Julie’s Herb Garden

Julie’s Herb Garden

Our outdoor garden.  This is our way of growing our own herbs and even some vegetables as a way to save money and increase our health through more good greenery.  Fresh herbs are more healthy than the dry varieties. 
Fresh Herbs for Dinner
We also have some fruit trees in our yard as well.  Orange, pink lemons and key limes.  Our plans are to add on as we go and increase our gardens around our backyard.
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Gordon Prepping a Pot for Planting
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“To learn more about science, turn off your electronic device, go outside and look around a bit.  Nature is calling you.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Fresh herbs always make a

nice gift.

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Julie’s Herbs

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Our Many Herb Varieties
Function as Well as Beauty

Smelling these delicious herbs from my garden.

Herbs are not just for food you know.  They also are delicious in our favorite mint mojitos.
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Memorial Day Mojitos

Me, gathering mint from my herb garden for our mojitos.

Ready for my Blackberry/Raspberry and Mint Mojito

The mint is an herb and a cancer killer.  The berries are loaded with anti-oxidents and very good for you.

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Spring, May 2015
Gordon and I started putting our herb garden together.  Actually this is mainly my project that I work on every year but because we have been so behind on projects for 2015, we have been helping each other to catch up.

I did all the prep work in advance so that all we had to do was to plant everything.  I even added some new herbs to our garden this year.  Shopping for everything is the fun part.  🙂

Planting All Our Goodies

I always like a mix of herbs and flowers.

Planting Purple Basil

Whew!  Is it ever HOT!!!
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Our “Before” Garden
Not bad!  We managed to keep up with it during the winter and we did cover it up during our cold days to protect it and keep the herbs and flowers alive.  All that we really needed to do right now was to clean it out and replenish some things that we had lost.  We also wanted to add some new herbs to our garden collection.
Every year I always buy new garden equipment.
So many beautiful things that I cannot wait to add to our garden.
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The best part of our garden are the lovely neighbors that stop by…..
I See a Butterfly!
Beautiful Butterfly’s
This butterfly is on our key lime tree.
We have the best neighbors.
About 4 Ibis stopped by for a visit.
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Gordon Prepping a Pot for Planting
Here Gordon is preparing this pot for some of our new herbs.
You always need good drainage without having all your soil seep out through the hole in the bottom.  Here Gordon added some broken stone from past projects of ours to the bottom of the pot, then he added some good rich soil.
Viola!  Lemon Thyme is Planted.
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The Finished 2015 Herb Garden Complete
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I love to add flowers to my herb garden.
I also think that things grow better in pots in our garden as opposed to planting everything in the ground.  I think they look better and neater as well.
Just Beautiful!
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To think, it all started here, in our garden.

Chives and Italian Parsley

Lemon Thyme

Italian Oregano and well as regular Oregano

Basil Leaves

Purple Basil

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It All Starts Here

The base of a healthy meal.

Gathering the Herbs

Wash the Herbs

Then you eat them!

Our Excellent Stuffed Pasta Shell Zucchini Dinner

You know, fresh herbs are cancer killers so why not incorporate more of them into your daily meals?  If I can do it, then so can you.

I was brought up to view food as medicine, because that is what it is.

You know when you were a little child and you got sick, your mother gave you this nasty tasting spoon full of medicine that you choked down and it tasted nasty but then later on you felt better?

Well, that is what food is.  I will sometimes eat something that I don’t like but I know that it is good for me and it will make me feel better later on.

It’s my medicine.

I want to have a good quality life and that starts with good health and healthy foods.  Problem is that we live in the age of cancer.  Well, there are things that we can do about it.  🙂

We’re mother’s so let’s educate our children and grandchildren on how they can be healthy too and survive in this age of unhealthy.

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April 15, 2015
And So it Has Begun…….

California Delta’s Water Mysteriously Missing Amid Drought

Our wars right now are being fought over fuel, our future wars will be fought over water.  Probably sooner than we expected.  There are towns in Texas that have no water left because of Fracking.  California will have no more water by next year.  No water means California farmers can’t grow their food.  Food prices will go up, so start digging up your pretty yards and planting gardens.  Swimming pools will no longer be for swimming, they’ll be for catching and storing water.

It’s time that all of us starting thinking about these things.  I like to live my life being prepared, not just reacting to all the bad things to come.

We’re all connected.  What happens to one, will affect the other.

Julie

And that is why I am so upset about this!

HE GOT MY SNAKE!

HE IS EATING MY SNAKE!!

That little snake lived in my garden.  He ate the bugs in my garden and protected my herbs and plants and flowers.  He didn’t bother anyone.  He was not dangerous or poisonous.  He lived here too but now he’s gone.  He curled his tail so cute, like a corkscrew.

He was cute and never hurt anyone.

I’m going to miss that little snake.  Sugar and I would see him occasionally when we were outside.

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October 2014
New Garden Border

The raised border makes our herb garden area look that much nicer.

Gordon did manage to dig the original stone border out of the ground and place a foundation so that the stones won’t sink into the ground in the future.  He then placed the cap stones on top of the border and measured them to be cut, then when cut, he cemented them into place.  The whole area looks great now!

We decided to add some wood chips to make it look nicer and to cut down on all the weeds that we were getting.
There is always room for improvement.
Julie
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June 3, 2014
Our Backyard Ginger Plant

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The photo above left is of our ginger plant that we acquired last September from a woman that grows ginger and donated them to our last fundraising dinner for Habitat for Humanity.  She gave Gordon one and he planted it into our garden in it’s own pot.  That is important, that it have it’s own pot.  Now just going on 9 months later it is sprouting new shoots and it produces the prettiest flower.  Almost looks like an orchid.  Can’t wait to see the ginger when it starts to appear.

We cook with ginger quite a bit.  Very healthy for you.  Tough antioxidant that can even prevent the flu and  the common cold.  So eat up!

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May 2014
The Herb Garden is Thriving!

My herb garden is thriving!  I’m so proud of it.

I like mixing pretty floral plants in with the herbs to add some color.  We have many squirrels in our yard that chew on some of our plants and flowers but they do stay away from herbs.  They don’t like the smells.

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2014
Julie’s Herb Garden

April is National Garden Month
I just finished my herb garden.

 A few years ago Gordon and I started an herb garden in our backyard beside our house.  The sunniest spot to be exact.  At that time we had so many oak trees in our yard, and our neighborhood surrounding yard, that this small patch was our only sunny spot.  (That has since changed with our neighbors removing 3 trees that bordered our property).  The garden area was much smaller when we bought the house.  Gordon did expand it by several meters.  We started out with just a few pots and a few herbs and it just grew from there.  We wanted to incorporate more fresh herbs into our diet as opposed to the dry varieties.  Fresh herbs are healthier and can prevent certain cancers.

Fresh basil to die for!

At first it was trail and error in finding which herbs thrived in this section of the yard.  How the herbs that we grew in pots did so much better than the herbs we planted directly into the ground.  All of our rain plus our sprinkler system were just too much water for the herbs planted into the ground and would drown them.  So now everything is in some sort of pot or planter.

                                   Before

The first step in getting started with your own herb garden is to locate a sunny spot in your yard that won’t be disturbed.  Then create your blank palette.  Above I have cleared out this area of weeds and leaves, placing pots and planters in various spots.  I then decide what herbs I want and how many I want of them.

                            Julie shopping for herbs.

Our ‘happy cart’ above with everything except our herbs for our garden.  (They come in the next load).  Gordon, at right above, picking out what herbs that he wants for our garden.

    Ready to Start the Herb Garden

Here we have 3 different kinds of oregano, 3 different kinds of parsley, ginger, chives, tons of basil, dill, thyme, rosemary, 2 different kinds of mint, aloe, lavender, vervain (One never knows when one may encounter a vampire.), 5 different kinds of hibiscus, and last but not least, sage.

                               Working in the Garden

In addition to the fresh herbs you wish to plant you will need some good potting soil as well.  For this big project I used about 3 cu. feet of potting soil.

Julie with the Lavender
I also placed some herbs in hanging planters to add some gradual height to the garden.  I have a lovely shell vine on the trellis to add some nice color to the garden.  The trellis’s on the left are for the lovely bougainvillea. 
In addition to just having herbs I like to also add some fruit and some flora and fauna.  You can see my topiary tree in the photo at top in the background.  Very pretty.  Also in the photo below some mint, pretty statuary that I made into a birdbath, and a pink lemon tree. 
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I incorporated my wine barrel into my garden as well.
I like adding sturdy structure as well as something pretty and edible.  The tree is our key lime tree that is ever producing. 
I planted lovely lavender to the garden as well.  So fragrant!
This photo shows the transition from the herb/flower garden to the rock garden.  There is a black plastic divider that separates the two gardens but I don’t like how it looks.  So I added a row of spider plants to ‘hide’ the plastic.  Like so.
I also added some nice solar lights to this area now that it has been opened up to the sun.
Little Touches in the Garden
A little birdbath, a frog, a sunflower stepping stone, and an upturned urn with cascading succulents. 
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How About a Garden Dessert?

Find Which one is the Dessert

There it is!
Dirt Cups

1 pkg. (16 oz.) Oreo Cookies, crushed

1 pkg. Chocolate Instant Pudding and Pie Filling

3 cups of milk

1 (8 oz.) container of Cool-Whip

Plastic cups or safe flower pots.

Place your Oreo cookies into a plastic bag and use a wooden hammer or rolling pin to crush them.

Make your chocolate pudding according to the package instructions.  When ready, add the Cool-Whip.

Next add about half of the bag of crushed Oreo cookies to the mixture.

Add some of the crushed cookies to the bottom of your cups or flower pots.

Next add your pudding mixture to the dessert cups.

Now to add your toppings.

Here I’ve added some candied gummy “worms”, some of our chocolate mint growing in our garden, some crushed peanuts and some of the crushed Oreo crumbs left in the bottom of the bag to look like dirt, hence the name, Dirt Cups.

If you like then why not add some flowers?  These are silk but you could add some edible flowers as well.

Oh, and keep refrigerated.

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An Aloe plant is a must for every household.  We keep a few of them in the front and backyard.  If either one of us gets too much sun at the beach, or if I get a burn when I’m cooking something, then I just snip off a portion of the plant and apply directly to the burn.  Instant relief!  I also think it promotes quicker healing.  

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Did you know that eating parsley with your meal helps to aid in digestion?  Why do you think restaurants would put it on your plate when they served your food?  For decoration?

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Sunday Night Garden Mojitos

I love spring here in Florida as it is always the perfect temperature to be outside.  Not too hot, not too cool, just right.  So we do tend to spend a lot of time outside, last night was no different.  Mojitos in the garden with our own mint and some farmer’s market blackberries that I picked up on Saturday.  Notice the pretty floral headband that I have around my glass?  It is a child’s headband that I picked up at the Dollar Tree, I thought it was cute but I would never use it if we had children here.  It was just me and Gordon so I placed it on the glass to distinguish which one was mine.  I do think that if a child were here and saw that it might temp the child to drink it.  So I don’t recommend making alcoholic drinks look “fun” when children are around.

In both photos top, you can see our mint.  In the photo top left in back of our little table you can see our spearmint, that mint was used in our mojitos.  In the photo top right, we have a big pot full of chocolate mint, great in drinks and desserts.  The old black metal chair belonged to my great-grandfather.  I think at one point it was red because red paint is showing through.  It’s old and rusty but I love it.

Mojitos aren’t that hard to make.  Just buy a ready made mix and add a good rum, some herbs and some berries.  We’re using a Shellback brand rum here.

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Photos I took in the backyard.

A Perfect Hibiscus

Those darned squirrels chewed most every rosa-senesis bud off one of my hibiscus plants so this called for desperate action on my part, I bought a fake falcon.   Now let’s see you go near this one!  I dare ya!

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Herbs make the perfect gift all year long especially for the holidays to use in cooking.  Here I’ve placed some thyme and chives into an old pot that used to house a poinsettia.  Looks wonderful!  Fresh herbs are also cancer killers.  Always try and use fresh over dry as often as you can.
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             Our Key Limes Make Such a Great Gift

Along with a good base mixture, our key limes also make great Limeade.  Cool and refreshing especially in this Florida heat!

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To all the beautiful gardeners out there who toil the land to bring us such goodies.

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December

A little touch of Christmas in the garden.

Okra

I did this a few years ago when Gordon was growing okra in our garden.  He was away for a few months with his job, and was not here to monitor our crop so it got very large.  You don’t want to grow okra over about 4 – 5 inches long.  This okra grew way to big. But instead of getting rid of it, I got the idea to bring it into the house and hang it up to dry out.

It dried beautifully!  So I painted some glitter paints onto them and then strung them together, added some pearl strands and some small ornamental balls.  I think they look lovely.

Whether they are hanging on our trellis outside or on our wall inside, they look very nice.  Another way to use okra besides in delicious recipes.

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Key Limes

Key limes from our tree.  We are going to have such a huge crop this year judging by the abundance of flowers we had on the tree.

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Here are the first that have come in, we took them over to our Canadian friends that were staying in the condo as a gift.

 

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Stay Healthy!

Julie and Gordon

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