Typical of spring, the garden is beginning to explode with blooms. I finally harvested what was left of the root vegetables -- a nice, big basketful. It's time for the nightshade family -- in my case, tomatoes, peppers -- and cucurbits. For me, once again, that means mostly cucumbers. I'm not even going to consider pumpkin and probably not even squash. In between the vegetables, I'll tuck some herbs and ornamentals. Can we ever have too many?
I could make room for a squash plant or two, and the same goes for beans, eggplant, and okra. I could even use pots if necessary. But small though my garden might be, that's not why I'm restricting the variety and quantity. I know my limitations and I am somewhat familiar with the plants' limitations. Our very hot, humid, buggy summers take a special kind of wherewithal. Sometimes I can hack it, sometimes I can't, and the same goes for garden vegetables.
I might be tempted by a seed catalogue, though, especially Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Have you seen their catalogue?
Wishing you all to be well and safe. Happy Gardening!
Left to right, top to bottom: lemon balm, culinary sage, rosemary, marjoram, mints, lavender
I love herbs. We also have oreganos, basils, and thymes -- several varieties of each -- around the garden. Most are still small. I'd pulled a great many because they were looking a bit old and worn. We also have tarragon, pineapple sage, and lemon verbena coming up from their roots.
Purslane, which is lovely in salads but not EVERYWHERE in the garden, is returning with a vengeance. I'm trying not to panic about it. If I thought that panicking would help, I'd go for it. But I don't think it will.
And sad to say, the cilantro's bolting became uncontrollable. I tried to keep it in check, but I finally had to give up. The weather was simply too warm for too long. I pulled it all and have some baby herbs, such as dill, in its place.
I didn't have any luck with parsley this past mild winter, even with soaking the seeds. I'll try again this spring, though. I'm also going to replant lemongrass if I can only figure out where it won't get in the way, and I can hardly wait for borage. That's such a gorgeous herb.
We use herbs a lot. I've already thought of several others we have growing, but I do realize that no one needs my list. But they're such lovely plants, adding fragrance, beauty (bolting cilantro aside), and usefulness to the garden. We add them to salads, cooked foods, and teas. It's convenient to have fresh herbs a few steps away, ready to snip as needed. They don't need much care, either. The Mediterranean herbs hardly even need water.
Whether your space is a large yard or a balcony or somewhere in between, they are worth the space and effort. I'll leave you with a shot of our sweet bay "shrub". It's only a few years old and the leaves are wonderful in gumbos, stews, and soups. They're not bad in hot tea, either.
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes. Even then, it’s often not necessary to engage.
As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.