would also like to give a grand thank you to Karen and Allan Six, two wonderful
members of our little staff here who are leaving us to embark on a new
adventure. Anyone who has visited our nursery knows Karen as our sales goddess.
She's been a wonderful person to have out front for us, full of knowledge and
always helpful. Allan has been our guy for mowing, weed-eating, and keeping the
grounds looking spectacular. He's been number one help to Rolfe for these past
five years. They will both be greatly missed and we wish them all the
Our luncheons and tours were
awesome. We had some new groups along with some of the originals. We tried some
new dishes and just had a great time. The first few weeks we had to eat inside
due to the weather, but then it never got too hot later in summer so it was an
okay trade off.
Midnight in the Garden Event
was one of the highlights again this year. I think our 100 guests would agree
that it was a magical night that they won't soon forget. This year's fire
dancers were especially incredible.
With the nursery now closed
and the tours and luncheons done for the season, we are now into our seed
harvesting and herb harvesting time. (see below.) Our next event for the year is
Celebration in November. When we started the Salmon Celebration years ago,
our intent was to have a group of experts come out and speak with people about
the salmon in the Northwest and to showcase our recovery projects.It was a much
bigger event and it was held outside, which was risky business weather-wise for
Oregon! We have now made the event much smaller, keeping the focus the same, but
having Rolfe lead the tour and talk about our recovery projects. Dinner is
indoors and is a plated meal instead of a buffet.
It's not too late to make
reservations for the Salmon Celebration! We are nearly booked for Saturday,
November 12th , and have opened a second date on Sunday, November 13th. Call
Janet to make your reservation at 541-487-8671.
The summer is truly upon us,
and the herbs are reaching their peak. Now is a great time to set out on a
harvesting adventure to ensure that you can enjoy their wonderful flavors
year-round. Herbs like basil, thyme,
oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and mints maintain their flavor extremely well when
dried and are very easy to dry and store.
Some herbs, such as cilantro and
tarragon are worthwhile to use fresh. As the popularity of fresh herbs grows,
they've become easier to find in stores year-round. Of course, they don't tastes
quite as good as the ones that come straight from your own
Harvest herbs for drying when
they are at the peak of their leaf growth before they have set flowers. If they
already are in bloom, snip off the flowers. Cut the stems to the desired length,
avoiding lower leafs that may be starting to yellow.
There are two basic ways to
proceed from here. The first method is to strip the leaves from the bottom two
inches of each stem, rubber band several stems together and hang upside down in
a low-humidity location. One nice aspect of this technique is that it takes very
little space and it can be decorative. The downside is that too much humidity in
your home can keep the center stems from drying. It's a good idea to keep the
bunches fairly small to allow for air circulation. When you're ready to use your
dried herbs, simply pinch the desired amount of leaves from the bunch and crunch
them up. Or, you can strip the dried leaves from the stems when they are
completely dry and store in an airtight, well labeled
The second drying method is
to lay the herbs on a screen...it can be something made specifically for the
task or you can get creative. I have some old window screens I found in my attic
that I cleaned up to use. The idea is that you need air to circulate on all
sides of the herbs, so mesh size isn't really crucial. You will need to prop up
the screens. so that air can move below the drying herbs as well. With this
technique, you don't need to bundle the herbs. You will want to keep them in a
dry location and rotate them everyday to ensure even drying. Once you are
certain they are completely dry, strip the leaves from the stems (if the stems
are woody or for fine herbs like thyme you may choose to leave the stems on and
just use a spice grinder to break them up). Store in an airtight, well labeled
Two years ago I had to throw
out a whole bag of basil because I had too hastily declared it dry enough to
store and it molded. It was awful! Basil is used almost as commonly as salt in
my house! While lamenting my loss to a co-worker, she told me that she has been
freezing her basil in resealable bags. I tried that last year and it worked
amazingly! The leaves stayed mostly green and the flavor kept. This method is
also very simple, and I like that you can just keep adding to the bag as the
plants keep producing. All you do is gather and wash the leaves (no stems here)
and spin in a lettuce spinner. Put in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When ready to
use, simply crush the leaves and enjoy!
Featured Herbs: The Lemon
The smell of lemon is one of the
most refreshing scents in my mind, second maybe to rosemary, which on most days
is my ultimate favorite. Since becoming pregnant, scents have been making a
bigger impact on me than ever before, and the clean smell of citrus is
Luckily for me,
lemon-scented herbs abound and can be found in all sorts of applications. Many
types of lotions, soaps and cosmetics feature lemon herbs like Lemon Verbena and
Lemon Grass. They are also found in all sorts of teas and
beverages (see Infusion Profusion below.) Sometimes it's just nice to have them
to walk by and enjoy. The strongest lemon herbs for
rub and sniff enjoyment are Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, and Lemon Geraniums - we
carry Mable Gray and Frensham Lemon, both of which smell just like lemon
flowers of lemon marigold and lemon thyme make them a fun addition to salads and
attractive edible garnishes.
Below is a list of our
favorite lemon herbs and their many uses.
|Lemon Verbena - One of
the strongest lemon scents! Use fresh or dried in teas, infusions, cakes and
cookies. An attractive potted plant. Tender Perennial.
|Lemon Balm - One of
the best for teas, dried or fresh. Abundant growth. Also for infusions, baking,
and potpourris. Perennial.
Lemon Savory - This
is one of our favorites to add to honey butters. A sweet lemon flavor that also
goes well with chicken and fish dishes. It's also great added to fruit salads.
||Lemon Geranium - A great
one to have along a well-used path or patio where it can be encouraged to
release its wonderful fragrance. Add a few leaves to the bottom of a lemon cake
and it will give it an extra lemon kick (and sometimes leaves behind a pretty
leaf stamp.) Tender Perennial.|Lemon Grass, East or West
Indian - Both varieties are essential in lemon-infused teas.
They're also important in many ethnic dishes (see July's Thyme Garden
Lemon Basil - I love
the sweetness of lemon basils. They are refreshing added to fruit salads or
added to green salads. They also make excellent herb-infused cooking oils. Add
lemon basil to marinades for basil plus citrus. Annual.
|Lemon Hyssop -
Produces a beautiful pink-purple flower that hummingbirds go crazy for. This one
to me smells more like Tutti-Fruity, but I love it just the same. The leaves
can be used in teas. A good rub and sniff lemon herb.
|Lemon Marigold -
Tight little bushes give rise to bright yellow mini-marigold flowers that taste
just like a lemon rind! They make a terrific edible embellishment.
Lemon Thyme - There are
many varieties of lemon thyme, and I love them all. They can be used in sweet
dishes or savories; I especially like them in honey butter and sweet rolls. One
of my favorites in Variegated Lemon Thyme, which is not only a beautiful little
plant, it's also hardy and tastes delicious. Perennial.
You may have noticed that I've been writing a lot about using herbs in
infusions. That's because infusions are simple ways to collect all the great
flavor of an herb and use it in a liquid application where you wouldn't want to
have the leaves or flowers to chew through.
So many herbs make excellent infusions once you learn the easy recipe to
infusing, your imagination is really the only limit. At
rig ht: Ja maica with Lemon Verbena Syrup, Lavender Lemonade and
Sun Tea with Spearmint Infusion.
Mom (Janet) and I recently attended a workshop on
essential oils. It made me think about all the healing we have probably
inadvertently done for our luncheon groups over the years
we are essentially (no pun intended!) creating and
serving concentrations of the herbs. It's a neat thought. As Dad (Rolfe) and I
serve up Lavender Lemonade or Rooibos Tea with Spearmint Syrup, I have noticed
that the excitement level grows around us . . .maybe it's not just the sugar?Try
it for yourself and decide!
You will Need:
1/2 cups water
handful fresh herb leaves*
|In a large, heavy bottomed pot with a lid, combine sugar
and water. Bring to a boil.
|Gently rub fresh leaves between your hands to bruise and
add them to the boiling sugar water. If using dried herbs, simply add them to
the boiling sugar water.
|Stir the leaves gently for a few
|Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
|Remove leaves with a slotted spoon or
|Let infusion cool and then transfer to a glass jar with
a tight fitting lid. Your herb infused simple syrup will keep for a week in your
*If using dried herbs, you will need significantly less.
Start with a tablespoon and check potency.
So what do you do with your infusion once you've got it? One of our signature
drinks is our lavender lemonade. For this recipe, simply make fresh
squeezed lemonade or lemonade from concentrate (if using concentrate add more
water then suggested so that the lavender can shine through and it isn't too
sweet.) Mix 8 parts lemonade to one part lavender infusion.
Another fun use for infusions is to make your own sodas. My friend Irene made me
a homemade ginger ale this weekend by making a ginger infusion (she swapped
brown sugar for the white stuff) and added fresh grated ginger to her hot water
mix. The ginger infusion + ice+ seltzer water = pure taste bud bliss! Plus,
making your own soda means you can make it organic and you can make it taste
anyway you choose! Mom and I also made Lemon Geranium Sodas in the same way and
added a slice of lemon. Very refreshing!
For an adult beverage, check out our blog for a recipe for Simple
Mint Mojitos and get hooked on infusing!
~ Corsican Mint Available
A wonderful scented, low-growing
steppable ground cover for use between pavers and in lightly travelled areas -
get it now as
we always sell out!
~ Creeping and Mixed
Creeping Thyme Available Now!
Both of our low growing thymes
are great groundcovers for areas large or small where you would prefer a little
something different. Our Creeping Thyme
gets about an half inch tall, forming a nice tight mat with pretty
white-mauve-pink flowers. Our Mixed Creeping
Thyme is harvested from all of our low growing thymes in the garden and will
give you varied leaf texture, bloom color, and bloom thyme - like an
~ Taking Pre-Orders for
Hops!Order now to be
sure that you have the best selection. Orders are shipped in spring when
rhizomes are harvested.
It was brought to our attention
by an astute Newsletter Reader that we passed on an often sited but incorrect
bit of information. Bergamot
(Monarda didyma) is a tea herb as we wrote about, but it is not
the Bergamot that is used in Earl Grey tea.The Bergamot used in Earl Grey comes
from Citrus bergamia, which is a type of orange. Thanks for enlightening
us, dear reader, and showing once again how this newsletter can be a resource
for the sharing of good information!