Six on Saturday – Herbs

April showers have definitely brought May flowers, and also very fragrant and healthy herbs, such as this sampler of six varieties in my garden:

The photo at the top of this post, and below, show my garden sage (Salvia officinalis), full of buds ready to bloom:

I always save leaves for my kitchen, but also take advantage of the beautiful flowers and their cleansing scent, to harvest bunches to place on night tables.

I thought all my chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) had died; if I had been a good gardener and housekeeper, I would have cleaned every corner of the garden last fall, but I guess it was fine that I missed some spots near the house, because some chervil volunteers are not only growing, but thriving there, along with wild violets and rogue spearmint:

Chervil is also known as French parsley; it has a subtle scent and flavour, and it is a component of the classic French fines herbes mix, mutual complement of parsley, chives, and tarragon.

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a showy perennial plant, as seen below:

The root may be dug and harvested either in late fall or early spring, and its gratings are the base of the deliciously pungent sauce to condiment meat and other dishes.

I usually start marjoram (Origanum majorana) seed in the spring, to have some leaves to harvest later in the season, but for a couple of years now, a vigorous plant has overwintered well:

That means that it is probably a hybrid with some kind of oregano, but the scent is sweet and definitely of marjoram, so I do not mind. I use marjoram as a substitute for Mexican oregano in many recipes because of its mellowed scent and sweeter flavour compared to Greek oregano, but marjoram is an important herb in Mexican cuisine on its own right; marjoram is also part of the mix of hierbas de olor, often found fresh at Mexican markets bundled with ties made of twine, along with my next two features, thyme and bay leaf.

Thyme (Thymus sp.) is a staple in my herb garden beds:

I keep my parsley and sage nearby, and I always purchase a potted rosemary in late spring, which along with the thyme, complete my “Scarborough Fair Patch.”

Last but not least, I was lucky to spot a small bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) plant at a local nursery two years ago; it comes indoors in the fall, and overwinters by a south-facing window until late spring. It got a little neglected, and I realized that many leaves were covered with a sticky substance, produced by scale insects (the brown and dark speckles on the leaves):

If left untreated, the condition will exacerbate, causing permanent damage and even death of the plant. To clean the plant and eliminate the pests, all that is needed is a paper towel soaked with rubbing alcohol or cooking oil, and a little patience. Take one affected leaf and place towel behind it (photo below, left); fold towel over the front, and starting at the stem end, wipe both sides of the leaf, removing sticky honeydew and speckles (bugs) as the towel moves to the tip of the leaf (photo below, centre). Some permanent damage remains, but the leaf looks much healthier (photo below, right):

Repeat cleaning with each leaf, and also wipe stems. It is time consuming, but there is instant gratification when looking at the treated plant:

The treatment kills the bugs, but their eggs might remain on the plant, so a check up now and then will be necessary to completely eliminate the pest.

I am joining Six on Saturday for May 20, 2023, hosted by Jim Stephens @ Garden Ruminations

I am also joining Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge for May 20, 2023.

15 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Herbs

      1. You’re welcome! Question you may or may not know about sage: I’ve been told there are two kinds of sage, one for cooking and one for smudging. Do you know anything about it?


  1. I have re-started a herb garden n my verandah and it was lovely to wander out last night and cut a sprig of Thyme.
    Add a couple of Bay Leaves to potatoes while boiling, remove before mashing – they taste fabulous 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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