Carolee's Herb Farm

Carolee's Herb Farm

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Carolee’s July E-newsletter

     The summer is passing so quickly!  I’m enjoying the month of July.   I always feel so blessed this month, with the 4th of July reminding us how lucky we are to live where we do, watching the wheat fields turn golden, the corn skyrocketing to the sky.  It’s a time of abundance, as I spend hours picking black raspberries and gooseberries, harvesting the first cucumbers, peppers, peas and tomatoes.  The flower gardens always seem so abundant now, too, with all the lavender, daylilies and phlox blooming.
      Our family from Germany is home for a visit, so we had a big family gathering at my mother’s.  We’ll be off to spend some time with them at a lake cottage in Michigan right after Lavender Daze.  See more about my grandkids in the garden in the recipe below.

LAVENDER DAZE-July 11th & 12th

     We are excited to the author of “A Taste of Lavender-A Guide to Cooking with Lavender”, Debbie Cook from southern Ohio as our guest speaker for Lavender Daze.  Debbie will be showing you several wonderful recipes using lavender, and she’ll be happy to sign books throughout the festival.
     Other presentations will be “Twenty Way to Save Money with Herbs,” “Crafting with Lavender,” and “Growing Lavender Successfully.”  We’ll also be serving Lavender Tea (from Harrod’s in England) or Lavender Punch and Lavender Shortbread Cookies, our gift to those of you who love lavender as much as we do.  And, you can make a pretty lavender-filled flower pin in the Make It/Take It area.
     Vendors will spill across the lawn, and the gardens will be available for self-guided tours.  Be sure to visit the Herbal Country Cottage and the Big Barn Gift Shop.  We have lots of new lavender items, including our new lavender T-shirts, lavender mugs, lavender bags and lavender jelly.  Kay and Abby have been making beautiful lavender wreaths and we’ll have a selection of lavender wands, or you can make your own wand during one of the classes ($5 fee). 
     Experience the aromatherapy of picking your own bundle of lavender from our fragrant field.  It’s purple heaven!  U-Pick is only $5.  There’s so many ways to use a bunch of lavender, and we’ll be happy to give you lots of ideas!
     Hours are 10-4 each day.  Admission and Parking are free.  Come spend the day, bring a picnic and a friend or two!  Check the schedule of events on the website.

U-Pick Lavender
With all the sunshine, the lavenders came into bloom early, and we are busy with the harvest.  You can see the bunches hanging in the fragrant barn.  Now, the lavandins are beginning to bloom, so there will be U-pick lavender available (while blooms last)  for a few more weeks.  Right now we are picking Grosso and Hidcote Giant.  If you want to pick lavender, come soon.  We have garden clubs that pick and dry lavender for their plant sales, brides that pick for wedding decorations and groups that pick to take small bouquets into nursing homes.  Some ladies pick bunches to make into lavender wands for Christmas gifts, wedding favors, or gifts for secret pals. 

JULY 25—Daylily Day

     The daylilies began blooming early this year, but we have taken photos of all our varieties for easy ordering.  Saturday, July 25th is the only day we will actually dig daylilies from our gardens and production rows.  Choose from dozens of colorful, reliable bloomers ($3.00 each) , fill out an order form, and we will dig & bag them while you browse in the shop or visit the display gardens.  Or, you can select potted plants in the sales area.  We’ll have lots of new varieties including a beautiful rose daylily that is highly fragrant, a fragrant white, several rebloomers, and some gorgeous daylilies with contrasting eyezones and picotee edges. 
         If we still have daylilies in bloom, we’ll serve some daylily goodies, too.

“Little Lamb” Hydrangea
     Last year, I planted a hydrangea called “Little Lamb,” partly because I just liked the name, and partly because I needed more shrubs in the Moonlight Garden.  By the end of summer, I knew I wanted more of them!   I called our shrub grower and told him I wanted all he had!
    “Little Lamb” was developed by a plant breeder in Belgium.  He thought the flowers looked like Little Lambs on a green hillside.  It produces huge flowers, and lots of them.  Most of the flowers are much larger than my hand, a pine-cone shaped bloom of creamy white blossoms.  I picked several last year and hung them to dry in the barn.  To my delight, they dried beautifully.  A typical flower had shades from cream through pale pink to deep rose!  Clip them when they are fully open and hang to dry in a dark, airy place.                         
     Little Lamb is carefree to grow.  Plant it in full sun.  Give it good loose soil with decent drainage.  I gave mine a good layer of mulch after I planted it, and it came through this challenging winter unscathed.   Little Lamb is reported to be more drought tolerant than other hydrangeas, and mindless of soil Ph.  It isn’t fussy at all.  Always clip off all the faded flowers, and give it a light pruning right after flowering so more branching will occur.  Little Lamb blooms only on new wood, so don’t prune it in spring.  Pruning in late autumn can cause a burst of new growth that will be susceptible to winter kill, so avoid that.  I’m planting any that are left when I get back from Lake Michigan, so if you want one, get it soon!
In the garden:
     It’s time to cut off the stalks of Lambs Ears & lemon balm, unless you want them to self-seed all over the garden and paths. 
     Cut off daylily seed pods as they form.  Making seeds drains lots of energy that the plant could use to make more flowers or stronger root systems.  Most of the daylilies are hybrids, so the seed won’t come true to type anyway.
     Be sure to feed hanging baskets, containers and window boxes.  The 3-month time release fertilizer may be “used up” and regular fertilizers will have been “washed out”, so they are hungry.
      Basil & parsley will appreciate a light side dressing of compost or fertilizer now.
      Remember the caterpillars you see on parsley, dill, and fennel will become butterflies so don’t disturb, squash, or spray them!
     Keep Japanese beetle bags emptied!  We aren’t seeing as many this year, and I believe it is because we have captured thousands in the past three years in our beetle traps.
If you haven’t signed up for workshops, check the schedule and do it now.  Take advantage of our special events while you can!


     I have to admit, marjoram is probably the culinary herb I use least.  I like to look at its knotted little ends, I like to rub the leaves and sniff its aroma, but I have trouble thinking of it as a pleasant ingredient in recipes.  It’s scent is too “perfumey,” too pungent, too piercing to me.  So, I decided to at least experiment to become more familiar with this traditional herb.  After all, if it has been cherished and used in cooking for centuries, it must taste good!
     Marjoram is a native of Asia, southern Europe and North Africa.  Tradition says that it goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks, and that Venus was the first person to use marjoram, taking it from the deep oceans to the top of the highest mountain so it would be as close to the sun as possible.  I have no idea why, so don’t ask me.  Apparently the word marjoram means “pearl” and the names Marjorie and Margaret came from the word marjoram.  You can learn all kinds of things when you study herbs!
     Greek physicians used it for a variety of purposes, especially for colds, cramps and digestive disorders.  Used in a tea, it was prescribed for nervous headaches, to relieve morning sickness, to eliminate bad breath, and as a spring tonic.
     Marjoram is an ingredient in many basic herb blends used throughout Europe.  One of the most common is 1 part marjoram, 1 part thyme and 2 parts sage.  Marjoram is generally used in salads, omelets, sauces, scones, dumplings, biscuits, on buttered vegetables, fish and poultry dishes.  I also found recipes for marjoram jelly.
     To me, marjoram has a strong, penetrating flavor, so I began to use it sparingly.  This dish started with my visiting grandchildren.  We introduced them to the joys of picking pea pods, opening them, and popping the fresh peas right into your mouth!  Needless to say, it was a joy to watch!  So, with lots of fresh peas, and a leftover grilled pork chop this salad was born.  I think it is going to become a family favorite!  

Grilled Pork Salad with Marjoram
1 ½ c. diced grilled pork  1 apple, diced
2 c. cooked peas, cooled  1 T. finely chopped marjoram
¼ c. chopped red onion  ½ c. mayonnaise
Freshly ground pepper  ½ c. chopped walnuts, optional
Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients.  Chill for 30 min. and serve.  Serves 4.

*************E-coupon—Valid  through Aug 11th, 2009**************
20% off any wind chime from the Barn Gift Shop
  Cannot be combined with other discounts. 
****************E—coupon—Valid through Aug 11th, 2009****
10% off any item from the Herbal Country Cottage!
 Cannot be combined with other discounts.
****************E—coupon—Valid through Aug 11th, 2009*********************
Parsley Sale! Buy 1 plant at regular price, get another free!
Choose from many varieties.  Cannot be combined with other discounts.