Anise hyssop or Agastache is a pollinator magnet.
This week, June 21-27, is Pollinator Week. Pollinator Week is an annual event celebrated internationally to support pollinator health. It is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what can be done to protect them. Here in the United States, people are often told to plant native plants to support pollinators. While that is not bad advice, I have noticed that the culinary herbs I grow in my Virginia garden, the majority of which are not native to this country, let alone Virginia, attract bees, butterflies, and moths. Continue reading
New to the area? Want to know where to purchase plants, fertilizer, soil, and seeds? Here is a list of garden centers and nurseries in the DC metro area. If I have missed one, please let me know. Continue reading
Cilantro in early spring
I love cilantro and I plant it every year. It is easy to grow from seed although one can find small plants at local nurseries. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a member of the carrot family. Because of its tap root, it is best to sow seeds directly in the garden bed or in a container. Often called Chinese parsley, the leaves do look like parsley but if you rub the foliage you will smell a citrusy/woodsy scent.
By now I am sure you have heard that there is a great increase in the number of people gardening. People are turning to nature because they have more time, they are interested in growing their own food, and/or they would like to beautify their immediate surroundings. Many people find that plants, nature, and gardens help to ease anxiety and stress. Others are getting involved in gardening to help the environment by planting to support pollinators and fight climate change. Whatever the reason, I hope this increase in gardening continues as the pandemic wanes. Personally, I believe that if the new gardeners join a local gardening club, they may be more inclined to continue to garden. By joining, they can learn more about plants, feel more confident as they continue to garden, make new friends who have similar interest and may possibly serve as gardening mentors, and get more involved in the local gardening world. Continue reading
Newcomers to this area will eventually see deer standing on the roadside or venturing out of the woods at dusk. At first, they admire the lovely bucolic sight, gentle deer, twitching their tails, flicking their ears back and forth. But as the newcomers settle down and try their hand at gardening, they learn that the deer are not as cute as they once thought. Continue reading
Summer is here and by now your Victory garden is planted. Dreams of fresh red tomatoes and lush green cucumbers are dancing in your head. But wait, what are those green caterpillars? What are those brown spots? Answers to these gardening questions and more are available from your local Master Gardeners and county extension agents. Even during this pandemic, they are standing by to help you with your gardening issues. Best of all, this is a free service for the public. Continue reading
Known as the queen of lemon-scented herbs, lemon verbena has the clearest, sharpest lemon scent in the world of herbs. Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a tropical plant that we grow as an annual in the mid-Atlantic area. Native to South America, the Spanish brought the plant to Europe where it was primarily used in perfume. In fact, lemon verbena is mentioned in the famous book/movie, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Scarlett O’Hara’s mother Ellen used lemon verbena as her signature fragrance: “The faint of lemon verbena surrounded her, floating gently from Eleanor Butler’s silk gown and silken hair. It was the fragrance that had always been part of Ellen O’Hara, the scent for Scarlett of comfort, of safety, of love, of life before the War.” Continue reading
Small thyme flowers
The herbs in my garden live among the annuals, perennials, vegetables, and shrubs. I do not have a separate, formal herb garden. Every new herb plant gets tucked in any space I can find. I harvest them to use them fresh in the kitchen and for floral arrangements. By summer, many of my herbs are blooming along with everything else but that’s okay, they still serve a purpose. Even if I didn’t get to harvest them, they are helping the rest of the garden by attracting and supporting beneficial insects. Continue reading