In honor of Halloween,
SPOILER ALERT: This is not a Halloween-themed post. Sorry, folks! I threw
caution thematic blogging to the winds and decided to post about herbs, especially now that we have had our first hard frost and people might be thinking about bringing delicate plants indoors (or mourning their brown-and-black outdoor plant life).
We have started cooking with fresh herbs and love it. I have totally joined the fresh herbs fanatics camp. It all started when I wanted to make homemade margherita pizza using fresh basil, which resulted in buying one of those wee organic basil plants so that I could have enough leaves to cover a pizza at a reasonable price. That was last October. Unbelievably, I have kept an inside plant alive for an entire year. A. Ma. Zing.
I loved landscaping back when we owned our own home (and yard!) and didn’t have HOA restrictions on the kind of plants you can put in your yard. “No, you are a Bradford pear yard, so you can’t plant a Japanese maple.” #Renterville This pretty much dampened any enthusiasm we had for improving the curb appeal of our current location…but not our enthusiasm for plants. Consequently, I’ve been restricted to containers. On a small deck. In full sun. In the South. Le sigh. Perhaps this, rather than the pizza, is what drove me to indoor plants despite not having the best track record with remembering to water them….
Anyway, given this surprising success with a lone basil plant, I decided to risk succulents. They don’t need much attention, right? I love succulents, and I like that their colors tend to coordinate nicely with all the fall/winter harvesty things like pumpkins, kale, etc. but also look crisp and cool in spring/summer. I was really hoping to put some in a set of three glass containers
my mom gave me I rescued from my mom’s giveaway box and make an entire succulent garden in an antique washbowl that Chris’s grandmother gave us was also giving away.
So in typical fashion, Chris and I headed to our local garden center/big box home improvement store (we prefer Blue but Orange has some good things, too) to look at the discounted/end of season plant selection. The previous year, we lucked out with some ridiculously cheap gerbera daises and other flowering plants that somehow survived dying in the winter to bloom again this spring/summer. No such luck this year, though. I joked that the succulents were actually “sucky-lents” (yes, Chris groaned, as I’m sure you are doing, too). The only ones that did not look pitiful were $$$ or mixed with cacti, which should not be part of a household with curious cats who like to rub on everything with texture. Trust me. Plucking cacti stickers from a cat’s face is not a happy experience for anyone involved. Lots of gnashing of teeth and bleeding.
We went home empty-handed and sulky. Okay, I went home sulky. I think Chris might have been silently cheering. Plants are not his thing. He says it’s because he’s allergic to grass. I think he’s “allergic” to plants in general, seeing as how he doesn’t seem to like eating many of them either. Iceberg lettuce, raw carrots, and canned peas and green beans = the vegetable group for most of his life. [Shudder]. Thankfully he’s expanded his horizons in the last seven years since we got married. Now he’s even eaten collards and fennel. Ah, the things
he does we do for love.
Then I saw this soup recipe in the Williams Sonoma catalogue that I wanted to try, now that colder weather is here. The recipe called for fresh herbs…so I decided to create an herb garden in the washbowl instead of pining for puny or pricey succulents that just “look pretty.” Chris heartily agreed to this idea, so we bought a rosemary plant and a parsley plant to join our beloved basil.
In the washbowl, I first laid a bed of river rock to facilitate drainage around the roots.
Then I topped the rocks with some potting mix (aka whatever was leftover in the garage…not sure this is typically what you’d typically use for herbs, but it was already purchased).
Then I planted and watered the herbs…and ta da: herb garden!
With regular misting, the herbs are flourishing and are making regular appearances in our meals.
In fact, dear Basil seems to be doing better than when he was a lone ranger. Is there such a thing as a social plant? Who knows. The herbs sit in the microscopic “breakfast area” where they can receive enough sun but not freeze with winter approaching.
PS: That soup recipe didn’t turn out so well (too expensive for the tastiness factor, which was lacking greatly IMO), but at least it was the catalyst for the herb garden and the subsequent tasty meals it has provided! 🙂