Spot of Gardening

Gardening in South Louisiana

My New Back Porch – Phase I Complete

Phase I of my new back porch is finished!  Phase II will have to be put on hold for a while due to the intense summer heat but I love what I have.  I’ve planted two hardy kiwi plants (hopefully 1 male & 1 female) and a Baronne Provost climbing rose to climb up the lattice on the side of the porch with some nice Vietnamese Perilla and a Stevia plant in the planter The Sushiman made for me.

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June 22, 2010 Posted by | Family & Friends, Fruits and Vegetables, Herbs | Leave a comment

Cilantro Flowers to Coriander Seeds

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a funny plant.   The plant itself is called cilantro but it’s seeds are called coriander.  This annual herb grows best in cool spring weather around 50s and 60s.   When temps reach the 70s, cilantro tends to start to go to seed.   I love to use the leaves for cooking and garnishing.  Lately, I have been using fresh coriander seeds as a garnish for various dishes.  The seeds have a fresh herby taste vs. the nutty taste of dried coriander.  Many trendy gourmet restaurants have added fresh coriander seeds to their dishes as a garnish, also.   It’s a bit tedious to pick out the seeds one by one but worthwhile for the final dish.  The flowers are also edible.

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Flowers, Herbs | Leave a comment

Mighty Mints

Once upon a time in a land called the Kitchen Garden, three small Spearmint plants moved into a  3′ x 4′ plot.  There was plenty of land for everyone and they grew up happily.  The owner of the land was told by everyone to plant them in pots so the Spearmints would not take over the entire garden but the Spearmints seemed harmless and there seemed to be enough land for everyone.   As time went by, the Spearmints filled up their plot of land and began to move entire families into the neighboring plots of land.  They seemed intent on conquering the entire Kitchen Garden!  The owner objected to this and began to evict them from the neighboring plots of land but was kind enough to find new homes for them.   And away the young families of the Spearmints went to their new homes.  Meanwhile, new families of the Spearmints continued to try to expand but the owner continues to insist that the Spearmints remain within their boundaries.  Lately, the owner have found a Chocolate Mint and an Apple Mint who wanted to move in.  Having learned her lesson, the owner has graciously allowed them to move into two beautiful condo apartments, i.e. the hanging pots.

The Spearmints (2) Chocolate Mint (2) Apple Mint (2)

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Herbs | , , , | 3 Comments

Search for the Culinary Sages

The culinary sage is another essential herb for the kitchen/herb garden.  Would your Thanksgiving turkey or stuffing be the same without this quaint herb?  Many would say nay.  I have grown the common sage (Salvia officinalis) every year from seed.  It is quite easy to grow in the ground or in containers.   The silver leaves make a nice border or accent plant in the flower garden, also.  But, my search for sages continues on….

While wandering through a local nursery, I found two new sages – Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) and Honeydew Melon Sage (Salvia elegans ‘Honey Melon’). I’ve read about the Pineapple Sage in other people’s garden blogs but have never heard of the Honeydew Melon Sage.   Needless to say, I snatched both of them up, along with an Apple Mint that I have been lusting for since my sister bought one last year.  The cutting she gave me never rooted and was a lost cause.

Honeydew Melon Sage will start to flower in May while the Pineapple Sage will begin in the fall.  They are both great hummingbird attractors.   Their leaves and flowers are edible and can be used in herbal teas, too.    The fragrance of these plants are amazing and the fuzzy leaves are fun to rub between your fingers.   I’ve planted both sages next to the Confederate Jessamine by the  swinging chair so I can swing and enjoy the mingled scent of jasmine, pineapple and honeydew – – tropical delight.

Honeydew Melon Sage:

Pineapple Sage:

April 24, 2010 Posted by | Herbs | 2 Comments

Thyme for Me

In every kitchen garden, there should be an herb garden.  In the herb garden, there are several herbs that should be included.  One of them is thyme.  I love thyme as a herb in the garden and in the kitchen.   There are over a 100 varieties of thyme and they are difficult to differentiate.  The most common are the Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and Lemon Thyme (T. citriodorus), which most people are familiar with.   Thyme is actually a member of the mint family and is a perennial evergreen shrub(in my case, it has been more of an annual) and like many herbs native to the Mediterranean.

Thyme doesn’t do so well here in the Deep South due to the humidity and the heat.  Last year’s thyme didn’t survive the drought of June in the ground even though I watered them faithfully.  This year, I will plant them in pots which will allow them a better surviving chance.  I picked up a coconut thyme, a variegated lemon thyme and a silver lemon thyme at the LSU Garden show.   I’ve seen some interesting creeping thyme available at the nurseries, also.

The coconut thyme ( T.  pulegioides coccineus) is often sold as an ornamental or groundcover online (I googled it since I’ve never seen a coconut thyme before).  I’m not sure why it’s called a coconut thyme because it doesn’t smell like coconuts at all.  It tasted fine but I’m wondering if it is really edible?

The lemon thyme is a favorite of mine and it’s definitely edible.  The silver lemon thyme (T. citriodorus ‘Argenteus’) is a usual guest in my herb garden but the variegated lemon thyme (T. citriodorus variegata) will make an interesting decorative statement when used as an herb in various dishes.  Upon a closer look, the silver lemon thyme doesn’t seem to have any silver edging so it may be just a plain ol’ lemon thyme (T. citriodorus). I’m still considering picking up an English/French thyme (Thymus vulgaris) but this variety doesn’t seem as hardy here in the Deep South (or maybe it’s me?).

April 18, 2010 Posted by | Herbs | 2 Comments

Memorial Weekend Plant Spree

This past Memorial Weekend was marked by a family outing to several plant nurseries in town.  I wasn’t planning to actually purchase anything but the temptation was too much and my designated purchasers were of no help.  (In fact, my sis, who had no garden, ended purchasing an apple mint and some habanero, serrano and tabasco pepper plants for a container garden at her mid-town townhome.  LOL)  My parents went to town and purchased several plants also.  I ended up with a habanero pepper plant,  an okra plant (gift from mom), 2 geraniums for the pink heart flower bed, 2 different hydrangeas (from my sweetie, The Sushiman), a whole tray of 4″  mixed bedding flower plants, mostly begonias and a cutting of my sis’s apple mint.

I planted the bedding flowers around the front sides of my heart flower bed in the front yard.  I added some white flowered begonias to contrast with all the pink and finished off one side with some hot pink moss roses.  It’s starting to look pretty nice.  I still have the back facing the house to finish planting but I’m holding off a little bit there.  My goal is to have a different view from every angle yet still be cohesive or at least be color coordinated.  🙂

Here’s some pics of my heart flower bed currently:

The daffodil leaves are starting to look scraggly but I’ll leave them to continue building up the bulbs underneath for next year’s return hopefully.  Looking at the flowerbed, I’m always tempted to keep adding more plants until it looks fuller but I’m trying to keep in mind the final size of each plant and leave it space to grow.  The big pink geranium in the corner was actually only 3″ wide last year when I planted it and now it’s at least 1′ wide.  It’s the instant garden mentally so pervasive everywhere nowadays but patience is a virtue.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Family & Friends, Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables, Herbs | Leave a comment