Friday, April 27, 2012

My Herb Garden

Containers are the easiest way to grow herbs in Florida, I have found.  If they are in pots, I can take care of them easier and water each of them the way they need.  I have staged some of my pots below for more pleasing photos, but normally I just have them all lined up.  We are in the planning stages of completely redoing our yard, and when that happens, I will be able to use all the little props I have in the photos, but for right now, most of them are stored in the garage!

Even though I like my home interiors to be rather formal, I love a country cottage garden.  I cannot wait to install white picket fences, trellises, and arbors.  We have a pretty standard Florida ranch home from the 1970s, where we have lived for 25 years.  Hopefully over the next year or so, the house will be transformed into a more cottage look on the outside to match the garden and edible landscape of my dreams.

Though I am always open to trying something new, over the years I have found the ones below are the ones I actually use and are easy to grow.  Some I like to have to just smell when I walk by.  My youngest granddaughter, Madeline, is quite fascinated by all the different smells and really enjoys it when we take a little tour of the herb garden and she gets to break off leaves to smell them.

I have mixed some tomatoes and flowers in the photos.  I hope you enjoy them!

 Pesto perpetuo basil - which I have never heard of before and am growing for the first time.  Isn't it pretty?

 What I most like about this photo is my bird house.  All of the bird houses I have in these photos I bought at a little country store about 10 years ago in the small town in Michigan where I grew up.  They had lots of primitive antiques and the owner made all the bird houses.  I think they are just cute as can be!

 A close-up of my favorite bird house.  Isn't it darling?

 Fennel, which I grow purely for the butterflies.  A few times a year the caterpillars come and eat each plant right down to the stems, then we find the chrysalis hanging around, and soon butterflies are gracefully soaring around the plants.  I LOVE this process and I love to show my grandchildren each stage.  The fennel comes right back up by itself. 

 Rosemary - the herb I most use for cooking.  I have two or three dishes that it is perfect for AND it makes the house smell divine when it is cooking!

 Basil - probably America's favorite herb.  I grow a lot of it.

Bee balm - I didn't think I could grow it here, but I grew it last year and I actually got some flowers on it.  I was thrilled beyond words!  I wish I could grow lots of it.  This is a very young plant.  It will grow quite tall.

My tomato plants and another favorite bird house.

A close-up of the tomato plant budding

 My yellow tomato plant and the little tiny one at the bottom of the photo was one my husband just brought home from a friend.  It is an heirloom plant that his family has saved the seeds from each year for generations.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

 Food for the butterflies - red penta, white lantana, and a blue plumbago in the back that is just about ready to bloom.  The tall birdhouse is from Michigan and I think the small birdhouse is from Target.  This will look really pretty by Memorial Day.

A close-up

 More garden accessories from Michigan...The rooster is one the antique lady painted, as is the syrup bucket.  I especially like the syrup bucket because my husband's family are maple syrup producers and our little high school is called Maple Valley for all the maple trees in the two towns.  The town I grew up in, actually taps all the maple trees in town and makes syrup for the Maple Syrup Festival, which happens to be this weekend!  Oh the stories I could tell about the Syrup Festival!  Always fun, fun times when I was growing up, but I digress....the little red garden lantern I just bought at Target, as are the green garden gloves.

A close-up of the orange mint - the smell is quite delish!


A baby yarrow plant.  Last year I grew both red and yellow yarrow.


English lavender - oh, the fragrance!!

 Another vignette using a painted chair seat from Michigan.  I also adore the big crocks and the little clay frog house.  So cute!

 French lavender

 Opal basil

This is an old pineapple mint that is just starting to come back.  It usually has more varigated leaves, so I think I need to give it a little more sun.

Lemon balm.  It looks like I need to trim off some of those leaves, doesn't it?  There is some peppermint peeking out of the top right hand corner.

Thai basil - I love the purple flowers against the green leaves.

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