A Garden Joy: Fresh Daffodils on Our Table

daffodilbqt-09SpringThyme Delights from our Herbal Treasures’ garden!

“Gorgeous SpringThyme Day: Bradford Pear blossoms swirl like snow in warm breezes, Forsythia bloom & house scented w/Daffodils from My Garden…” @BeckyCortino

Daffodils seem to herald spring, to me. Cut flowers pictured are from a special collection I was blessed to receive as a Garden Writer, from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

The varieties in the 10-pound 100-bulb assortment I listed; see the list by clicking on the linked text here

Out of this very simple (cut-out of the garden and put-them-in-a-vase) arrangement, I was able to ID these varieties:

N. Dutch Master (traditional)
N. Ice Follies

…N. Ice Follies is a new variety for us this year, and is most interesting. You may be able to make out a slight color variation of the center, which occurs as the flower matures.

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Planning Your Garden Container-wise

Gar PathIn garden planning, you may determine space and ideal planting location are not as optimal as you wish, or perhaps your growing dreams far outweigh what you believe to be possible with the space you have. Fear not!

One thing that completely amazed me in our garden visits while in London, was the great use of small spaces for gardening. I must admit when I thought of ‘English Gardening,’ my mind’s eye had a rambling cottage garden pictured. Not always so. In densely-populated urban settings, available space is a premium, but so is the need for some ‘green relief’!

So if you have space or location challenges, take a lesson from the clever English, as I did.  Container gardening has grown increasingly popular over the last several years. That, coupled with many new vegetables now available as smaller or miniature varieties also offer great opportunity to combine them in containers with flowers to make a pleasing patio-type presentation.

Hayrack planters and trough gardens can add interest, more texture, height and variety to the garden or area adorned by the containers. Planters and containers can be moved around to snhance other areas as needed, in the case of outdoor entertaining, so you can more easily multi-task!

Getting Ready for Spring…

Seed Packets

During my recent visit, I was amazed at the selection of seeds at the nearby garden center!

Here are seeds to add to our Herbal Treasures Garden in the 2009 growing season:
Celosia, Red Velvet

Centaurea, Imperial Bouquet Mix

Cornflower, Tall Mixed Flowers

Cosmos, Summer Dreams & Summer Sunshine Mix

Marigold, Calendula Apricot Daisy, Citrus Mix & Cottage Red

Moonflower, Giant White

Nasturtium, Empress of India, Jewel Mix, Lipstick & Papaya Cream

Passion Flower, Blue (Heirloom!)

Zinnia, Candy Cane Red on White & Envy (Heirloom!)

Veggies go great with herbs and fresh-cut flowers from the garden, so I also chose:

Mesclun, Salad Mix, Spicy Mix &  Sweet Salad Mix

Tomato, Yellow Pear

Now, a sage word of advice to all those other rampant-to-get-started gardeners out there, also bitten by the ‘spring bug’:


  • When purchasing your seed packets, be sure to read the information about the plant on the back of the package. Find out when you need to start the seeds.
  • For some, you may need to begin them indoors, several weeks in advance.  Be sure to not begin immediately planting them outdoors, unless you live in a climate that is already in the growing season.
  • Avoid the great temptation to begin your garden ‘early,’ under the often false impression that spring has come early, only to lose the fruits of your labor, with the frost nipping them all in the bud.

Next: I will share with you a lucious-sounding collection of bulbs that we are eagerly anticipating their appearance this spring!

What are your garden plans for the 2009 growing season?

Please leave a comment and share a bit of your garden and your plans with us here…

Advent Wreath Making Workshop Online – You’re Invited!

Herbal Treasures Advent Wreath

Herbal Treasures Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath making is a wonderful tradition!

This time of the year is incredibly busy with preparations for Christmas programs, events and plays, but what better time to slow for just a bit, enjoy some special time and remember the Reason for this Season? Are you interested in receiving Advent Wreath making instructions and an Advent Devotional? Details to obtain your copy, to make your own Advent Wreath in the comfort of your home are available.

A comprehensive Advent Wreath Making Workshop is now available online, including:

A 9-page step-by-step guide with color pictures

A lovely 4-page printable Advent Wreath Devotional, to print out and keep with your wreath

An Advent Wreath Making Workshop video – Join my very special mommy-pals and I for a fun, creative time!

Advent Wreath Making Precautions

…the materials and video are available on an ongoing basis and you may view them on your own schedule, from the comfort of your own computer!

Are you planning to have an Advent Wreath Making Workshop?

With this package, you also receive materials to help you promote and facilitate an Advent Wreath Making Workshop, along with rights to reproduce and distribute the Advent Devotional and supplies list to participants.

To find out more about Herbal Treasures of Hickory Hollow’s Advent Wreath Making Workshop, click here:

http://snipurl.com/4pfer

Wish you could join us for our Advent Wreath Making Workshop in person, but this is the next best thing!

Herb of 2008: Calendula

Herb of 2008: Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

However you refer to it:

  • Calendula
  • Mary’s Gold
  • pot marigold
  • poor man’s saffron

…intriguing legends and herbal history surround this plant.

Calendula offers beauty with flowers varying colors and shapes.

This herb also beautifully multi-tasks, offering many uses:

  1. as a lovely addition to tussie-mussies
  2. for exceptional color and flavor in cooking
  3. blending brightly into a handmade potpourri from the garden trims
  4. and use in medicine, through the ages

Part of the fun of knowing about the chosen “Herb of the Year,” is learning more about it herbal legend, lore and many uses.

Here is an online guide by the Herb Society of America, designed to provide an overview of the cultivation, chemistry, botany, history, folklore and uses of Calendula.

Herbal Treasures Garden Grow e-course

HT GarNew Year’s resolutions often pinpoint areas we want to “work” on, but in order to be successful we have to lay out an action plan to accomplish at least a portion of the desired goal. Sometimes we have to spend a little time preparing ourselves, by learning more, or reviewing information to get clear on what lies ahead.

What are your gardening resolutions or plans for the upcoming growing season?

Are you planning to grow the Garden of Your Dreams in 2008?

Fine-tuning an existing garden or designing a new plot?

Want some sage advice to inspire and get you growing?

You are herbacordially invited to join us for our Herbal Treasures Garden Grow e-course!

You may be wondering what Herbal Treasures Garden Grow e-course is all about… 

It is a 7-day program that is offered on a complimentary basis, to anyone at any gardening experience level who signs up.

What are your New Year gardening plans? Please do leave a comment and fill me in…

Hope you’ll come “Dig the Dirt” with me, as we prepare to get growing in 2008!

Advent Wreath Making in Under One Hour

Advent Wreath Making

Advent Wreath Making: Simply ~ and ~ Beautiful!

Are you looking for a meaningful addition to truly celebrate Christmas?

Are you already beginning to feel a ‘holiday crunch’ on your time? The holiday rush?

Do you want to celebrate this Season “simply”?

Advent begins tomorrow, and is a wonderful time to s-l-o-w down and really soak in the true meaning of what Christmas is all about — and it is not about the ‘crunch’ or rush.

A wonderful way to do this is by celebrating Advent at home. Making an Advent Wreath is a wonderful tradition that can easily be made up quickly and frugally, yet be a beautiful touch to your seasonal decor. Many of the items you probably have on hand.

Fresh clippings can be had from your yard or from a willing friend’s garden, or perhaps you have a stash of unused holiday decor items you could fashion into a lovely wreath.

This is a great family activity and once made, serves as a reminder of the Reason for this Season — and maybe a symbol to s-l-o-w down and steep in that thought just a bit.

A few days ago, I wrote about teaching an Advent Wreath Making Workshop for area homeschool moms as a “Mom’s Night Out.” We had such a fun time and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The designs were incredible, each unique and beautiful. None of the ladies had ever made an Advent Wreath before, so rest assured — no experience is required. That being the case, they also discovered they could make an Advent Wreath in an hour or less!

Not quite sure how to go about making an Advent Wreath?

To help you assemble a safe, sturdy wreath, and learn about the proper care and use of an Advent Wreath, we have just released Herbal Treasures Advent Wreath Making Guide, Advent Wreath Devotional and online Workshop. Based on 10 years of study about Advent Wreaths and 5 years of teaching and writing about them, our Advent Wreath Making Book Package is available by PDF download on your computer, so you don’t have to wait for a delivery — or pay shipping charges!

For more information about Herbal Treasures’ Advent Wreath Making Guide and Advent Wreath Devotional and Online Workshop

Herbal Treasures Featured WordPress Blog

Gar Path  We received a cool surprise in our email today! 

Herbal Treasures’ blog was featured by WordPress — check it out

The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

HSA Bk The Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking With Herbs

            More than a cookbook and more than a gardening manual – a delightful combination!

Are you searching for a great gift idea for a gardener, an accomplished cook or someone who is a combination of the two? How about a gift for an herbal enthusiast? Are you looking for an informative herby read?

The Herb Society of America’s The Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs provides detailed information for cultivating a variety of popular herbs, along with simple herbal recipes that will satisfy even fussiest gourmet. 

The book is divided into 3 sections: 

The first part provides horticultural information for 63 herbs found in the National Herb Garden’s Culinary Garden. Descriptive information includes the common and botanical names, family, origin, and growing requirements. 

In the second section of the guide, Herb Society of America members offer over 200 classic and creative recipes incorporating a variety of herbs. 

The final portion of the book features a personal tour of the 2.5 acre National Herb Garden, located at the center of the United States National Arboretum, in the heart of Washington, D.C. The descriptive narrative spotlights the themed gardens which illustrate the various uses of herbs and includes complete plants lists for each area. 

The sale of this book is to benefit the National Herb Garden, so you see your purchase is truly a gift that keeps on giving. 

As a Lifetime Member of the Herb Society of America, I am pleased to be a part of this benefit for the National Herb Garden, with one of my recipes selected and included in this book. 

Read more about The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

Winterizing the Herb Garden

Christmas Candle Winterizing the Herb Garden

A few hours tidying up a garden at season’s end saves a lot of unnecessary hard work for the spring, when you are anxious to plant and till some new soil! As the weather has been so unseasonably warm in many parts, if you have not yet attended to some of these chores, it’s not too late!

Prune and shape – artemisia, marjoram, oregano, lavender, thyme – don’t cut back severely, but light pruning after frost is fine. Cut off spent flower stems and dead limbs throughout the garden. Avoid severe pruning late in the fall, as winter hardiness is reduced until the cuts have healed. Woody plants should not be severely pruned within 4 – 6 weeks of the first severe freeze.

Pull up annuals and tender perennials you do not plan to over winter, placing them into your composting pile. Remove dead, damaged or diseased plants, to lessen the spread of disease to other plants in your garden now, or next growing season. This minimizes over wintering insects and disease problems.

Prior to first frost: Pull tropicals, scented geraniums, other plants you may wish to pot and over winter. (Tender perennials are best potted up in the late summer.) Cuttings might be taken to root, rather than trying to pot up and keep a well established tender perennial, or if you should lose it during the winter, trying to over winter it.

Clean up garden beds, by raking and removing leaves and trash. Transplant “orphan” herb plants you may discover along the way, to a better spot, or mark with a plant stake. Let the beds remain clean and clear for a week or so. Many insect pests and some weeds seeds are destroyed when exposed to the sun and to chilly nights.

“Pull the covers up”, by spreading 1-2″ of compost or topsoil over the garden beds; then top with loose organic mulch, which acts like a blanket. Woodchips or sawdust should not be used, as they absorb the nitrogen, necessary for plants to grow. Winter mulching helps to maintain a uniform soil temperature around the plant’s root system, while providing protection against heaving caused by the freezing and thawing of soil.

Flat, heavy stones may be used to “mulch” around lavender plants, to help keep the soil from heaving, in areas where winter is more severe. Leaves, straw or a simple cut pine bough placed around French tarragon, germander, Roman chamomile, silver and lemon thyme, winter savory, large lavender or sage plants, help provide protection. In areas of large amounts of snow or ice, teepees of twigs, sticks or bamboo may be constructed, and the leaves or straw mounded within for greater plant protection.

Rewrite or replace plant markers, as you go…

Cared for properly, many herbs (and other perennial plants!) will thrive in your garden for seasons to come! Enjoy!!!

TIP: Use clippings to make an Advent Wreath and other seasonal decor!

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