I had to laugh at myself. There are so many things to do in our little garden right now, I hardly know which way to turn when I’m out there. Being out for the count of five months –FIVE MONTHS! – not only put me behind. It gave me a new perspective and appreciation for my garden. And I think I might call it “my garden” for a while. In the face of what was becoming an overwhelming mess, Joseph actually suggested taking out the vegetable beds. Gasp!
I’m back, now, and he’s pleased to be harvesting cucumbers and mehti this week. Humph!
Back to my folly… Every year, I have an issue with purslane. It’s a superfood – did you know? And we love it in salads, especially fattoush. Problem is, it’s invasive. I believe I’ve mentioned before that it will grow on your head if you stand outside long enough. And to those who don’t know, it looks weedy. So, this past weekend, when I surveyed its rampant growth around our – my – tomato plants, I decided to pull it in favor of neatness.
In case you're wondering, I don’t mulch. On a rare occasion, I might top sections with good, organic compost. But I won't cover my beds with commercial mulch. Can’t stand the stuff. And, in this case -- to be perfectly clear -- it would lose to the purslane.
That being the case -- the case of no commercial mulch -- it became obvious that I was baring the soil to who knows what noxious weed seeds. So, I stopped pulling what was essentially green, edible groundcover.
Phew! I just hope it grows back!
Gardens are fun in that there are always challenges and choices. With small gardens, especially my tiny one where everything is on display, we have to be mindful of aesthetics. For example, wildlife gardens can be messy – the messier the better, in fact. And vegetable and cutting gardens can also look ragged at times – even the best of times.
Our HOA would assuredly object if I allowed a prolonged mess since my garden can be viewed from the golf course. But I wouldn’t want that, anyway. My vision for this particular garden is flowering borders with vegetables and herbs growing neatly down the middle in raised beds.
Well, as neatly as possible. 😉
Tagetes Lucida, Mexican Mint Marigold, Mexican Tarragon, Yerba Anise...
We call it Texas Tarragon.
I absolutely love this herb. It's wonderfully hardy in its native regions -- the American Southwest, Mexico, and Central and South America. In our area of Texas, it usually dies to the ground after the first freeze and returns bigger and better each spring.
It's heat and humidity-tolerant, disease-resistant, and takes well to division. It's beautiful in the garden, adding color and fragrance with its bright yellow flowers and aromatic, deep green foliage. Pollinators love it. In case you are considering it for your garden, at its most robust it can probably reach two feet in height and at least as wide. But I would think, under average conditions, it gets 15" to 20".
It's also a lovely, elegant culinary herb. Like French tarragon, it has a mild, anise or licorice flavor. Even so, despite its common name, it's not related to French tarragon. In fact, there are some important differences. Texas Tarragon is a lot hardier and much easier to grow than French tarragon and sports bright, yellow flowers for much of its long growing season. However, it loses its flavor when exposed to too much heat and is tasteless when dried. French tarragon, on the other hand, holds its flavor well in cooking and is excellent dried. But it's a tender plant, requiring strict growing conditions.
Whichever you can grown, there are lots of recipes out there for both French and Texas tarragon. So far, I've mostly used it with fish, which is delicious. I've been reading up, though, and have a mind to try it in other recipes this summer.
If you have the space, even if you live in a slightly cooler climate, you might find tagetes lucida worth a try.
For years, my husband and I worked at creating a series of gardens on our four-acre lot in a rural, Texas subdivision west of Houston. I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. Now, I have a pocket garden on a golf course.
From me to you with a smile.
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