I have often wondered if the combination of these Scarborough Fair herbs in the traditional folk song, adapted by Simon and Garfunkel in 1966, was simply lyrical or a lost recipe for a marvelously concocted love potion. The parsley, rosemary, thyme referred to in the popular song lyric are garden favorites and each fall my rosemary plant migrates to the basement to continue producing under a timed gro-light.
As botanical siblings neither sage nor mint are among my triumvirate of favorite herbs – basil, oregano, and thyme. This summer’s sage was planted simply as a decorative variation in the greenery among my herbal pots. But, because I have it, I am drying a handful of leaves from my back door crop to preserve a touch of this summer’s wealth. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “in medieval Europe, sage was thought to strengthen the memory and promote wisdom” so it may be good for something other than Thanksgiving stuffing.
The potted herbs clustered around the backdoor are mid-summer hearty and offer a veritable Pantone spectrum from dusty silver sage to vibrant Genovese basil – my version of “50 shades of green.”
The basil crop is the best I have ever grown although, as to what might be different, I cannot claim credit as a variety of factors are equal – bought at same greenhouse as previous years, planted in the large Italian terracotta pot that formerly held a St. Thomas, V.I. lime tree from Dad, and tucked under the wind chimes on the left side of the doorway. Every day with easy morning sun and cool afternoon shade.
In an attempt to capture the lazy summer day in a jar, this morning’s task included harvesting and drying fresh basil. Great for aromatic hearty winter stews or tasty marinara sauce garnished pasta.
Happy Gardening and Bon Appétit!
PS – Ever the librarian, my backdoor crop in alpha order: basil, bay leaf, dill, nasturtiums (although technically not an herb but an edible flower – both leaf and blossom), oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.
This morning’s harvest. Our six 4-foot squares (definitely not filled to capacity ala Mel Bartholomew’s methodology) are keeping us in fresh vegetables. Add to that the pots of herbs on the screened porch and we have freezer stashes of freshly simmered marinara sauce and zucchini chocolate chip bread to enjoy in the chilly months.