager to remove any coverings in our gardens. Those late frost can do more damage than the winter months. Plants do not care for having one day in the 70 degrees F. and the next day below freezing.

As soon as you see the beginnings of new growth coming around the base of perennials, it is time to start the cleanup. This may be at the end of March or the beginning of April.

Start with removing any of last year’s annuals, I usually leave them in the fall for the animals to use as cover and possible food. At least it is what I tell myself when I don’t find the time for fall cleanup.

Once I have all my old basil plants in the compost pile, I start by cleaning up the perennial beds. I like to remove any sticks or old growth. I also take the time to relocate plants into new homes. This is a great way to share your plants and extend your garden. Last fall I dug up some Dutch Iris from just three clumps, I had about 15 new plants and gave some away and move some to new beds.

When sharing plants be sure to pass along any information about the plant so the new owner know where to plant, the name of the plant and any growing conditions. Don’t forget to warn someone if your are sharing mint and how it likes to spread.

After it has rain is a great time to dig up plants and to weed. If fact one of my favorite times to weed is when it is just starting to rain, just be aware if it is thundering and lightening. That is the time to head inside.

Happy Gardening

Sharon K