On Mother’s Day, 2011, my children and husband gave me a gift that will always keep on giving: an Herb Garden, which they dug out in front of Garden 1 (G1) . It was a wonderful present and with their combined muscle, it was created in one day. Here it is about a month afterward; the Yarrow in G1 is in full bloom behind the Herb Garden.
I planted rosemary in the center of the Herb garden with basil behind and tarragon in the front, oregano at the far left and thyme at the far right, Italian parsley to one side, and cilantro to the other, with some mint thrown in for good measure. I didn’t plant a lot of mint knowing it would take over the garden soon enough. But, I admire the tenacity of mint, and whenever it gets out of hand and I have to yank it out of the places it does not belong, I console myself with the fact that it makes a nice iced tea.
The basil in the photo soon exploded, giving us a bumper crop. And so our four children decided they would make pesto one day. They weighed the pros and cons of several recipes and finally chose one, adjusting as they went. They blanched the basil to a perfect green, then added garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and tangy Pecorino Romano (non-traditional, we know, but it is our go-to cheese because of its tang). By the time they had parceled out the resulting sauce into freezer bags for future meals, the kitchen was in need of some attention. But I would make that trade any day. Their efforts yielded a lot of pesto, the last of which made an appearance (and then a disappearance) last week, almost a year later. Pasta with Pesto and Pan-Grilled Chicken (with some cherry tomatoes for color) is a family favorite, though the last batch was used for Salmon with Pesto in Puff Pastry. Luckily, this year’s basil is growing nicely, so I will remind the children of what a wonderful job they did last year….
The one herb I have not mentioned yet actually deserves a special mention. In each corner of the herb garden, I planted Hidcote Lavender, in honor of Hidcote Manor Garden in England, an absolutely lovely National Trust property near Stratford-upon-Avon. If you ever find yourself in that part of the world, do stop there; it will be well worth the visit. In the meantime, take a look at this blog.
Hidcote Lavender is a smaller variety, with a wonderful fragrance. And it is gorgeous. Here is a close up of the lavender this year: