Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Bartell Desmond once said, "An herb is a weed you can eat", and regrettably, I'm not that smart to know what is growing mixed with my yard grass, but our lawn service tells me it's weeds. Sadly, the way society makes it sound, weeds are a no no and a majority of us have hired someone or took upon ourselves a means to eradicate any possible weed from our little piece of earth because a manicured yard is what we all strive to have and/or be the envy of having. Yet, in the same breath we scream, "save the bees!" Well, I'm not one to preach to someone the rights and wrongs of their ways, but I am happy to share ours :)
Yes, we have one of those manicured yards like a majority of our neighbors. But considering I don't know about wild growing weeds/herbs and their value, if any, I am also one that loves to grow herbs throughout our gardens and in pots on our deck. Have you ever just walked up to a potted herb or one growing in the ground and just grab a bunch in your hand and run your hand through it then SMELL your hand? Oh my gosh I'm the worst! If I see herbs all beit at Home Depot, a store, or a nursery, I am grabbing at it, sniffing it, and yelling for Bill to sniff my hand! Poor guy... I am such an aromatherapy kind of person and am big or sniffing just about everything so yes, I get very excited about herbs. And if there's anything you need to know about me, my weakness is lavender...and Bill has learned to suffer through my many weaknesses... I have lavender planted in the yard in several areas and also in pots on our deck. When the blossoms open, one of us is out there snipping the stalks so I can dry it and collect the little buds. I have a couple of loose lidded jars that I keep the buds in and I love to open them, stir my finger in them and just smell the mesmerizing aroma. A-May-Za-Zing! I have to tell you a quick story. About a month or so ago, I went with my daughter and her future mother in-law to a wedding cake testing that happened to be in a rural area. The sweet young baker had this wonderful ranch style home sitting on what looked to be a few acres. She has a legitimate cake business and her big selling/advertising pitch is 'everything is made from scratch'. Like SCRATCH SCRATCH. As she was describing her cakes and icing, my daughter noticed the chickens in her yard all fenced in and I took notice of the flower and separate vegetable gardens. We began our taste testing and I am NOT GOING TO LIE...I have never tasted mint the way her soft natural mint icing tasted or strawberries as sweet and delicate, but the lavender cake...mother of pearl... She explained how she grew all her herbs and fruits right there and how she has a degree in horticulture and when she and her husband were looking for a house, they found this one with an oversize mud room (ginormous) that they converted to a baking kitchen for her business. The only thing she doesn't use are the eggs from her chickens because they're not certified so she gets them from a certified organic farm. As we were walking out to our car, we finally took notice of her front walkway-guess I was too excited to eat cake that I didn't notice it walking in. This is where she was growing a lot of her herbs! And there I was running my hand through everything including the chives (like the picture above) and pulling one off to eat! Can't take me anywhere! Even something so "bad" for you, like cake, can be made with herbs and can offer a heavenly surprise! Oh, and yes, my daughter chose her to make her wedding cakes :)
Of course, another very important reason we love to grow herbs is of course, the bees. Having all these blooms around the house helps us with the vegetable garden! Last year we had a big "coming to Jesus" meeting with our bartlett pear tree and zucchini plants. Our zucchini plants weren't producing any zucchinis, but yet we were getting blooms. I did a little investigating and found that we literally only had male blooms (??) I didn't even know that was a real thing! And our bartlett pear tree got a few blooms last year (first time in 4 years) but no fruit came about. So Bill loudly threatened (yes, out loud, to the tree) that he was going to cut it down and make it firewood if it didn't give us fruit next year! So I made sure to put flowering herbs all around it in my pots and guess what...WE GOT FRUIT THIS YEAR! We have been so excited! We had a bunch of blooms and they all turned into beautiful pears...and then...yesterday Bill was mowing the grass and comes charging up the deck stairs to the kitchen door, looks at me with this LOOK and takes his finger and sternly gives me the "come here motion" with it. I hesitantly follow him down the deck stairs staying a good 16 steps behind and then he stops-I immediately stop as well-didn't want to get to close, not sure what was about to happen. He says, "look...". And I look, but was a bit confused. I see leaves on the ground. I looked at him a little flustered and said, "what?", but as soon as I said 'what', I noticed something else...a pear... on the ground...and another pear...twenty two to be exact...evidently one of the many mischievous raccoons in the area had climbed the tree and decided to play a game of earthquake with the tree!!! Retaliation for bringing in the bird food at night...
Fortunately, I got this picture of the pears before our late night visitor got ahold of most of them. On a happier note, the bees have been all over my herbs and we have zucchinis! And cucumbers and tomatoes. The bees have done well and the herbs have saved a tree! I will try to list recipes (added a new button to my homepage for recipes) of dishes I make with the herbs we grow. This year we're growing sage, rosemary, lemon balm, mint (for tea), chamomile for tea (picture with the angel figure above), thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, chives, and of course lavender :)
Have a beautiful and relaxing weekend and when you get the chance, run your hand through some fresh herbs and think of me!