Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Facing the Music - What does the herb garden look like this year

There are no good overall shots of the garden as yet. I sat on my camera and broke the screen, so now I cannot tell what I am taking pictures of and I cannot change the settings.  Until I get a new camera, I can take outdoor photos, medium range, full sun only because that was the setting when I sat on it.

Here are some details of the garden plants.  There were some situations I prayed would not happen, some I expected and others that were a complete surprise.

We will start with some good news.  The Catmint (and other mints) are thriving, not even a polar vortex can keep mint down!

catmint / catnip

The whole row looked as good as these couple of plants. This chives got very thick, like German leek chives, I do not know why.  The flowers are not as purple as in past years, more of a pink shade.  I took this image and promptly cut off all the flowers for vinegar!

The dill did come up from seed, some from last season self-sow and some I threw down this spring, but the early heat made them leggy and thin and they are falling over already.

Now to the expected bad news.  This winter was too harsh for lavender.  Even though I do not trim them in the fall and even though I piled mulch on them after the first frost, they were largely dead this spring.  In hopes of encouraging growth from the base, I trimmed them a month ago.  However, well... you can see the results.
dead lavender

end plant from above photo with some small growth!!
More dead lavender, but one plant has made a healthy comeback.
I prayed that the snow cover would protect and preserve my thyme plants when the weather turned bitter, but this was not to be.  My lemon thyme fared best, those plants int he middle of the row arte still alive.  The ends of the rows are all dead and have been ruthlessly yanked from the ground so there is no photographic evidence of their demise.  However, the lowest growing thymes seem to have fared the best.  There was some winter kill in the creeping thyme.  The red creeping thyme, almost a miniature thyme seems to have fully recovered from winter with few dead stems.  It is now a carpet taking over the vacated places of its neighbor plants.

common thyme with winter kill

creeping lemon thyme with winter kill

Creeping red no death at all!
The peppermint, of course wintered over, but it was stressed and this spring was plagued by an infestation of bugs that are damaging the leaves and leaving black spots.
Black stem Peppermint
 From a distance you cannot see the damage, but if you look at a close up of the same plant you can see the infestation and the leaf damage.,  See the white bug there in about the middle of the photo?

The plant that surprised me with its inability to survive the winter was sage.  A woody shrub it is normally my first plant to green in the spring after the salad burnet and chives, but this year some plant stalks were totally dead.  Many of the plants did spring new growth from the crown, but they are in sorry shape and there was no spring harvest of sage this year. (I love the sweetness of spring sage leaves and use them in salads and to make vinegar.)
Russian sage growing from the crown the stalks still dead.

The plants at the top of the picture are just dead.

Common sage again many dead branches

I have many more pictures of dead sage, but I think this is enough carnage.  Now back to some good news.  The rue is fine and looking a nice bright green and flowering (a bit early).

The Golden Anise Hyssop I got after seeing the plant at the Arboretum last year not only made it through the winter, but it self seeded some wonderful little friends.

Golden Anise Hyssop
At first when I came into the garden and saw these plants, I thought they were lemon balm because of the bright green color, but when I realized the lemon balm should be on the other end of the garden.  I panicked thinking they had been relocated by wild life or water, but then I realized it was anise hyssop and I was pleased that my single plant (lower left corner of photo) had made so many babies. There is hope and growth after the long winter after all! 

In posting these photos I noticed something I did not while I was taking the pictures.  There are a lot of weeds in there.  I need to get to work!

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