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Bringing in the leaves . . . .

Late November in Oklahoma. The freezes are on their way. It is inevitable but unpredictable. Most herbs will survive a light brief freeze with the exception of basils. Basils are long gone. See my blog about basils being a "summer love". The two herbs that had not been brought in from my herb garden were Bay Laurel and Lemongrass. Lots of the "iffy" herbs stay close to the greenhouse and come in when the summer starts to wane and the fall is full on. Some of these are "Sweet" lavender, Mexican Mint Marigold, Copper Canyon Marigold. The sides are back on the greenhouse. This is a picture of the greenhouse early spring where the sides were still on and the shade cloth is on the top. The sides come off in the summer. The shade cloth comes off in the winter. The Bay laurel comes in to the greenhouse for the winter having more than doubled its size. It will transition well and thrive coming in. It needs about an inch bigger diameter pot, clay being ideal to do well indoors till spring. The lemongrass gets "divided" and will double its size again inside.

This is a picture of my herb garden. My herb garden is my version of herb gardening. It is a classic four corner keyhole path, central planter design. It has sections dedicated to "fragrance and posterity", everlastings for dried herb purposes, culinary and medicinal/tea. It is planted in a "knot" pattern of interlocking hearts that transition from green to gray in keeping with the corner themes. I give full credit for the design to Debbie Tripp of Rosemary Hill Herb Farm. She was knee deep in mud marking it off and elbow deep in "fruit of the vine" to keep her working. It is planted with plants that are evergreen, show in the winter in the snow. It has a corner planting that will anchor the corners giving some height. Each corner has an offering for the birds. Bird feeders, bird watering dishes, bird houses and more. Posterity corner has my great grandmother, Caroline Bucher 's barditch antique rose on a trellis. The everlasting corner has had several different plants the latest being Tansy which should gain some height eventually. The culinary corner has a fig tree. The medicinal / tea corner has a redbud and elderberries. Between the corners there are 3 large decorative clay pots that hold an herb that will segue' to the next corner. Between fragrance and everlasting is a miniature rose. Roses are multi taskers, fragrant and used dried in sachets, teas and more. Between everlasting and culinary is the Bay laurel. Bay can be used for decoration and potpourri as well as seasoning. Between the culinary and medicinal/tea is the lemongrass. Lemongrass can be used in flavoring soups and stir fry and also made into a truly remarkable tea to benefit your health. The lemongrass and bay laurel have to leave the winter garden and survive in the greenhouse or house to be able to serve again next year. My herb garden is obviously a source of creative pursuit. Its a place of refuge and resources. It is protected from the "critters" that come and go and truly beautiful to see from my kitchen window. I know all this planning and planting is maybe a little over-thought but it keeps me off the streets.

Lemongrass can be divided and repotted. Trim the tops and the roots, use a sharp pair of garden scissors if needed. The leaves can be tied up with kitchen string and dropped into soups. The base just above the roots can be added to stir fry. These leaves have been trimmed down which will encourage the plant to thicken at the base. Its also quite beneficial in teas even having been found to have anti-cancer properties.

This is my Bay laurel I brought in for the winter. I plan to trim it back to a good height so that it will branch out. This bay is 2 to 3 years old, as tall as myself. (5 feet tall.) I put one of the year old bays with it for comparison. If allowed to grow without the cutting back it would continue to grow very tall. I plan to use the cut branch for tea, soup, decoration. It will enjoy being in the greenhouse for the winter. Bay can be prone to scale. This is a sticky situation. The leaves get shiny, the scale is found on the back side of the leaf on the ribs. Use rubbing alcohol it comes right off. This is a common problem with Bay. Easily fixed.

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