Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And now...

If you are interested in drying any of your culinary herbs for winter use, this is prime time. Annuals and vigorously growing perennials like mint and oregano can be cut back by 1/3 to 1/2. Woody stemmed perennials, like sage, thyme, and rosemary should be cut back, no more than 1/3 at a time, since they grow more slowly. Hang in bushes to dry, or on screened racks, in a dehydrator or on very low heat in an oven. For oven drying, I usually just turn on the light and close the oven door - no heat on at all. It takes a while, but it is low, slow heat.

I'm also harvesting flowers for drying. I've done lavender, bright yellow yarrow and nigella (love in a mist) seed pods. Right now, it's annual statice among others. The plant is rather plain, just lobed leaves before the flower stems shoot up. But the colors are great - dark blue, white, lavender and rose, and statice holds its color longer than almost any other flower. Since it's not a very attractive garden plant, I grow it in rows in the vegetable garden. It's a good nectar plant for butterflies.

Plants that I'm admiring right now-

*Snapdragons - I plant dark, crimson and light pink together and the combo is beautiful. They bloom so nicely for so long - even longer than mums in the fall.

*Zinnia - I never have luck with the big, old-fashioned kinds due to mildew. But the little profusion zinnias make rounded mounds 12-15" tall, just covered with blooms. No mildew and very little deadheading.

*Euphorbia - Although it has small white flowers, the overall look is of a foliage plant. Fairly tall and nicely branched, it has pretty variegated green and white foliage. Great as
filler with cut flowers or dried for use in wreaths and arrangements.

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Lucy has recovered from her bee sting. She is enjoying chasing rabbits in the yard. She loves when they go in the high grass and she goes in and sniffs every square inch that they covered. She's so pleased with herself - I guess she thinks she's hunting.