Herbal: Bleak at First Glance February 5, 2010
I managed some serious pruning of the lemon verbena recently. Not that I know what I’m doing, but I hope, hippocratically, to have inflicted no harm. A rangy creature it was, and devoid of even a single green leaf. But in closely inspecting the woody tangle I discovered a number of tiny green buds—good news post-big freeze. The coldcocked kaffir lime still sports some green skin, albeit piebald, and I’m taking that as a positive sign. The dead wood appearance of the curry bush, a familiarly lifeless sight at this time of year, doesn’t fool me. I have to admit, though, I feel a little regretful that we hadn’t saved one of those transplanted shoots for ourselves. Late spring should set my mind at ease, like it always does, when small green frondlets emerge near dirt level.
Our Greek oregano is positively thriving. If anyone wants to trade for annual/biennial herbs, say, cilantro, dill or parsley for example, I have plenty of this savory herb for bartering (Seriously. Facebook me.) Speaking of savory, just in the past year our winter savory really settled in, not that it’s grown to any where near the almost obscene dimensions of the oregano, but it has respectably established itself. All the rest of the herbs survived the recent arctic chill with varying degrees of success, the tender Mexican mint marigold hanging in there as the weakest of the remaining greened plants.
And a shout out to the mandarin, in our fourth year together, as she (he? I don’t know) bore over 50 fragrant and loose-skinned tangerines this season. The fruits seem to continue to sweeten til their number’s up. A bit on the juicy side, I guess the vesicles suffered a touch of frost and now leak their nectar a little. Ambrosial. I recommend this fairly easy tree to citrus-loving gardeners with sunny south facing wall space. We bought our beauty at the Natural Gardener.
For thumbs blacker than green, try perennials. That’s ’bout all we do around here and we do alright. Plant a fancy herb (suitable for your site of course) and you can trade with your more-experienced neighbors when they have too many tomatoes, okra, or hopefully right now, dill and cilantro. Cilantro. That’s what I’m hoping for!