Monday, July 10, 2017

Favorite Herbs

My latest poll of our garden group, the Forget Me Nots, is about their favorite herb.  I realized it was hard to narrow it down to one so some expanded on the theme with comments and examples.  
Standard variety of basil grown in a pot.

Carlin H.:  

"My grandchildren make it very hard for me to only choose just one! 

  • Chocolate mint/Isaac likes finding it here and there.
  • Lemon thyme/Preston runs his fingers through it every time he walks by.
  • Orange mint/Hannah and Lilly think it makes the very best infused sun tea.
  • Scarborough Fair/I love to sing it (loudly and slightly off key!)

I love herbs of all kinds! Since you are asking for one, I'll choose Rosemary.  I have a delicious pork loin recipe that calls for abundant sprigs.   I grow it near my back door so that I brush by it often and release the heavenly smell."
Dill is growing volunteer in several places this year.

Gail R.:

"My favorite herb (there are many that I enjoy) has to be Rosemary. It smells so good! I rub it between my hands and then breath deeply. Wow. It tastes so good, also. I throw it in with baked chicken or roast it with vegetables. Heavenly. I also recently learned that when infused in oil and rubbed on the skin, it's great for soothing aching joints. I'll have to try that soon.

Speaking of herbs:

University of Illinois Extension is offering a make and take workshop on July 11 from 5-7pm in Galva. "Martha Smith, horticulture educator , will lead participants in planting their own herb container to enjoy for the rest of the season. Kristen Bogdonas will lead a make and take of herb-infused salt blends. Herb-infused beverages and snacks will also be ready for you to sample. " All this for only $10 and you will get to take the herb garden home! Sounds like fun to me. Bring your friends and/or spouse for this fun opportunity. Register in advance by calling the extension office at 309/932-3447 or online at

Food, drink, plants...sounds like an FMN opportunity to me.

Happy summer!"
Horehound (perennial) that I grow simply because my grandma
made Horehound hard candy. 

Robyn T.:

"I'd have to say dill and feverfew.  I've used feverfew in every bridal bouquet I've done....lovely!"  NOTE:  check out Robyn's facebook page to see her bridal bouquets - prettier than any florist ever made!
I grow Horseradish for the ornamental big leaves.  If anyone wants a root
start or to grind, let me know - it's easy.

Rebeccca D.:

"Feverfew!!!!  I love feverfew.  I use it ornamentally and it is blooming profusely right now---lots of tiny white button flowers about two-feet tall."
Lemon Mint is so wonderful.
Spearmint.  Mint gets a bum rap as being an invasive plant.  It does spread but I find it easily pulled and kept within bounds.  The best part is pollinators LOVE the flowers, especially honeybees.

Mary K.:

"This is practically like asking "which is your favorite child?"!

I love oodles of herbs. Wooly Thyme is a lovely border plant in my garden. It attracts lots of pollinators. I love variegated thyme & had it for many years as an accent in my gardens (it died out). Tarragon is a lovely tall herb & yummy in choron sauce. Best of all ... Lavender! Love it's grey/blue foliage, fragrance & awesome purply/blue blooms!
Oregano is another plant that when bushed it gives off its perfume.

Karen R.:

"Favorite herb by far for summer, 🌿 basil, also my chives. Use both so often. 

Bacon and chives in deviled eggs. Yum. "

Kathy H.:

"Dill because it attracts swallowtail butterflies!"
Rue is host to butterflies.

Nancy A.:

"My favorite herb has to be basil. I especially love my first fresh tomato basil sandwich in the summer. I use basil in so many dishes during the summer and have dried for it winter use and even frozen it in ice cubes for later use as well. It also makes a great pesto."
Old fashioned sage - a perennial.

Diane G.:

And as for myself, my favorite for eating is diffenately Chives.  For the butterflies it's dill and rue.

As others have said, I love being able to brush up against herbs as I garden for the fragrance.  The only time it's backfired was the time I planted Celantro.  Celantro is an easy to grow, spreading bush of an annual.  I'm one of those few people who is repulsed by the smell and taste which meant every time I mowed it smelled up the mower, me and the atmosphere!  Mistake!!!
Freezing herbs in olive oil.  Simple and a great way to have the fresh taste all winter.

I know all of us could have listed many more herbs.  As a side note, one of my favorite books is "Gerard's Herbal - a history of plants" written in the 1600s by John Gerard, it's a wealth of history.  Readers shouldn't use it's recommendations for herb medical uses unless you consult your doctor first.  It was all they had at the time but much has been learned since.  I use it all the time for reference and a look at a time when the garden was what kept us fed and nursed.   

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