I love the color purple. It’s not a color I would paint my house, but I’d happily add accents in that color. And wear clothes that color. I love lavender and Russian sage. In all their purple splendor, they are pretty to look at and delightful to smell. But mostly, I love finding things that I can successfully grow in our soil starved yard. It’s an ongoing challenge. Our yard is carved out of a hillside of hardpan – a dense layer of soil largely impervious to water. In it’s essence, it means that there is no soil. When we had our fence installed, they had to call to ask for permission to go over the quoted price as they hadn’t realized they’d need to bring in jackhammers to dig the fence post holes deep enough.
We’ve brought in soil to have a lawn. We’ve added automatic sprinklers to keep it watered. Still, it’s not paradise. More like Paradise Lost. We have great weather (except I could do without the 100+ temperature today) but nothing grows without lots of added inputs of water and fertilizer and soil.
A few years ago, I planted Russian Sage and Lavendar in my garden in the side yard. They are looking pretty good now.
It took several years, but they now are flourishing with little added help. The vegetables I’ve tried to plant in the same garden area are a failure. The Dutch baby beets were chopped away by some kind of insect as soon as they got a few leaves. The bush beans look like lace doileys from all the insects chomping away at the leaves. The row of deep bunching purple onions is mostly bare soil. The pencil carrots never even germinated. And I even had a screen net over these plants to protect them from birds! Yet the heirloom tomatoes, behind the house, are thriving. We added a lot of good soil to their bed, and it shows. Currently, there are a lot of blossoms and even some little tomatoes. I am sure some will all be maturing just after we leave for our Midwest trip in less than two weeks.
Since I don’t seem very successful at growing vegetables besides greens and tomatoes (and I am delighted with that), I’ve been thinking that what I really should do is learn how to more fully use lavender – as a food. I know you can make a tea infusion with it, and add it to baked goods. I’ve just never explored that. I started reading up about it and regretted that when I planted my lavender plants, I didn’t pay much attention to just what variety they are (other than that I have several different kinds). Articles talk about how one variety is much better than others in flavor. I guess I’ll just have to start brewing some cups of tea and figure out for myself whether my plants have tasty flowers. While I’m at it, I also should try some of my bee balm in tea. I’ve read that you can use the young leaves to make an herbal “Earl Gray” tea, as they are also know as bergamot, the distinctive flavor in Earl Gray tea. I do know the flowers smell nice.
But I don’t want to end up accidently poisoning myself. So I’ll start with little cups of tea, and work my way up.