Taking herbs to a new level

When you have a new puppy things get rearranged.


It is a bit like having a toddler, so all the herbs at the back door have been moved up a level and  popped into big pots or broken pots are stood on end to create  shields like little fences…


… a visual deterrent that moves the little pup along to the grass. Borage (which is kind of prickly, but a favourite of the bees, will grow up all around the base of the pots and in a month this will be full and lovely and edible. (And clean, out of reach of the pup and his naughtiness). They don’t tell you that when you get a puppy do they?! The peeing on the parsley thing! The rolling and playing in the thyme!


Now go on. Have a cup of coffee or tea. Relax.


With any luck it will be ridiculously busy tomorrow.

Good morning. It rained in the night. A lovely light rain. I know the farmers need it to dry out so they can get their enormous machines out onto the land but I love the rain, I love that our land is getting a thorough soaking and all those little underwater channels and streams and layers are getting full to over-flowing again. When there is a drought all we humans see is the top layer of damage, under this veneer that we wrestle for control over is an enormous system of water movement and soil and rock and gas development, a good flood is actually quite a natural ancient occurrence and part of this process.  Like overflowing a bucket to clean out the grunge.  We are just perchers on top of an extraordinary subterranean ecosystem.

I often notice on the side of the highways, these deep heavy unnatural structures that stretch like walls across the land, that after the rain there are huge ponds of stagnant water in the fields on either side of the roads, especially overpasses. Could it be that the upper streams of water, those flowing capillaries of movement have been stopped by these walls of rock and concrete and tar, the weight of cars pushing it further down with time. Maybe potholes are the earths revenge. Maybe the earth is saying I need a hole here, I need the drainage.  I wonder if roads actually inhibit and rupture the natural flow of water. I must do some reading and find out more. If this is the case then I should petition the county to leave my little road as a dirt road and line it with trees.  I know my basement is certainly in the way of an underground river!!

Of course this is why it is important to keep planting trees. Trees are another critical component in the jigsaw of movement and drainage and the natural underground recycling and cleansing of water. Actually my mind just jumped to a picture of us all leaping out into traffic all over the world and planting trees in the potholes!  (funny!)

I will be working on the Forest of the Fellowship this coming week.  Now that my back is feeling a little better.

You all have a wonderful, lovely relaxed day. It looks like we are going to have a wet one. Rain makes me love my bed.

Your sleepy friend, celi

65 Comments on “Taking herbs to a new level

  1. You are right Celi waterways do have a natural course and trying to change it is futile…good job your basement is natural. Had to laugh at puppy antics..they really are just like toddlers..into everything especially when your back is turned..but aren’t they adoreable anyway… lots of love to all at the farmy. And have a good day yourself.

    • We are having a good day patrecia, it is perfect gardening weather.. even with a puppy rolling about my heels as i work! I wish you a great day also! c

  2. ….and supermarket car-parks and people in towns concreting their front gardens to make a parking space. But humans have been messing up the environment since the first ones got up from all fours and walked upright. I jjust hope there will be something left that’s viable for our grandchildren and their children to live in.

    Sorry, I’m in grouchy mood – take no notice. Enjoy your relaxed wet Sunday.

    • That’s ok, but one does wonder about the legend of noahs ark, did the earth cleanse the world of filth with a big flood once before? c

  3. Good Morning,
    Based on personal observation the roads do hinder water movement through the soil. Roads trap water from natural drainage and prevent water from natural flooding. Also when old roads and railroads are reclaimed, the soil takes a long time to loosen up and regain productivity. When a road is built compaction is a key step in creating a sturdy, flat surface onto which the road is laid, so it makes sense that it would take the soil time to recover. Plus there is a fair amount of soil rearranging to make the built up surface happen. So where the road is/was could be a totally different type of soil than the surrounding area which means it could hold or release water in different ways than the dirt next to it.

    • That all makes perfect sense, Jeanne, thank you.. it is a subject worthy of discussion too.. especially out here where it is so flat… c

  4. You know what I love to pieces? A beautiful old fashioned weeping willow. Is there anything prettier than a willow at the edge of a pond/river/stream? I don’t think so. Here in Vancouver it’s not advised to plant weeping willows because their roots make a bee line for the water mains and cost folks a lot of money in repair, but in England, there I can let my green heart run free and plant all the willows I like. Funny story, mom wanted a weeping willow at the cabin by the edge of the pond. One year finally she bought one for $50 and we dutifully planted it where she could have the best view of it, and a beaver came round in the middle of the night and ate the whole little tree. 🙂 Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, plant willows! 🙂 And have a lovely, easy Sunday.

    • Oh NO!! naughty beaver.. that is a funny story, and yes absolutely i will plant weeping willows, I think that one of them should be your tree.. c

    • Every house I’ve ever lived in in two countries, I have planted a weeping willow in the garden and it has obliged with rapid growth and beautiful tears. Here in our last-but-one house, the willow was duly planted (even before the house was finished 7 years ago) but resolutely refuses to weep. Are we too nice to it, do you think?

      • Pat’s willow is not a weeper either Viv, though it is now covered in tiny green leaves in the shape of tiny green tears.. c

  5. God, I’ve missed you! Been working though, and that’s good for the soul in doses. I love the puppy (or poopy as I like to call them)…what is he? Our “puppy” died in December, and I am sorely feeling her absence. The next dog will without doubt be an abandoned one who needs a home. We eat a lot of borage in Italy. It’s yummy inside ravioli and you can even make a sort of “flour” out of it and mix it with egg and flour to make the pasta itself. But you probably already knew that. I love the way you say Good Morning half way through or at the end. It makes so much sense there. Take care, Celi.

    • Excellent i did not know that, i use it in salads and the flowers in cubes of ice, but I am going to investigate further.. thank you charlotte.. oh and your name sake is getting FAT!! i am feeling cautiously optimistic.. c

    • I’d love to know more about how to make borage “flour”- do you use the flowers? This is my first year growing it and I’m really looking forward to finding ways to use it!

      And I enjoyed reading the blog! Thank you!

  6. Which is why I have a gravel drive way, so the water can still sink in. I am on well water, so I need all the ‘sinking in ‘ of water I can get! There was an article not so long ago in a NJ paper (just after all the floods at Medford Lakes) that said that all the paved drive ways was causing towns and villages to flood that had never had the problem before.
    Love your herb plot. I like to grow lesser know herbs like Borage, and Lovage, most people stick to Parsley, Basil and Cilantro, but there are so many more. Have a wonderful Sunday, it is raining here today as well – which is wonderful as I spent all day yesterday planting!

    • Hit the post reply too quickly – should say Lyn not just ‘l’ LOL

      • Well that must confuse the heck out of you! Not sure where my original post went, but as i am having a strange kind of day I will quit before I mess things up completely and say “have a wonderful Sunday”. Lyn

    • That was a good article, there is also the problem with unscrupulous developers building houses and roads so close to waterways, selling everything for a big dollar then shrugging when the new houses get flooded, John has come across this many times in his job. He looks at it and shakes his head and says there is a reason why there was not a house there before you know.. I love Borage, and had lovage a few years ago then forgot about it, i must grab some seeds before it is too late! c

  7. I always feel like a nap on a rainy day. Our road isn’t paved either, but the road to our road was paved a few years back and I remember how lifeless the road felt afterwards. I kept thinking about all that had been smothered underneath. I mourned a puddle full of tadpoles in particular, but another one popped up soon after which made me feel better.

  8. i planted most of my vegetable garden this morning and just as i finished the rain began to fall. perfect! now the fun begins!

  9. I would have told you that puppies love herb beds if I’d thought of it. Herbs smell funny, dogs like things that smell funny. My eldest can’t help but roll in horse poo if she ever finds it. She gets very desperate to do so. Best of luck keeping him off all things that smell!

  10. Reminds me of a favorite song by Joni Mitchell. “Don’t it always seem to go, that we don’t know what we got till its gone, take Paradise, put up a parking lot…” Trees are amazingly good at purifying water. Some can even remove dangerous heavy metals and other nasty things. Your tree project is just what your land needs!

  11. The land to the West of us, leading to the Atlantic Ocean, is criss crossed with canals. The tiny serpentine roads that snake between the canals are forever crumbling and collapsing, due to water and the excavations of coypus and beavers, so have to be relaid every year or so with more tarmac. God knows how deep that thin blade of tar must stretch downwards. .

  12. In my enchanted world of Oswald, gentleman rabbit, he is busy planting trees. Wearing his coat, with the magic pocket filled with lovely green trees, he travels the word repairing the destruction humans have wrought on the planet. Oswald is a busy rabbit. V.

  13. Hello Miss C, I have a bee related question. Do you know how far bees travel to forage for food?
    I was about to weed some beds that have become overgrown with wild rocket and borage through the summer and they are swarming with bees ………..I’ll wait until the plants die down if you think the bees have come a long way to forage.

    • I believe they can travel up to three miles but do tend to stay within a mile or two from home,I think (though this tends to vary depending on food supply) those bees must be loving that overgrown corner of yours.. are they wild bees do you think? c

      • My Immediate neighbours don’t keep bees, so I assume they are wild bees. After your loss this winter I’m extra mindful of the bee visitors

        • I think you are lucky to be given some bees to feed at this juncture, I wonder where their hive is, do you think they are terribly short of feed?.. c

          • There are lots of plants in flower at the moment; as well as all the native species in full bloom. My thoughts are its party time? I have just had a quick walk in the garden and yes the rocket flowers are nodding with bees.

  14. Another herb crazy gardener here: oddly enough have not grown borage, lemon thyme being my great favourite. And heaps of different basils and garlic chives above all and Vietnamese mint for my Thai cooking 🙂 ! [Love TonTon’s lecture to the ‘little one; on top of the steps!!]

  15. I wasn’t home to comment yesterday about your blueberries but you might investigate Saskatoons. They’re blueberries but not really. They’re supposed to grow well in non acidic soil, I planted a couple last year but they’re still very small. I have tried to grow blueberries before with no luck at all, hopefully these Saskatoons will work. The only place I could find them was in the Gurney’s seed catalog.

    • Hmm, I will definitely keep this in mind, if I find a few i might pop them in anyway! thank you sherry.. c

  16. Concrete over gardens for parking and patios is such a problem here, that Auckland city requires a certain proportion to be of gravel or stones – and how they grumble.
    In Howick, concrete build-up with houses had become such a problem, that run-off was eroding our garden where a tiny stream had once been, and was now a mighty torrent pouring into the sea every time it rained – and that was water that once would have soaked into the ground.

    I’m sure herbs must be good for growing pups! Maybe he’s self-medicating !!!

    • I don’t know why I did not think of this before, poor you with a torrent, rushing water gouges out the land too.. c

      • Luckily, we moved! And now live on a cliff over-looking the sea, an hour north of Auckland…I just look sadly at hillsides in some places , where all the trees have gone, and over-grazing with sheep has now caused erosion… man’s use of the land seems to cause trouble every which way, unless it’s the way you are farming in what sounds like God’s Little Acre!….

  17. Dont talk about potholes – our road is gravel but the local sealed roads are forever developing pot holes, As soon as the local council patches the holes it rains again and the holes appear ad nauseum. Some locals have painted around them, they look like a fish with the pothole in the middle, which helps us to avoid driving into them and some of them are quite decorative 🙂 Joy

  18. This post gave me a broad smile. I had to rearrange much of my house when Max arrived. Just last week, for the first time, I put a roll of fresh toilet paper on the holder and it has remained there. He’s growing up and it only took 5 years! Let’s hope Blue takes a faster route. 🙂

  19. Glad you are feeling better!
    Right now I’ll take the rain, too. (when I was little there was an old old farmer next door who used to keep a close eye on the amount of rain: he would bring his mules to the barn saying he didn’t want them to get stuck in the mud…he wasn’t kidding. Mud could get that deep and sticky. We were glad he had those mules – used them a couple of times to pull the car from the house to the road which was red dirt, not mud….but once we did have to park along the hard surfaced highway and walk down the dirt road to the soggy knee deep muddy “driveway”to the house…dad had gravel hauled in for the driveway after that. Rural living is always an adventure – shame so many don’t get to experience it and learn what it teaches?

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