Some books make you laugh, some books make you cry, and some books want you to carry them around with you. Judy Lowe’s latest book, Herbs! is a carry-around-with-you book. Not only will you learn where to plant that new herb you are going to try, you will see a photo and can look it up to see if it will become a thug if let loose in your garden.
Which herbs are best propagated by cuttings? Judy supplies a list. Which herbs did Shakespeare mention? Which herbs are mentioned in the bible? There are lists.
The book is more than easy to use lists, though. So much more. There is an extensive accounting of herbs and their growing requirements. There are also wonderful little tidbits of information next to the herb photographs. Did you know, “Because the odor of feverfew is said to repel bees, it’s usually not planted near plants, such as tomatoes, that need bees for pollination.” It’s in Herbs! Creative Garden Themes and Projects.
There is a section on fragrance. For those who spend their days indoors and visit their gardens in the evening, there is a piece on mixing night-blooming flowers with your herbal garden. Do you only have a patio or small deck? Check out the herbs suited to growing in containers. One of my favorites is the magical garden listing, A Harry Potter Herb Garden, herbs that might be at home at Hogwarts. Two on the list are fennel to ward off witches and horseradish to ensure prosperity, great fun for children (and adults who want to impress them.)
I have always loved pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) in my flower border. The leaves are luscious to crush as I walk along the patch. It is also a late bloomer, sending up deep scarlet red flower spikes in late fall when there is not much going on in the flower beds. Judy suggests using it for tea and in potpourri. And, she tells you how to make both.
Right now, many of us are thinking about preserving what we have grown. One of my favorite garnishes is herbal salt. It can be a little pricey at the store. Judy tells us how to process fresh herbs and sea salt to make wonderful homemade gifts for our friends. Speaking of gifts, Herbs!Creative Garden Themes and Projects would make a fine present for anyone on your list who loves to cook or who loves to garden. Crafty people will benefit from its pages, too.
Judy is not a Johnny-come-lately to the gardening world. Her career in garden writing began at the Chattanooga Times-Free Press where she wrote for more than twenty years. Following that, she joined the Christian Science Monitor in Boston as an Editor where she still blogs and edits other writer’s blogs, my own included, for the Christian Science Monitor’s Diggin’ It site she created.
Through the years, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Garden Writer’s Association including two years as President. This past summer Judy was presented with the highest honor the Garden Writer’s Association can bestow. She was inducted into the GWA Hall of Fame. She also has her own blog at herbthemegardens.com.
Judy Lowe has shared so much of her knowledge and so many ideas in this book. It could be the only book you need to become an herbal expert! Published by Cool Springs Press, look for Herbs! Creative Garden Themes and Projects at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and local book sellers. Follow Anne K Moore and Linda Weiss as they blog at Diggin’ It at the Christian Science Monitor website.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow Nursery
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners/ColorChoice Shrubs
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