Dirt Therapy

Lavender fields in Provence, France

Dirt Therapy: tending to my flower and herb gardens.

This time of year is always tough. I want fresh-cut flowers throughout the house and to cook with herbs from my kitchen garden or to pick a ripe pepper direct from the vine. I muddle through the first few dreary months of the year by planning our gardens and planting seeds- sometimes way too early. Come March, seedlings are busting out of the windowsill containers before the snow has even melted- but that's OK. It serves a much higher purpose of much needed dirt therapy. So.... what to plant?

Every year, I come back to the same flowers: zinnias, phlox, roses, but my favorites are a no-brainer: Snapdragons. They are hearty and grow very well in our back yard. In fact, I was cutting snapdragons well into November this year. We had vases full of fresh-cut flowers up until Thanksgiving. That was special.

Herbs, however, are another story. I love all sorts of herbs and experiment from year to year. Some grow. Some don't. But sage, coriander, basil and thyme are always in the mix. My favorites are rosemary and lavender, but if forced to pick a top dog, rosemary wins out primarily because I know how to cook with it. This summer, I resolve to find a few culinary uses for lavender. I have no doubt Andy Verhage will help concoct a clever lavender risotto or lavender-lemon bread. Hurry summer! Get here...


Coincidentally, a few days after writing this entry, I came across a yummy recipe:
 Lavender-Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce...
now all we'll need is some of Brian Jones's homemade vanilla icecream!


We were harvesting vases full of beautiful snapdragons until the week of Thanksgiving, 2009, which meant we only had to go five months without fresh cut flowers from the garden. Up until last month, things were growing beautifully until the rabbits made quick work of anything with a flower or green leaf. Booo... oh well, they left most of the herbs alone. The roses have been doing exceptionally well this summer too. So, no complaints. We just miss the snazzy pops of color that the zinnias, phlox and snapdragons lend to the tables and windowsills. Beanie misses nibbling the leaves, no doubt! It's partially my own fault too. I've been rather uncommitted to gardening this year as we are in the process of landscaping the front and sides of the house. I haven't wanted to establish a permanent flower or herb garden until we have the anchor plants and perennials in place. With that said, I'll gaze at a photo of fabulous flowers that 'might have been' and look forward to serious gardening next summer. (June, 2010)

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