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.


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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

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack Gardener’s Glossary – Hardy:

Able to withstand year-round climatic conditions, including cold, without protection.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

NOTE: We discussed the importance of this in this post

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack  Gardener’s Glossary – Layering:

A method of propagation, by which a shoot is induced to root while still attached to the parent plant. The basic form is self-layering, which occurs naturally in some plants.

Note: Plants that may be successfully propagated in this way include (but not limited to): lavender, rosemary, and sage.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

Drought-proof Your Garden by Design

Garden guy Drought-proofing your garden before the imposed need arises is a long-term step in sustainability that protects your investment of time and money in its design and establishment.

We experienced a major drought in our area this season! During our 14 years of living here, we have had droughts, but the southeast was hit so hard this year, the effect was further intensified. For the first time, watering restrictions were mandated in our area.

Fortunately, along with a major garden redesign early in the season, the majority of the plants added to our gardens this year were hardy perennials carefully selected to handle the heat and less watering-intensive.  We didn’t know there would be a drought, but planned a sustainable garden design. 

This is an important factor to keep in mind when designing or establishing a garden.

Also — remember that watering continues through the fall, as well.

Here are a series of articles on how to adapt your garden over the longterm to the normal, recurrent fluctuations in moisture through rain or snow, from Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Fall Planting Schedule for Vegetables

Cornucopia Fall Planting Schedule for Vegetables, based on first frost information

Not sure of the ‘first frost date’ for your area? Search here (US)

Saving Seeds

Seed Packets  Saving seeds from your garden is a great way to propagate next season’s garden!

A little effort now will help you jumpstart your garden for the next growing season.

Share some of the bounty of your seed harvest with others.

Expand your garden in a frugal manner, by exchanging seeds with other gardeners.

More information on Seed Saving


Store your seeds in small envelopes labled with plant name and date harvested.

For fun gifties, print out a precious seed packet to package up your treasures for giving.

Lemon Verbena Cheescake

Cheesecake  Lemon Verbena Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon verbena leaves, finely minced
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Blend crumbs, and melted butter with 2 tablespoons sugar. Reserving 2 tablespoons crumb mixture for later garnish, press remaining onto the bottom and sides of a lightly greased spring-form pan. Chill pan in freezer, while preparing filling.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth and light. Add minced verbena leaves. Beat in eggs and vanilla, until just blended. Stir in sour cream. Pour into chilled crust and bake for 10 minutes.

Then, lower oven temperature to 200-degrees F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Turn off oven; allow cheesecake to cool with oven door open, for 2 to 3 hours.

Garnish with crumbs. Serve on chilled dessert plates, garnishing each serving with a bit of whipped topping and a lemon verbena leaf.

Chilled dessert forks are a cool, refreshing touch, also!

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack   Gardener’s Glossary: Alpine

A plant that grows above the tree line in mountainous regions; loosely applied to rock garden plants that may be grown at relatively low altitudes.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

NOTE: “Alpine” plants are often displayed planted in trough gardens.

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