I feel a little bad showing this picture, given Rev Mama’s basil challenges, yet here is our herb garden in all of it’s basil-filled glory. Other things are there too, they just aren’t quite as bossy and bold as the basil.
Now that the weather is cooler I will soon take the shears to the herb garden, cut all of this back, and bring a few things inside to hopefully survive until Spring. Even before we had our house and our small garden, I dreamed of an herb garden that would provide a summer’s bounty of beautiful garnishes, homemade pesto, and roasted chickens fragrant with herbs I had snipped just seconds before.
When my dad was at our house on Memorial Day (his birthday this year), he was helping us with a drainage problem in the yard. To spruce up the newly shoveled dirt when he finished, he created a little bed with some ornamental plants. I also told him we wanted to plant an herb garden, and when I was at work the next day, he bought Basil, Lavender, Thyme, Sage, Dill, and Rosemary and planted them beside the house for us. A co-worker gave me some mint, and I added that too.
The herbs all looked so small and fragile at first, struggling to survive in the drought , the summer sun, and the Georgia red clay. I would gently snip off a leaf or two of basil to put on homepage pizza. PL and I would pick a single leaf of mint each as we passed the garden when beginning our evening walk, inhale it’s freshness and savor it’s taste as we headed down the street with the dog. One day I felt daring and cut off large branches of sage and thyme to season a chicken I was roasting. Soon though, we saw the herbs needed very little care or gentleness to thrive, and we just left it to do it’s thing. We let things bloom and go to seed. The sage staged a hostile takeover of the mint’s property, and stole it’s sun. The thyme gave up it’s fight against the basil and hugged close to the ground, mingled with clover and grass that crept into the bed.
Fall is my favorite season, but it also comes with a little sadness that winter will soon arrive with the cold and darkness I so dislike. That sadness is also mixed with regret that the herb garden I imagined, and the kindness of my dad for creating it as a surprise, was not used or appeciated enough. Last night though, as we felt the chill in the air and picked what may be the last tomatoes, I snipped a bouguet of each of the herbs to take to a friend’s house, and gathered up the freshest looking basil leaves I could find.
This is the result.
Red and yellow heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil from the herb garden, topped with fresh mozzarella from milk that we churned from the cow that we own….well not that part. I did get the good stuff from the farmer’s market floating in the whey (20% off even).