I’m not bragging. Really I am not. Last week’s Tea on Tuesday overflowed with winter blues (greys) and blahs. I wished I could send sunshine and warmth to each of you and lift your spirits. For the time being Southeast Mississippi is being blessed with glorious, sunshiny weather. Today I am sharing some of my warm sunshine. This morning I worked outside with herbs until lunchtime and enjoyed a light lunch in the sunshine. I stand amazed at what a good dose of natural vitamin D will do for a girl’s mood, and I hope you can visually soak up a little of my beautiful, not too hot, sunshine that promises to head your way soon in the pictures I share. Most are pictures of the herbs I worked with…sprucing up this year’s new growth and transplanting new.
Before getting started playing with rich soil and fragrant herbs sheets hit the line to flap in the warm sunshine and gentle breeze. There’s nothing quite relaxing as the smell of linens that hanged on the line to dry in the fresh air…thinking about it makes me want to go crawl in the bed and take a nap.
Catnip is one of the herbs I grow to use in medicinal infusions and blended teas. Of all my catnip plants from years past this one looks the happiest today. It’s growing in a chicken waterer that leaked and would have been discarded without my intervention. My favorite containers are unique.
Another new growth plant that seem thrilled to be alive is my garlic chives. They look so perfect I hate to start cutting them, but they’ll taste wonderful chopped on a hot baked potato and in salads and add delicate flavor when cooked into so many dishes.
Of all my periannuals my most beloved are stevia plants and lemongrass. Both are desparately difficult to obtain in this area. They also both take a VERY long time to grow from seed.
Stevia is hardy in southeast Mississippi, but lemongrass is not. Each spring I keep an eye out for the stevia to peek out when our weather begins to warm, and I shelter it during any cold snaps we have. It’s not uncommon for our temps to drop back down below freezing until after Easter so tender plants are easily lost up until then. Throughout the growing season I give stevia plants good haircuts and dry all I cut for use in tea blends.
The first year I grew lemongrass I set one plant out in the ground and a second in a large, deep pot. The one in the pot over-wintered in the laundry room and just barely made it. After a year of “recovery time” it boasts only a few blades. I covered the one in the ground with a thick bed of pinestraw and all was well through the winter. When the weather warmed early like now it emerged, healthy and full. During the first deep cold snap I lost it. Thankfully my favorite local nursery gets a few plants a year, and I managed to make a visit while they still had three. I bought them all even though I felt really greedy and almost guilty as I claimed them. Lemongrass adds nice lemon flavor to tea blends and recipes. I won’t overwinter these in the ground and will make sure they are happy with their indoor winter home. I’m hoping we can add a greenhouse to our place before the end of this summer growing season.
While I played with herbs and soaked up the golden rays I took several pictures, but since I waited so late in the day to post my tea Tuesday, I’m fast forwarding to my much needed lunch break. My tea selection wasn’t fancy, but it was perfect paired with fresh, Louisiana strawberries. Lemon Lift is one of my favorite afternoon/evening teas. The rich black tea flavored with natural lemon lives up to it’s name. I’m enjoying a second “mug” as I compose this post.
These bad boys have enjoyed their day, too. It would just be wrong not to share them with you. Aren’t they gorgeous?
I know reading my tea post is not quite like “being there”, but I do hope it renews your hope that spring really is just around the corner…If you enjoy tea, check out Kimmie’s blog Art In Red Wagons home of Tea on Tuesday and follow the links to read more wonderful tea posts. You’ll be glad you did.
Until next time…
I got nasty habits; I take tea at three. ~ Mick Jagger, Live with Me ~