Herbs and more ... (lots of photos)

highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)June 10, 2009

This morning it was overcast, and the winds were calm for a moment, so I was able to get some pictures of the garden.

This first shot is WS sage, oregano, and parsley, plus French tarragon and garlic chives, which I received at last year's plant swap:

Here's a closeup of the sage (WS in '08), but the photo makes it look blue, when in real life it is more of a dark purple.

The lavender (WS in '08) getting ready to bloom

German chamomile (what part do you use for herbal tea? the leaves, or the flowers?)

Assorted Lettuces & Spinach

Pepper 'Buran' (sown indoors)

Wintersown tomato 'Isis Candy' (If you look real close, you can see a flower bud)

Penstemon pinifolius 'Compactum' with wintersown poppies

Wintersown Pansy 'Panola Sunburst'

Verbascum 'Southern Charm' (wintersown in '07)

Gaillardia 'Burgundy' (wintersown in '07)

There are buds on quite a few more things, so I'll have more pics soon ...


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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)


Your WS lavender looks way better then all of the lavender plants I bought this year:))

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:05PM
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Bonnie, I should have those plants in my yard too. They are gorgeous! Are they perennial to zone 5a? I want to have the plants in the first 3 pictures.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:11PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Thank you, Deb! The seeds for the lavender came from Dee. I'll bet she'll share with you, or if you want to wait until this fall, I'll save some seed for you.

Neil, everything in the herb bed is perennial to at least a zone 5, except the parsley, which is a biennial. It reseeds though, so hopefully it will come back on its own, next year, without me having to resow it.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:23PM
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Looks so nice, I like that you took a pic of the tiny pepper. So cute!


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:30PM
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Your verbascum is absolutely gorgeous!! You wouldn't happen to have any seeds of that to trade, would you?
p.s. I just use the flowers of german AND roman chamomile for tea.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:35PM
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Do you still have seeds of those? :D hehehe

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:44PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I'm afraid the Verbascum 'Southern Charm' is a sterile hybrid, so any seeds it produces would most likely not be viable. They only put about 10 tiny seeds in the pack, so I don't have any left. This year, I wintersowed Verbascum 'Copper Rose', which I got during T & M's 50% off sale last year. I'm hoping that one blooms before the summer's over.

Thanks Jaynine for the info on the chamomile! Do you add any other herbs to the tea?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 5:37PM
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There's that Penstemon again!! OMG I want that in my garden something badly LOL!

Love your Verbascum too. Please tell me it's not a invasive seed spreader like Common Mullein? I'll try it if its behaved!


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:06PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Vera, I thought I had set aside some seeds from that one for you last fall, but I can't locate them. I have a few seeds left for Penstemon pinifolius if you would like them. It is very similar to 'Compactum', except the height is more like 15" - 18", rather than 12", and it has a slightly looser growth habit. I promise I will save you some seeds for the 'Compactum' this fall, and email you through GW when they are ready!

The Verbascum 'Southern Charm' won't spread by seed, but the clumps are getting a little larger each year. It has a serious taproot on it. I moved one of them last year, and couldn't believe the size of the roots. I'm surprised I didn't killl it, because I accidently cut off part of the root, before I realized how deep that thing went.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Bonnie, what are the exact names I should be looking for in case I buy some seeds again? I really love the sage. Please let me know the complete names. :)


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 7:13PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Lovely pictures. Your herbs are just gorgeous and I love the flowers on the sage. That penstemon is gorgeous too. Looks like it would attract hummers?

Years ago I grew lots of Chamomile, and used just the flowers on the Chamomile for tea. They were quite tedious to harvest though! Occasionally I would put them in a nylon stocking tied off at the ends, soak it in a hot bath, and it was very relaxing.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 7:28PM
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Loved all of the photos!

I particularly loved the lavender and the verbascum - you have a great assortment of flowers - thanks


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:38PM
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I have never grown lavender and I have some WS plants about and inch and a half tall. Do you plant them as individual plants? I have been told they like lots of sun and a rather lean sandy soil. I have too much shade and get quite a lot of rain so I am not sure how to handle them. Would you suggest that I try a container and add sand. Right now they have been growing just like the other WS flowers.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:53PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Neil, the sage is Broadleaf Sage (salvia offinalis). I just realized there's actually a second sage in that first photo. The plant in the top left corner is Tricolor Sage, which I believe is cutting propagated only. The lavender seed came from a GW trade, and she wasn't sure if it was Hidcote or Munstead. I'll be saving seeds from it in the fall, so let me know if you want me to set some aside for you. I'll try not to lose them, like I did Vera's! Oh, and the oregano is Greek oregano (origanum vulgare). There are a couple more herbs in that bed that aren't in that photo, that go well with the sage and lavender, chives, which have purple blooms, and thyme, which has very pale purple almost white blooms.

This isn't the best photo, because the sun was out, but from front to back its - chives, lavender (before it had buds on it), thyme, and then the sage.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 9:26PM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

Those are so lovely and healthy. I have started several herbs this year and some are faster than others.
My german chamomile will be blooming soon I'll have to try that bath soak trick.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 9:17AM
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Thanks Bonnie. Please keep me seeds.

I have a question about herbs since I have never tried them. Do they come back every year like perennials?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:29PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Neil, all of the ones in my herb bed are perennial, but there are several of herbs that are annuals. I grow all of my annual herbs in pots, because my bed space is so limited.

I'm in the same zone as you, and here are the ones that are perennial in zone 5 (this is off the top of my head, so I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting)

Bronze Fennel
French Tarragon
Garlic Chives
Lemon Balm (can be invasive, I grow this one in a pot)
Mint (this one is also invasive, best to grow in a pot)
Winter Savory

Annual herbs:
Summer Savory

... and then there is parsley, which is a biennial.

I absolutely love having fresh herbs in the summer. It's so nice to just walk out and snip a few sprigs of whatever you feel like flavoring your meal with. Plus, they charge a fortune for fresh herbs at the grocery store, and they wintersow really well.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:49PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Apparently, many herbs are native to the Mediterranean region, where the soil is fairly lean and well-drained. They won't tolerate soggy conditions over the winter. No wonder they do so well in Bonnie's garden!

For me, oregano, fennel, chives, and thyme are perennial. Coriander, dill, and catnip reseed abundantly. Basil and parsley are easy to WS each year. Sage, rosemary, and lavender haven't made it over the winter, but not sure why.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:49PM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

Bonnie -

Whatever herbs can be seed propagated (except mint), will you please save some seeds for me?

I bought some WONDERFUL cuban oreganos that I'll root cuttings of. Not specific on your list, I also have slow bolt cilantro, Black cumin, regular cumin, Black Sesame (is this really Nigella??), Greek oregano, Texas tarragon, about 10 different basils - some more decorative then culinary.

Happy Gardening -


    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:42PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

What a lovely herb garden you have. For the chamomile tea, you use the flowers. I am trying this for the first time this year because chamomile tea is one of my DH's favourites. Be careful with the oreganos though and do not ever let them got to seed. I made that mistake at least six years ago and have been paying for it ever since. They re-seed all over the place, especially in your lawn!! I have never had to sow it since.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 4:06AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Deb, I'll definitely be saving seeds from everything, and I'll probably start a seed swap thread on the RMG forum in the fall, like I have done the past couple of years, so that we can share with one another. You listed a few things there that I'm not familiar with, and will need to look them up.

Northerner, thanks for the tip on the oregano reseeding. My herb bed is right next to my neighbor's weed infested yard, so maybe some oregano in their lawn would be an improvement, LOL!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:35AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

The sage, the Penstemon, the Pansy....wow! That sage is gorgeous!!!!
Ditto what Northerner said on the Oregano. I was going to ask you how do you keep yours under control...It takes up a whole bed in my yard and dukes it out with the Spearmint. In order to keep it under control, I either have to whack it all back, dig up alot, or (this year) I started making mint jelly and Oregano pesto. But it seems the Oregano doesn't have as deep a flavor as I'd like...wondering if I need another plant to let the bees kind of mix and match it.

That's good to know about the Chamomile. I was wondering the same thing. I WSed Roman Chamomile this year, which is supposed to be perennial and have higher concentration of whatever it is that makes Chamomile good.


Did I see St. Johns Wort in that first picture?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 12:00PM
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Can I ask a favor? Can you help me label this please? Thanks.

My guess for A is the Salvia Officionalis.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 11:50PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Sure, here they are:

A - Sage (Salvia officinalis) - I will save seeds of this one for you

B - Oregano (Origanum vulgare) - I can save seeds from this one also if you'd like

C - Tricolor Sage - I believe this is cutting propagated

D - French Tarragon - this one is definitely cutting propagated. It's also much taller than the other herbs in this bed, probably 3' - 3 1/2'.

Hope that helps some,

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 1:00AM
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Awesome! And yes, please save seeds for me of those mentioned above! :D

Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:35AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

How did you draw on that picture?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 7:13AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I have one tri-color sage which has survived two winters in my garden. All the other tri-color sages have not survived winter. Guess that one is a toughy. Think I will take some cuttings and see if I can get them to survive as well.

My spearmint did not come back this spring and peppermint did not come back last year. Seems like the easy plants for others are often ones that disappear for me.

Bonnie, love your herb garden.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:54AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Thanks mnwsgal! I feel the same way. The things I have the most trouble with are the invasives, like mints, lemon balm, and easy things like sunflowers. But on the other hand, some things listed as short lived perennials, are on their third year for me. I've even had annual dianthus come back for a second or third year. Go figure!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 1:24PM
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