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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Update: Spring Bulbs Planted – Now Appearing!

ht-daff-0309As the second snow melted, much to our surprise, green tops and shoots of emerging daffodils were beginning to appear!

Within just a few days, some of the initial results of our late-fall bulb-planting began to become apparent.

If you read this blog very often, you may recall my sharing about receiving a surprise shipment of bulbs from our Garden Writer Friends Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

What a welcome sight!

We’ll keep you posted on the varieties and results of planting this special collection…

Garden Project: Scarborough Fair

ht-gar-07-scarboro-faire-trough“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme.

Remember me to one who lives there

For she once was a true love of mine.”

Here is the Scarborough Fair trough garden project I planted, featuring the culinary herbs in the ballad: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Garden inspirations are where you find them, and part of the discovery are additional avenues to explore and learn more about!

Want to learn more about Scarborough Fair, the ballad, lyrics and interpretation?

Click on this link, to learn more…

Considerations for Planning Your Garden, Part 1

Garden guy“Planning” your garden is key, in having a successful growing season.

This includes:

* Know what you would like to grow

* What and what variety grows well in your area

* The growing conditions your garden will provide, once amended

Have you been studying the many seed and plant catalogs, now arriving nearly daily? The choices are astounding. In my 10 years of our Herbal Treasures Garden, I am observing increasing variety and greater numbers of seeds and plants available. This is a very exciting time to be a gardener!

At the same time, the possibilities and choices are staggering, and can actually serve as an obstacle to getting started, if a gardener is not careful.

Make preliminary preference-based choices on what you believe you and your family will most likely eat, and probably completely consume.

As previously discussed, some vegetables yield greater quantities. This reminds me of tomatoes and zucchini. If you are looking for greater yield (as in a larger family), this may be a consideration for you, as well.

Some vegetables are more difficult to grow. If you have limited time, space and inclination, perhaps growing your own corn would not be advisable. However, with the price of tomatoes and the relative ease of growing them, they might be a worthwhile addition to your garden

Of course this being the Herbal Treasures website, I would remiss if I did not include copious amounts of herbs on the list! They will add life and spark up any veggie dish you make.

Anticipation for Spring!


Around Thanksgiving a luscious assortment of bulbs arrived, that has all of us anticipating their appearance this spring!

It is a special Black-and-White collection of tulips and narcissus:

N. Misty Glen

N. Bridal Crown

N. Ice Wings

T. Pasionnale

T. Weisse Berliner

T. Silverstream

T. Black Parrot

T. Black Hero

Leucojum aestivum

This precious shipment was 10 pounds of 100 bulbs in total! With our fairly mild weather at the time of receiving them, we got them planted easily, scheduling planting segments around our appreciated rain showers.

While I can hardly wait to see the results of our planting efforts, I have to share with you I most look forward to seeing the Black Parrot Tulip!  If you click on the linked text or picture of this gorgeous tulip (above), you can read more about it.

Upon receipt and inspection, I must say they are the nicest bulbs I think I have ever planted in our Herbal Treasures’ Garden! They were much larger that the bulbs you might buy at many of the national garden centers and big box stores. I have purchased them at these outlets many times before, myself. While shipping of spring bulbs has ceased, you can peruse, anticipate, order and plant for summer — and fall, 2009!

This was a very special surprise gift from my friends at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

Ready for Spring?!

Seed Packets Some folks have had more than their share of wintry weather, and while cold temperatures came into our area earlier than usual, along with unanticipated great intensity, the last few days have been nearly spring-like here.

In the meantime, we are receiving seed and plant catalogs daily, as you may be. In my observation, the mailings seem to get earlier each season. I received the first catalog in early November, for the next growing season. Perhaps regularly seeing these catalogs along with the unseasonably ‘warm’ weather (50-60F), inspires my thinking “spring.”

So I admit to being bitten by the ‘spring’ bug — early, without merit at this point. While seeming to suffer the early blast of cold, I know that winter is still with us. Due to this stark reality, my early spring fever is completely unwarranted. I have not truly earned this status, having not yet fully completed this cycle. I know January well, and expect that cold smack upside the head anytime soon… it reminds me that we are in a New Year, to make the most of it, and that I am alive!

Yesterday, I went to a nearby home improvement center and discovered a tremendous selection of seeds. Upon checking out, the cashier confirmed my thoughts: they were offering the seeds earlier than usual!

What seeds did I buy? The list was long, so I will include it in my next post…

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.

How Does Your Garden Grow: Veggies are “In” This Year!

A recent survey on early spring trends conducted by the Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF), indicates that vegetable gardening is projected to gain popularity this growing season. The primary factors encouraging this new gardening trend are rising gas prices, increasing food costs, and a fluctuating economy.

In the survey, consumers were asked to rate the types of garden-related spending they expected for the spring season. Lawn and grass expenditures take the lead (54%), followed by vegetable or fruit plants (39%), annual flowers (38%), trees and shrubs (35%), and perennial flowers (31%).

When asked the same question in 2007, vegetable and fruit plants were fourth on the list of priorities for consumer spending plans. Perennial flowers that held the number two position in consumer spending expectations for 2007, now in fifth place for 2008.
While growing a garden sounds like a lovely idea, you may be concerned about the time and knowledge needed to establish and maintain one. With the cost of everything is going up, shortcuts and understanding effective ways to garden would help ensure your success for the time and money invested.

Herbal Treasures’ Weekly Garden Tips delivers information based on real life experience and research, put together by Becky Cortino, Master Gardener Volunteer Graduate (’98). Ms. Cortino is a contributor to the recently-published Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs, a special project benefiting the National Herb Garden.


What can you expect?

Sage advice seasoned with experience and encouragement to help you in your gardening.


  • Are you planning to grow the Garden of Your Dreams in 2008?
  • Do you plan to fine-tune an existing garden or designing a new one?
  • Are you unsure, and want or need some sage advice to inspire and get you growing?


Sign-up to receive Herbal Treasures’ Weekly Garden Tips seasoned with experience by clicking here


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!

Herbal Treasures Featured WordPress Blog

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

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