Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Herbs and bulbs

Hello! Thank you to everyone who has entered my Friendship Giveaway. I'm glad to see that people are interested in winning my hand-sewn needle books. It's not a fancy prize, but it comes straight from my heart. If you haven't already entered, please do so by April 14, when the entry period will close.


Back in February, the small Bears and I planted herb seeds together. We chose to plant chives and basil, thinking that both will be good to eat when they're mature. We used these little tin pots I picked up in a thrift shop for 69 cents apiece. They've been great little pots, I'm so glad I found them. They're water-tight (though I did put some plastic yogurt-tub lids, along with a layer of paper towel, under each of them just in case), they have sturdy plastic liners with drainage holes, and they're adorable. What's not to like? They sit in a sunny east-facing window in our breakfast nook. We don't have to do much with them, but we have taken photos of the seedlings' growth and written down dates and observations and all that. There's a lot to learn from little plants.


I'm so happy they grew. The chives smell just like chives are supposed to smell. I tasted a tiny snip and the flavor is mild, but decidedly chivey. The basil seedlings' leaves are almost heart-shaped, which is fitting because I heart basil.

I've only grown plants from seed a handful of times in my life. We did it fairly often in elementary school; I remember being called a few at a time to a table where the teacher had a little planting station set up. I remember marigolds. I also remember learning the word "germinate" during one of these planting sessions. I thought the teacher said "Germany." I had one of those 1000-piece Big Ben jigsaw puzzles that depicted a street scene in Germany, with red geraniums in window-boxes up and down the street. The red geraniums were my favorite thing about the picture (I still adore red geraniums) and it all made sense in my mind. Geranium-germinate-Germany...see what I mean?


Maybe it's because we have chickens now, with their shockingly speedy growth, but this spring I'm feeling much more attuned to small things growing around me. I think it also has to do with the fact that we've had a more normal spring than we had last year, when there were late freezes and inevitable plant damage. The tulips never bloomed at all, to my dismay. They're my favorite flowers and I look forward to ours every year. This year, in a burst of hopefulness, I planted a big bag of bulbs in different parts of the yard, mostly in the back. I also planted grape hyacinths, just because they're pretty. But the tulips - wow! I'm so glad I added more. Did you see Helen's post this week, sharing her tulip cutting patch? I want one too! I will have to do some research on just how many bulbs to plant to achieve this. I'm lost in tulip fantasies right now! It would be a wonderful addition to my backyard planters.


We have tulips, irises and sweet little grape hyacinths in our backyard. This is a sampler of what I'm seeing right now. The reddish-orange tulips, seen above and in this collage, were planted by some previous owner of the house. They've bloomed well most years since we've lived here. The rest were planted by me this fall. I used one of those variety bags of bulbs, because I couldn't decide which type I wanted to plant. There are many of these short-stemmed types; I especially love the one that has pink and white marbling on its petals. There were some tall yellow ones which already bloomed and withered and there was a medium-height orange one too. Do you remember when I shared the weird, grayish shoots a couple of weeks ago? The photo in the lower left is one of them, as it looks right now. The petals are just beginning to peek out, a dark pink shade. I'd been hoping for an exotic species, like the black ones, but this is good. Pink is always welcome around here.


If you look closely, you can see iris buds just beginning to show themselves. We have lots and lots and lots of irises in our backyard. They were planted by a previous owner too. I wrote about them last year, when they were just past their peak. I like the irises, but I don't feel as though I really get them. They're pretty, but they seem temperamental. Tulips, I get. Tulips are simple. They're just cheery and bright. This is why I want more of them; I already have all the irises I can handle, possibly more. But: they bloom for weeks, and they add a lot of color to the backyard. There should be a few in bloom soon, just another week or so. Then I'll bring them inside to be displayed in a vase, their strange, spicy scent filling the house, their gooey nectar dripping onto the table below. I will enjoy them, reluctantly.


 But you, tulip - oh, I love you so!

36 comments:

  1. It's all happening in your garden right now! I adore tulips too but have never grown any because of the cheeky Kangaroos and Possums. Your little herbs are super sweet - nothing better than some fresh chives sprinkled on scrambled eggs, yummy :-) Mel x

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  2. That's my plan for the garden is some herb pots as something that I will enjoy and have the time for. I've bought six from the garden centre - 2 are streaking ahead, 2 are doing ok, one is ailing and the other is crispy -Same care, same space etc! Hope your ratio of live to crispy is better than mine.

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  3. I like to grow herbs amongst the flowers in the beds here Jennifer, most have beautiful flowers and foliage and enhance the planting.

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  4. Hey Jennifer,

    You may have gathered that I love tulips too. Yours are very pretty. It's a shame that they don't last longer, but they are such a joy and they herald Spring with a great fanfare. I have some Iris too, but I'm not so keen. And I have planted my herbs in the flower beds, like Anne. Wonderful for pollinators too.

    Leanne xx

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  5. Such a happy post! I love seeing things grow and tulips are one of my favorites. I wish they lasted longer. :)

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  6. How lovely to your seeds sprouting and growing! I always think it's one of the most exciting times in gardening :)

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  7. Germany, geranium, germinate…all very good

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  8. That IS a really beautiful Tulip !

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  9. Lovely flowers and great photo's. My garden has a bit of dead rosemary.....

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  10. Your garden sounds absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, I don't see tulips where I live :( but saw them on our last trip to the east coast. Soooo pretty!!

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  11. Everything in your garden is looking lovely Jennifer, and I do understand your love of tulips, they are so elegant. It's also a pleasure to see your little herbs growing so well - so gratifying for the Bears! I enjoyed your little chat on geraniums - isn't it funny how we misunderstand words sometimes as kids but then later on some of them seem to make good sense anyway! Joy xo

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  12. I love that you got those pots from the thrift store....what a great place to find some at a great price!!! And I do so enjoy tulips as well! Yours are beautiful! SO rich in color!!! Outstanding friend and a wonderful week to you! Nicole xoxo

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  13. Jennifer, if you don't already read Jane Brocket's blog Yarnstorm, you might especially enjoy doing so, because she really loves tulips and plants masses of bulbs so that she can cut lots of tulips to bring indoors to enjoy, too. I did not eat at the Giant Artichoke, but I did see the restaurant and I just posted a little photo of the sign...from afar for you. xx

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  14. Jennifer, beautiful tulips. I absolutely love tulips.-They are so pretty.

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  15. A tulip cutting patch sounds like a wonderful idea. I adore tulips, they are just so pretty. I am sorry yours did not grow last spring. Well done for your herb growing. The bears will learn lots making their observations, my children have done something similar at school recently. :)

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  16. Your tulips are wonderful. I think they may be my favourite flower! We're growing herbs too. BigR is fascinated by germination! x

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  17. The tulips in my garden are just starting to bloom too. They're ones which were in the garden when we moved here over twenty years ago, but they still keep on blooming. As for the irises, I only have the reticulatas in my garden, but I love them. My grandma had lots in her garden and they always remind me of her.

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  18. My tulips are poking through with buds but not quite in flower yet. Those are real beauties. Jo x

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  19. Another delightful post Jennifer! Your little pots from the thrift shop are perfect for starting seeds...and all the pictures of what's sprouting around your garden made me smile. I was just cleaning out my back garden yesterday. Things are just starting to pop up all over the place! Have fun watching your garden grow! xo ♥

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  20. I "heart" basil too - but I mostly "heart" it when a sweet mommy gathers her little chicks (the human ones!) and gives them the fun experience of gardening right at home, in their own window sill. I guess you have the option of replanting outside later. Your chive plant may live forever out there. I have one that won't go away and I am famous for murdering anything with green leaves - both inside and out!
    I am going to use your idea with my grandkids! Thank you!

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  21. I love watching the teeniest seeds and oddest looking bulbs transform into beautiful herbs and flowers! I love the excitement and expectation of teeny sprouts...Chrissie x

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  22. Such pretty tulips! When I see them I know that Spring is truly here!

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  23. I can't even imagine growing tulips from a bulb that spring up in the warmer weather. We can't grow them here and I miss them so only store bought for me.
    Hugs to you Jennifer,
    Meredith

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  24. Beautiful flowers, love to watch things grow.

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  25. I wish I had some tulips in my yard. Yours are gorgeous! I am planting some wildflowers from seed this year, and I am so excited to watch them grow.

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  26. I'm happy for you that your tulip are doing well. Remember all my tulips that were coming up? They are all rotten! I guess the last freeze that we have ruined the buds that were up. What a disappointment! I have 2 iris colors and both are un-exciting - beige and a simple purple one. I bought a bag of mixed and I'll never do that again. Can you imagine beige irises? LOL! Enjoy your chives, I just love my pot of them. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  27. We can't grow Tulips in Sydney as it doesn't get cold enough. Glad yours are growing.

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  28. I share your love for tulips, they might be my favourite flower. Spring bulbs make the most rewarding flowers, so colourful and they look as good picked in a vase as they do in the garden. X

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  29. I love to see the progress of your plants - from a photo a while back of newly emerging leaves to a fully flowering tulip! Lush. I plan to spend time planting some seeds tomorrow which will hopefully flower in the summer. I do so love to have flowers around but I can settle for your photos for now! J9 x

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  30. Gorgeous tulips really enjoyed this post
    Clare x

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  31. Your tulips are looking really good Jennifer!! Hope that the bears enjoy their gardening projects too!! xx

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  32. Your tulips look amazing, the colours are lovely. I also love herbs and have grown a lot from seed, I have quite a wide variety of mints that grow like wild fire if not controlled. Have a good weekend.

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  33. I adore tulips too, but I'm also a fan of irises ... and ridiculously we have neither in the garden this year (we normally have tulips but I lifted them and forgot to put them back). I think that like you, having seen Helen's tulip cutting patch, I now aspire to one. Next year.

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  34. Your tulips are gorgeous and make me look forward to mine finally coming into bloom. :-) Herbs such as chives and basil are very easy to grow from seed and there's such a sense of satisfaction in cutting your own fresh herbs. Enjoy!

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  35. So lovely to watch things grow successfully. I don't know that I've ever grown anything from seed. I even have some grass seed for cats. I should see if it will still work. I love how geranium - germinate - Germany all made sense as a young thing. So cute! Those orange/pink tulips are just stunning. I am back from a wonderful walk where I saw all sorts of plants and flowers -- nothing like the artificial walking path that makes me shake my head every time I go by. Best wishes, Tammy

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