Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gardening Makes Scents

May is gardening season here in Northeast Ohio. I always start out very enthusiastic, but get a bit less enthralled on hot August days when I need to water my plants so they don't dry up (then they would know what it feels like to have Sjogren's Syndrome :~) I have two raised garden areas, about 3' X 18' each. One is perennial flowering plants, the other is veggies and herbs. I decided that this year I wanted to reorganize the veggie/herb garden, and let the flower garden fend for itself (for the most part).
Yesterday I went to my favorite garden center, and browsed, and explored, and came home with 10 plants, twice the number I had planned to buy, but not unexpected. I have written in the past about how I like to drink water with herbs and/or fruit in it, so I was looking for plants that would give me tasty things to put in my water. My all-time favorite, which I buy every year, is lemon verbena. When you crush the leaves, they give off an aroma of lemon peel.(Now does my use of the word 'scents' in the title of this post make 'sense'?)
I planned to buy sweet basil, because I use it a lot in cooking, and I love its almost licorice-y scent. I did buy some, but I also bought cinnamon basil. How could I pass that up, when I love cinnamon so much?
There were so many varieties of mint, it was hard for me to choose: orange mint, chocolate mint, lime candy mint, spearmint, ginger mint (which I already have) and mojito mint, which is the one I ultimately bought. I chose it because I wanted a minty flavor, but mild, the leaves are a pretty crinkly bright green and because I like mojitos. Imagine taking a leaf or two from each of these plants and crushing them in your fingers. Mmmm... That would smell heavenly.
I bought some bee balm on a whim. I like the name, and the picture of the flowers on the label caught my eye. I'm not so sure I will like its tea-like flavor, but we will see. The other plants I bought were two tomato and three strawberry. To round out the garden, I already planted radish and beet seeds, which have sprouted mightily, and asparagus, horseradish, thyme and lavender, all survivors from last year. The horseradish is related to mustard, and is in bloom right now, with one-inch wide bouquets of tiny white sweet smelling flowers. Not what one would expect from such a pungent root. Two opposite scents form one plant.
My garden has lots of things going on in it, like my art. I don't have a lot of any one thing, because I don't need very much of each thing. This way, I get lots of entertainment for my eyes, nose and mouth. My ears will be entertained by hearing the bees sip on the nectar of the bee balm, and of my cat as she sits on her window perch (inside) and purrs as she watches them. My hands are already getting entertained by the feel of the soil, and the tender leaves of spring.
If you don't have time/room/energy/physical ability to have a garden, have a mini one indoors. You can get hanging pots, or pots that sit on your counter. You can get flowering plants, herbs, I've even seen strawberries and tomatoes in small containers. Many plants only need watering once a week or so. Cacti and other succulents may get by with only occasional watering  There is a plant out there to match every lifestyle. Having plants really livens up a room, and a soul. Have you had your green today?

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