Confession: I am obsessed with herbs.
Gripped. Infatuated. Besotted with herbs.
Last year we dug up a patch along the south side of my house and I started an herb garden, with flat slabs of limestone for edging and paths, and a handful of starts from my aunt and a few friends. Thyme. Sage. Rosemary. Chives.
This year I am somehow, miraculously, close to thirty varieties. Many are gifts from friends, some are pilfered from random parks and things, some are greenhouse finds… one a last-minute gift from a very sweet greenhouse owner at Pampas Creek in exchange for the promise to come back again.
What is it about herbs? They’re so full-bodied–good to smell, good to taste, good to touch. Low and fragrant, vibrant green.
I love the classics—peppermint, parsley, basil, oregano, Echinacea, bee balm.
Second year parsley
And I love branching out into a few crazies—barbecue oregano, wooly thyme, purple basil, Russian sage and—my newest newbie—stevia.
Everything is small, still, and learning to find its place in the world. Some varieties don’t do well. My dill looks like it thought “yellow and straggly” was hip this year, my rosemary didn’t survive the winter, and my cilantro went to seed too quickly… Oh, and I can’t grow herbs from seeds to save my life. “Starts only!” is my banner from here on out.
Dill. No really. I’m serious. This is my dill. I left the label in the ground beside it so I wouldn’t forget.
Basil–somebody tell me how to keep it from getting eaten!
Rosemary. This year’s version is in a pot so I can bring it inside before winter.
I want to learn more about using herbs, in cooking and teas and home remedies. Right now, I fiddle around with them, snipping cilantro into refried beans and using fresh parsley and thyme in my tomato sauces. Mostly I walk through the garden and touch and smell, and taste heaven.
I just gave my oregano a haircut and dried it in my dehydrator. That was fun.
In a jar, all ready to crumble and use.
What do you love about herbs? How do you use them around the house?