A Good Home, Basil, Cilantro, Cooking, Dill, French Tarragon, Gardening, Gardens, Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Herb Gardens, Parsley

Herbs …. Ho Hum

My blog has received its first complaint.

Seems I’ve produced fine stories about fine people and fine flowers.

My crime  is that I’ve completely ignored the fine herbs and vegetables growing in my husband’s gardens.

Blog Photo - Apple Mint

Like the fragrant apple mint, which we use to flavour drinking water and in delicious mint jelly too. We also chop it up and mix with fresh blueberries and sliced mangoes, for dessert.

But I digress.

Husband is complaining. Reminding me that: “You can’t eat flowers. At least, not most of them!”

Blog Photo - Mint CU

And along comes Vito, for reinforcement.

Yes, the vintner-gardener-historian of our neighborhood who turns up repeatedly in A Good Home, turned up at our garden gate this morning. That same Vito who believes only vegetables and herbs — and wine grapes — have a right to exist in a garden.

Blog Photo - Vito amid the flowers

As if my husband needed any reinforcement….

But I digress.

Since one does not wish to upset the finest cook ( some may say the only cook) in this household, I’ve decided to make amends.

Blog Photo - Herb Bed and Bird Bath

We’ll come back to the vegetables one day soon.  For now,  I hope you enjoy these photos of the herbs which my husband tends more faithfully than the flowers in our garden.

I cannot say they are the most interesting photos I ever saw. Take this parsley.

Blog Photo - Herb garden - parsley

And this French Tarragon. For a plain-looking herb — exemplifies uber-exuberance. N’est-ce pas?

Blog Photo - Herb Garden Tarragon

Not that I’m complaining. Herbs taste very good in the dishes my husband makes. Basil, for example, goes well with tomato dishes.

Blog Photo - Herb Garden Basil

Some herbs grew from last year’s seeds. We got lots of re-seeded dill, which goes well with fish, especially salmon. Cilantro, below, is great in salads. And goes well with avocado, shrimp dishes, etc.

Blog Photo - Herb Garden cilantro

But I digress.

My issue: Herbs tend to have small flowers, and most of them are white.  Why aren’t some red or blue or yellow? This onion flower would look great in red.

Blog Photo - Herb garden Onion Blossom

Not that I’m complaining.

Blog Photo - Herb Garden Chives

Chives, above, go well with omelettes and scrambled eggs.

And did you know you can eat garlic scapes? Great in a vegetable stir-fry.

Blog Photo - Herb Garden Garlic Scape

And did I say that garlic is easy to grow? If you let the scapes go to seed, then drop the seeds in a small part of your garden, and lightly cover with soil, you’ll have garlic next year.

Not that I know anything about such stuff, of course.

I’m a flower garden person.


 Photos by Hamlin Grange





61 thoughts on “Herbs …. Ho Hum”

  1. If you look closely at my avatar you will see that parsley shares the vase with the rose. Herbs and flowers have equal status in my garden. 😀

      1. I grow more herbs than I can possibly eat! But the main purpose of them is to let them flower and provide happiness for the bees!

      2. Gallivanta: Can you please read Chase and Chance’s Mom’s comment and see if you can figure out why dill plants won’t grow in her garden soil?

      3. Mmmmm….well, I used to grow dill but it always seemed to be an excuse for the aphids to come and party so I gave up on it. Also I think the dill needed more sunshine than I was able to arrange. My aunt’s dill is always healthy and strong; lots of sunshine and free draining soil. In general, I find that my herbs thrive on benign neglect.

  2. Love your pictures of the herb gardens!! I would love to grow my own dill but never have much luck except for a small batch in a pot in the house! You have done justice to the herbs with this post 🙂

    1. I’m wondering why your dill grows in a pot but doesn’t grow outside. Ours seeds everywhere, including the poorest soil. What kind of soil do you have, may I ask?

      1. Our soil is mainly clay. I have tried it in my vegetable garden and my berry garden but it always turns yellow and fizzles out. I think I am missing a nutrient it must need as I use Miracle Grow potting soil for gardens in my pot and it grows good. Then I will put it in the garden in a hole filled with the potting soil it grew it and it will not thrive and grow like the basil does.

      2. Yikes. Maybe you are to dill what I am to roses – we are genetically predisposed to kill them.
        Because it seems to me that you’re doing the right things.

  3. Shame on you, Cynthia for holding this back. Now you’ve been scolded twice. Lol. Lovely post. It’s true, they aren’t as pretty as your flowers, but you adorn the table with your beautiful flowers and enjoy with the wonderful food and drink prepared with the herbs. Thanks!!😀

  4. Very timely column, Cynthia! A client of my husband’s has a particularly difficult area he wants planted with something that will prevent weeds from growing and suggested mint. I was astounded someone would want to plant such an invasive plant, but now having heard about Hamlin’s choices of different varieties, I’m thinking that might satisfy not only the client but my outraged sense of wrongness of planting mint over flowers!!!

    1. Gail: I love your “outraged sense of wrongness of planting mint over flowers!!!”
      I understand completely… of course!
      We’ve had several varieties of mint: orange mint, pineapple mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, black mint — you name it — and our favorite still is apple mint.

      It does spread after some years – best to plant it in the ground in a large thick plastic pot. Ours just rambles – but it’s apple and mint jelly-making time this fall, so we let it go.

  5. I’m with ya, I’ll take the flowers anyday. But…if I had a husband who was an excellent cook, I am sure I would humor him (as you have) and do a great big post on herbs and the like. I grow basil and tomatoes every year — they haven’t fared well yet, but my roses, well, let’s just say they might get a little more TLC.

  6. What a lovely post. Beautiful pictures of the aromatic herbs. Looks like you are a green-thumbed couple! Could do with some of the fresh herbs for my cooking. Delightful read. 🙂

  7. Your husband’s name isn’t Herb by any chance? (Maybe his middle name?) (Sorry, couldn’t resist!!!) I love flowers, too, but fresh herbs in your cooking is such a tasty thang! PS, I’ll take your advice and see what happens with a few of our garlic flowers. I cut the scapes off most & I’m leaving the others for their blooms. We can always use more garlic. (Oops, I think the squirrel typed that last sentence.)

    1. No, his middle name isn’t Herb, but what a funny thought! Haha!!!
      Garlic really is easy to grow – in the various kinds of soil we have here. If I were more agile, I’d separate and space out the young plants, as this makes the bulb bigger.
      Do squirrels really eat garlic? Mostly, they eat our apples and tulip buds around here.

      1. Who knew?! Never occurred to me either until I caught them eating the heads off our chives, digging up garlic bulbs and devouring young onions. Apparently they love the allium family. At least NY squirrels do! 😉 Sigh.

  8. Good post! Always best to keep in with husbands and cooks! Apple mint is my favourite mint too. We have a lovely variegated form which is so soft to touch.

  9. In my view, farmers’ markets are for edibles, gardens are for flowers. I do make an exception for herbs and tomatoes because freshness is so key to quality. However, one must recognize the views of one’s spouse in order to maintain a happy home.

    1. Good point. We used to grow lots of comfrey when we had the bigger garden. I’ll mention to the complainant. Thank you kindly.

      Why did you stop supplying the local fresh produce market?

  10. We have Apple mint too, and chives, but ours are small with round purple flower. Maybe it’s too cold for them in your winters. Lots of parsley grows in our garden, too. Usually, whether I want it to or not. If your husband complains again shoe him some nasturshams 🙂 no idea if that’s the right spelling by the way. I have to say I am slightly with your hub and Vito on this one, in that veggies are a must for me but so are flowers.



    1. Hi MT:
      Isn’t Apple Mint lovely?
      We have both kinds of chives – the ones that bloom white and the ones that bloom that light lavender colour. One’s a regular chive, and the other is a garlic chive, and I forget which one blooms which colour.

      I keep threatening to feed the complainant some nasturtiums (I like your spelling better) whenever he says “You can’t eat flowers!”. Maybe next year I’ll grow some, for the pleasure of putting them in our salads.

  11. I am totally in awe of your Husband’s herb garden growing skills! The herbs look so lush, so green so magnificent in their health and abundance. The food you eat must be so amazing being so flavoured and fragranced by the addition of these fabulous herbs.
    I too am a great herb enthusiast and grow many kinds. The best addition to my garden plan this year was create a herb and salad bed which is right outside the kitchen door. It is quite formal in design but with a wild and decadent air! I have used Parsley and chives as edging. I feel positively smug when it only takes me seconds to pick the herbs I need for supper!
    If we were closer can you imagine what fun we would have swopping plants?! Do you grow Sorrel, or Salad Burnett? Or make herb butters?
    How exciting this whole day has suddenly become, just by reading your post!
    Incidentally….your whole garden is STUNNING!

  12. Hey Karen:
    Your herb garden sounds wonderful. And I know how much you appreciate having fresh herbs to use, because you’re a great cook.
    We grow sorrel indeed. Got some from our friends. They’re doing very well. Husband makes herb-flavoured oils every summer and fall. It all tastes very good. I must say, I am glad to hear from someone who gets happy about herbs. I love to eat them but am delinquent at planting or taking care of them.
    Thanks for liking our garden, Karen.

  13. You certainly have a lovely herb garden with masses of herbs – how wonderful for cooking. I add mint to salads all summer long. Because of deer browsing my flowering perennials, I’ve started planting herbs in my flower beds (the deer don’t eat them). Some are very decorative, like Clary Sage and Thyme.

    1. Those naughty deer!

      I love the fragrance of mint and thyme.

      The truth is that I appreciate my husband’s herb garden every bit as he does, but I don’t take photos because I have no idea how to make photos without flowers interesting. Heck, I barely know how to make flower photos interesting…..(wink, smile)

      Thanks for your comment, and wishing you a herbalicious day!

    1. I think the slugs are so busy with other stuff in our garden that they haven’t reached the Basil yet. (smile)
      My husband says what works for him is full sun, not too rich soil and don’t crowd it – Basil likes lots of room by itself. And deadhead regularly.
      But not sure what to do about the slugs.

  14. I wish my apple mint looked like that, I think I need to move the pot somewhere sunnier.

    As for not eating flowers… you need to try a nasturtium flower stuffed with cream cheese and chillies- yum! And you can’t drink a Pimm’s and lemonade without some borage in it (this one might be lost on you if you’re not English….). My herb garden has lots of flowers in it.

  15. Lovely healthy herbs and some lovely ideas for using them. I get them, I see the point, but do they make my heart beat faster ? Sadly no… I’m a flower geek I’m afraid ! 🙂

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