Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Garden musings...

I've been trying to get my garden compiled on paper, or at least in my head! Although I've saved seeds, I still have some varieties of flowers and vegetables. I also want to concentrate on drying and blending a wonderful and lovely-to-look at tea this year! I usually dry scads of various mints and combine them all together for winter use, as well as Wild Raspberry and Blackberry leaves, Lemon Balm, Bee Balm, Nettles and Dandelion. But I'd like to create a blend that's a little more elaborate for gift-giving too. I've been wracking my brain and revisiting herb books I haven't touched in a long time, and I created this chart above as a quick visual reference to help me along the way. (I need all the help I can get sometimes!)
I know it's not a complete compilation, but it's a starting point to remember to harvest and dry the many herbs and flowers that I do grow, and concoct a pleasing and tasty blend. I am not partial to strong-tasting herbal blends or spices in my tea, so I will go lightly on the more pungent flavors.
Have you any particular favorites when it comes to growing and blending your tea herbs? Is there a particular herb I've left out of a category that you simply must include in your blend?

As I was browsing the web this past week, I stumbled upon this link from Garden Betty on making your own seed tape. (i'm sorry, you'll have to copy and paste; it won't link) I'm curious to know if this is feasible, as I have never tried seed  tape before. Perhaps I'll at least give it a try... it just may cut down on the transplanting or thinning.

I am keeping cabin fever at bay fairly well and trying to be patient with winter. We got the sugar maples tapped yesterday, and I'm waiting on the sap flow to commence in the next few weeks. We had a few inches of snow last night, and may get another storm this weekend. The chickens, ducks, guineas and geese are probably suffering from cabin fever more than I am, as it has been bitter cold with the winds we've had, so I've kept them in the coop more than in other years. Word has it that there is either a mountain lion or a bobcat out back. It's tracks have been spotted throughout the woods, so it is best that the poultry are in anyhow.

I am hoping all is well in your corner of the world. I leave you with these few lines...

A warm and cheery fire roars merrily
And shadows dance about the darkened room. 
Beside the hearth a gardener sits and dreams
Of sunny days, of flowers in full bloom. 
Some hollyhocks should tower near the fence,
Bright red. ones that the bees can't help but find.
The trellis at the gate again must wear 
Blue morning glories, or the rosy kind. 
To lend a bit of distance to the scene,
Close to the rear I'll plant in shades of blue
The tall and stately larkspur, double ones­
Of course I'll put in scabiosa, too.
I couldn't do without a pansy bed­
Snapdragons make such beautiful bouquets­
Frilled zinnias and yellow marigolds 
Add just the proper touch to autumn days. 
The flowers grow and bloom with loveliness 
Until a sound destroys the fantasy­
A burning ember falls and I must leave 
My garden and my charming reverie. 


  1. You always bring a smile to me with your gorgeous posts and prose, Laura xxx I can't think of a thing to add to your list! This is my first year for sugarin'! So excited you do this activity too and am going back through your posts to look for pointers xoxoxoxo

    1. Dear Leslie, you are such a sweetheart! Thank you! I am so glad you are sugaring. You will not find many tips on here, I'm afraid. Last year, I hit it almost too late, but got enough syrup and an accidental batch of maple sugar, which was a lovely surprise. (soooo good in coffee!!) I hadn't done it since my kids were wee ones, so it was like starting anew. I just went to the fabric store yesterday with a 505 off coupon in my hand and purchased two yards of wool felt for straining though. I had so much sugar sand in one of my half-gallons last year, and I'm too cheap to buy the wool filters anywhere! Let me know how you make out. If all else fails, remember that you can drink the sap straight from the tree! Have you ever collected Birch sap? I've been wanting to give it a try...

  2. I am going to check my fabric store for wool felt today. I am straining through a jelly bag and getting sugar sand too, Laura/ Birch isn't a common tree in my area, unfortunately, as I would love to try it also! Our temperatures have plummeted even during the day, so our run is over.. but hope it comes back when it warms back up. Sure makes you think the price at the store is a real bargain when you do it yourself, and experience the work involved! Whew! big hugs xxxoooxx

  3. Leslie, You probably are aware of this, but I'll pass it along anyhow. Get some cheap cheesecloth too, and line the wool felt liners with the cheesecloth first to get out most of the sediment, then strain through the wool felt. The cheesecloth is inexpensive compared to the felt, and you'll get more for your buck!
    Wow... I thought white birch grew everywhere... I wasn't thinking!
    And yes, one will greatly appreciate the expense of maple syrup by trying it firsthand!! xox