Monday, June 1, 2009

Herban Renewal

After a few years, some perennial herbs get really woody centers and need some freshening-up.

My sage plants were six feet across, and after this winter, the centers were dead with a ring of green around the outside. The plant had propagated itself by layering, so it was time to dig up the whole thing and replant one of the new, smaller plants.

It wasn't the only one. I can't seem to keep thyme for very long before the same thing happens. I've tried hacking it back hard, like I do for lavender, but it doesn't seem to work. So I have new thyme plants, too.

And then the rosemary died, which isn't unusual. It's marginally hardy here, and I haven't had one that's lasted longer than four years. What was surprising was the horehound died. I'm not replacing it since it's pretty weedy.

Also, the bay trees gave out - The two in the herb garden died back to the ground. Thankfully I have one more which is on the south side of the house and didn't sustain any damage. They were too big for the garden anyway, so those got pulled out as well.

So my herb garden is in need of plants. I've replanted the rosemary and will move the sage to its' proper place soon. I bought more Greek oregano, since I go through all I can dry and then some. I'm waiting to see if the tarragon will survive Thing 2's trashing of it.

I've replanted the thyme with french thyme. I taste-test herbs before I buy, and there was a huge difference between the french and winter thyme. The french has way more flavor. Even Thing 1 said "WOW!" when I had him taste it.

I'm weeding out the spots for the annuals - basil, coriander/cilantro, summer savory, and marjoram - and have all but the marjoram started. I keep forgetting to find seed.

So now is the time to go for broke on new, different herbs. I have lavender, fennel, lemon balm, caraway, borage and horseradish. And the parsley self-seeded, but it's not looking very promising. I may need to buy a couple of plants until some newly sown ones get going.

So what else should I try? Does anyone have recommendations? What can you not live without?

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