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aromatherapy

tending the herb garden

All the medicinal plants are in bloom, a rare sight for the herb patch, whose blossoms are usually scarce and short lived.
One might think the herb wheel is a happy go lucky mish-mash of perennials that take care of themselves and require minimal interaction, when in fact it is the exact opposite. You can’t grow an herb garden without giving it your whole heart and your full attention. It needs meticulous care, constant trimming and weeding, it needs to be pristine. Read more…

chamomile groundcover

If you have a sunny slope that is difficult to mow, in a location with well drained, sandy soil, try a chamomile lawn.

The delightful apple scent is a reward in itself, and using chamomile as a groundcover offers some advantages, like low mowing, feeding and watering needs, but the plant is definitely not low maintenance. Read more…

nature’s antiseptics

There are two strong antiseptics directly extracted from plants: one is tea tree oil, only found in the leaves of the Australian plant, and the other one is thymol, a potent antimicrobial found in thyme and oregano, a substance bee balms also have in abundance.

If you ever brushed against a clump of monardas you surely noticed that their leaves’ spicy fragrance is stronger than any other plant’s from the mint family, mint itself included. Read more…

mauve

If you were wondering what exactly the color mauve looks like, this is it. We know that because this is the flower that gave the color its name: mauve des bois, French mallow.

The flower has many names, the oddest of which is cheeseweed, a name inspired by the tightly packed seed heads that look like miniature cheese wheels. All the parts of the plant are edible, and this is fortunate, considering how prolific mallow is at producing offspring. Read more…

lemon verbena

I know, when you think cooking herb, lemon verbena is not the first plant that comes to mind. A lot of people, especially here, up north, where it is not winter hardy, may not be familiar with this wonderful plant, so I’ll do the honors.

It has the fragrance and taste of lemon zest, with just a hint of green herb, and it can be used in any recipe that asks for lemon flavor, from meat stews and salads to fish dishes, candy or sophisticated desserts. Read more…

lavender

Since plant foliage usually doesn’t come in this hue, even for lavender itself, and this is the first time lavender came out of winter looking alive, I didn’t know if this was old growth I should prune or evergreen growth I should leave alone, so I looked up lavender care online. Read more…

chamomile lawns

If you have a sunny slope that is difficult to mow, in a location with well drained, sandy soil, try a chamomile lawn.

The delightful apple scent is a reward in itself, and using chamomile as a groundcover offers some advantages, like low mowing, feeding and watering needs, but the plant is definitely not low maintenance. Read more…

holy aloe

I got this aloe plant for medicinal purposes, since aloe gel is a wonderful moisturizer and a great first aid balm for minor scrapes and burns.

At first I couldn’t bring myself to harvest any of its tiny leaves, I thought it needed all of its foliage to adjust to the new location and stabilize what looked like a very unsure bearing, easily uprooted. Read more…

pamper your skin

If any hands deserve pampering and care, there would be those of gardeners. They scoop and putter, weed and feed and by the end of the day their hands get rough and blistered, with dirt under the fingernails and hardened cuticles; it is hard work to bring forth the miracle of harvest. Read more…

lemon balm

The scent of lemon balm is warm, citrusy and soothing, a fistful of good cheer on a cloudy day. This resilient herb will thrive in any garden and it is not fussy about the soil, sunlight or water, which is why some came to see it as a symbol for overcoming difficulty. Read more…