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Getting the Herb Garden Growing

My herb garden is coming along nicely this spring, even though one very prominent herb, rosemary, died from winter’s heavy snowfalls.

I cleaned up the garden in preparation for spring’s growth, pulling out the weeds, cleaning up dead leaves and branches, and turning the soil over. I then top-dressed the soil with a mix of manure (I prefer well-rotted mushroom) and organic topsoil.

The herbs have thanked me and sprung up in the last two weeks, particularly with the combination of sun and rain that they have been receiving. Adding the manure and topsoil has resulted in more vigorous growth. Sage, Woolly Lamb’s Ears, and Oregano responded quickly, growing tall with big leaves while herbs like lavender have grown robustly too but just need a little more sun.

Many herbs are on the cusp of blooming while others are already blooming. Sweet woodruff is blooming nicely, brightening up its bed against the fence with its pretty masses of white flowers. Catmint has also started blooming, with its purpley spike flowers while soapwort isn’t far behind.

Before long, the masses of pink flowers will make soapwort a show stopper in the herb garden. Another show stopper is red valerian with its large red blooms. Bergamot has large red flowers as well while my border of lavender will be a visual delight when it blooms in June.

There are many reasons to grow an herb garden and the visual effect is one reason why it’s so satisfying. My herb garden is a visual and sensual delight when everything is blooming in mid to late June.

The aromas of various herbs intermingle on the soft early summer air. Brushing one’s hand against a favorite herb, such as lemon thyme, brings another sensual pleasure of scent and touch.

Later on, when the herbs are ready to be harvested and added fresh to foods, is another delight not to be missed. Nothing compares to the taste of fresh herbs, and some herbs, like basil, are best used fresh.

Drying herbs for later use is also an enduring pleasure of the herb garden. Harvest herbs when the dew has dried or in the early evening to get the best results.