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In my garden…

Basil

I’m a little late getting to the garden this year, but this weekend I finally got a few herbs planted in the beds around our house. I’m thrilled to finally have some fresh herbs growing, I can’t tell you how much I miss them in the winter!

Basil. I love you.

Sage

Sage. It’s a first for me this year, but I plan on using it tons, especially in this Browned Butter Ravioli with toasted walnuts and fried sage. I am completely bewitched with fried sage. It’s lovely with chicken and pasta. You should try it. Definitely.

Amethyst Basil

Amethyst basil. Another first for me. But when I saw the beautiful purple hue, I couldn’t pass it up. So far as I can tell, it tastes just like regular basil, but how fun would it be to throw it in this Colorful Chicken Alfredo for a rainbow alla pasta?

Stevia

Stevia. This is my third year to grow Stevia. It is such a fun herb. A bite of a leaf straight off the plant tastes just like sugar. I’ve been adding it to my water with lemon, cucumber and mint. At night I take 2 quarts of water, add one sliced lemon, one sliced cucumber, about a dozen mint leaves, and and about 20 or so stevia leaves. They’re small. And this plant grows quite large. I leave it in the fridge overnight to combine the flavors and drink throughout the next day, over ice. It’s also fun to use as a garnish for drinks and desserts. But I know I’m not using it to its full potential. If you have any other uses for Stevia leaves, I would love to hear them.

Thai Basil

Thai Basil. It’s like spicy basil. AKA, an utter triumph. It was starting to flower, so I had to cut a few of the stems.

Parsley

Parsley. My parsley plants always come back each year, but they look so pitiful, I always plant a new one. Just in case. One day I’m going to have an entire garden full of parsley. That’s okay by me.

Peppermint

Peppermint. I am in love with peppermint. There is nothing more completely intoxicating than catching a faint scent of this peppermint as I’m working in the garden.

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate mint. What a wonderful mint. It’s the most cheerful of all the mints. And yes… This year I planted mint directly in my garden. I’m a rebel. I know it’s prone to spreading, uh, just a tad, and that’s okay by me. My life would be but for the better if completely covered in mint.

Thyme

Common thyme. I’ve had French thyme and English thyme, but I keep coming back to good ‘ole common thyme.

Lavender & Bumble Bee

Three years ago I planted rosemary and lavender in front of the house, right by the door, and now they are enormous. They’ve completely taken over. They’re beautiful. And anyone who walks up to the door catches their lovely scent.

Rosemary, Oregano and Lavender

Here’s just one sprig of rosemary in the foreground, with oregano behind it. My oregano comes back each year bigger than the last. It’s on its third year and going strong.

Now if only I’d planted my garden a month ago so I could go ahead and be using my herbs!

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73 Responses
  1. Sladie

    Absolutely beautiful herbs! I’d love to plant some of that amethyst basil. My hubby and I are thinking of building some balcony boxes to plant a small herb garden. These are giving us some lovely idea’s of what to plant :)

  2. Julie

    We use stevia like crazy around here. Drinks, baking, sauces…anywhere sugar used to be. It’s 0 Cal/serving & tastes the same as sugar. We buy it in bulk and store it like sugar. I’d love to grow our own stevia! To use it as a sugar substitute; harvest the leaves, let them dry out, crumble then sift to remove any stem parts. Yum!

  3. Melissa R

    Love these beautiful photos of your herbs! I too have had an herb garden for about 3 years and my rosemary and lavender have gotten a little out of control, I think I need to prune them. Also I found out that parsley is a biennial, meaning it’s life cycle is over 2 growing seasons. It flowers and goes to seed the second season and comes back from seed the next year. Also I don’t know if you get the black swallowtail butterflies in your area, but parsley is a host plant for them. I just started seeing the caterpillars on my plants this week. Those are my fun facts. :)

  4. Kim

    Amanda, this is very inspiring! I’ve thought of planting herbs in a box on my fire escape (I live in NYC) for years, but I’ve never gotten up the nerve to give it a try. I think this might be the year. I had no idea you could grow stevia in your garden! I use stevia everyday in my yogurt or oatmeal or smoothies in place of sugar. I’ve been buying it in packs at the store though. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. DeniseAck

    In addition to “frying” sage leaves to add to pasta, you can do the same with basil. Chiffonade a whole group rolled up or just tear large leaves into smaller pieces. Yummy with lightly sauteed halved cherry tomatoes!!

  6. Danielle

    Love your garden! I’m excited you posted a link to your recipe for using sage… I planted some this year but haven’t had a chance to use it yet. I completely agree with your statement about missing them in winter… nothing completes a dish like fresh herbs! Love it!!

  7. Sabrina

    I love your photos! I love my herb garden! Each year I add something new. This past winter, I lost my rosemary bush because of the cold. So sad. Have to look for another one. I put spearmint in a pot, concerned with the wild growth of the mint plants. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Cathy Willman

    So Fabulously “Herb”iverous! Little jealous, we’re moving, so the only thing I was allowed to do this year was a few geraniums. OK, lot jealous!

  9. Cookin' Canuck

    What beautiful pictures of your herbs. We just finished planting our herb garden, too and have many of the same ones that you do. I’m excited to use my Thai basil this year.

  10. Amanda Hale

    Your garden looks awesome. I’m a little slow on getting my started this year. However, my Spearmint and Chocolate mint has taken over our flower beds. I planted them close to our back door so it would mask the smell of our coy pond and doggie poo – and it works! Anyways, I would love to use both of them but I have no clue on what I can use them in! Especially the Chocolate mint!! Got any great ideas?

    Thanks!

  11. April

    Where do you find recipes for using fresh stevia? I shy away from buying the sugar substitute stevia products in the store, but I’d love to use fresh stevia! I love your blog, by the way!!!

  12. bakerbynature

    You have a serious green thumb! Lucky you; I look forward to seeing what you’ll be cooking with all those fresh herbs.

  13. LaWanda

    Amanda ~ I love reading your blog and looking at the pictures. I am curious about your water with lemon, cucumber, and mint. It sounds so refreshing; I would love to make it. I have never heard of stevia leaves before much less tasted them. Is there another herb that I can use as a substitute?

  14. Cathy Macdonald

    I’m enjoying your blog and was really inspired by your herbs! We started preparing our veggie garden two months ago…and got distracted…now it’s probably too late for anything but herbs, but I’d be excited just to have that. Yours look gorgeous!

  15. Amy @ A Little Nosh

    I also got a very late start this year so our garden is woefully behind. I’m dying for the basil to get all bushy and wonderful. I neeeeeed pesto.

  16. Kristina L

    Absolutely beautiful!

    This is my first year with a “real” garden (not just containers on an apartment balcony), and I am having so much fun watching the seeds sprout. I severely underestimated how much excitement the garden would bring me, and like others mentioned, how therapeutic it is to dig in the dirt. My one regret is that I didn’t plant enough herbs…but there’s always next year!

  17. chantelle

    hi amanda! i just have to tell you that i have had a really crappy day (to say the least. i would like to swear, but won’t.) but, when I saw this e-mail, it brightened my whole day. i love to garden and plant new things. it is almost like therapy for me to go out and work in my garden. you know the old saying, “you can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt,” well for me, that is beyond true. so, thank you for sharing this blog post!! i am trying herbs in my garden this year for the first time and i am definately going to plant stevia and some mint. thanks again for this refreshing post. I loved it!!

  18. Cara

    Amanda, I’m a big fan, love your blog. Sorry I never comment. I need to be better about that. Your pictures are always amazing and inspiring! Just wanted to tell you to get.that.mint.out.of.your.garden. I know a few people have commented on the mint but take it from me, get it out or your will only have a “mint” bed in a few years. It takes over and you can not get rid of it. It’s best to plant it in it’s own bed or a pot. I promise, it’s nice now but you will be cursing it in a few months when it starts to take over. On a positive note, mint is perfect as a garnish and so yummy in lemonade and iced tea. I even put some in my water and it’s de-lish!

  19. Trece

    I had the most amazing, fabulous Greek oregano. It crossbred with my mints. Gone forever. . . Hubby never forgave me.

  20. Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

    I tripled the size of my garden this year, and am so frustrated that I didn’t plant more herbs. I have basil and thyme, that is it! Love yours!

  21. Grandma Barbie June

    Amanda,

    I LOVE the pictures of your herbs. I love to use them with about everything and I also dry them. Lavender is one of my most favorite.

    Thanks for showing us your beautiful pictures.

    Barb

  22. Bev

    Your photos are beautiful and I love your choice of herbs. I had chocolate mint and gave it all away. The plastic pot idea sounds perfect for keeping it all in one spot. Happy gardening!

  23. Peggy Does Cake

    Amanda, don’t forget cilantro! It’s fantastic with chicken, with black beans, with tomatoes (fresh salsa!), with quinoa, the options are endless. Like basil, it blooms fast so you have to watch that, but other than that, it’s easy to grow and a must for your herb garden!

    1. DeniseAck

      Before your cilantro goes to seed, be sure to harvest it all and whir up the leaves in a blender or food processor with some olive oil. (I do the same with basil.) Pour the mixture into ice cube trays, freeze and store in ziplock bags in the freezer. You can then just add a cube or two to the recipe you’re making for garden-fresh flavor. I still have basil pesto cubes left over from last year (BIG bumper crop). If you make basil pesto–don’t add the parmesan or pignoli nuts to your blender–just olive oil, minced garlic and the basil. Add the parm and nuts at the table.

  24. Elizabeth

    Your garden looks beautiful! We planted lavender, sage, oregano, parsley, as well as some squash, tomatoes, and strawberries. Did you plant any fruits or vegetables? How do you keep the pests away? We always have problems with squirrels and possums(!) eating our garden!!

    1. Amanda

      I went so late this year there weren’t too many vegetable plants left to choose from. I did get some golden summer bell peppers, but I’ve got my doubts about them. I wanted red. :) I would’ve really liked to get zucchini, but I can’t find anyone who’s got any left. How are your strawberries doing? I would love to do those next year. :)

    2. Elizabeth

      Strawberries are doing well so far, no one’s eaten them yet! Pretty easy to take care of, we have some in one of those strawberry pots, and a lot in the ground.

  25. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

    Gorgeous! I was a little late with my garden this year, too. But it’s so nice having fresh herbs just outside your door. :)

  26. Sarah Cruze

    LOVE! your garden, Amanda! I have a few of the same things in mine… but I’ll have to try the Amethyst Basil for sure… so pretty! Btw, what do you use your peppermint for? Are there any good dessert recipes for mint? I’m curious because mine is taking over the pot! Thanks!

  27. marywithgarden

    Good for you in getting your garden in! I didn’t know stevia was available. That I will have to look for. I spent my weekend at an herbal fair learning how to switch over to organic gardening. I am a year away from having gardening space and am tending to pots of things instead. I did have mint once in a yard and lamb’s ear. They both like to spread themselves all over!

    I learned at the fair that this year’s herb of the year is horseradish. Have you ever tried growing it?

  28. Judy @ Christian Women Friends

    Your herb garden looks great. I’ve never attempted growing herbs but my mother-in-law always has a small herb garden and shares with everyone!

  29. Ashley

    I keep meaning to plant Stevia and each year I always end up kicking myself for not buying any.

    And I’m glad I’m not the only person who is completely okay with mint owning their garden. Right now my mint has currently taking over my poor Kalanchoe but my spearmint sure is good!

  30. jenna

    kicking myself for not buying stevia last weekend! i didn’t know what to use it for or how it tasted! sounds amazing! all your basil has me swooning!

  31. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    I was at the nursery the other day and didn’t have any luck finding cool herbs. I’ve never even seen Stevia!! I’ll have to look for that one for sure. You have me determined to find what I need this year. I always have Rosemary and Mint. Those grow like weeds around here. Gorgeous photos, as usual!

  32. Meredith

    Amanda,

    Your garden looks lovely. Your pictures are always beautiful and your site has inspired me to get a new camera. It is not as advanced as yours but I look forward to learning new skills. I always enjoy visiting your site.

  33. HeatherB

    We just planted our herb garden last night too! I’ve got 3 different kinds of basil (Genovese, sweet, and no-name), but I find the Genovese is best for pre-chopping and freezing in the right quantity for pesto (I love pesto). Also oregano, Italian parsley, marjoram, rosemary, sage, stevia (a first for me this year), summer savory, and 3 different kinds of mint (spearmint, doublemint, and Moroccan spearmint), but those are confined to large tubs. Since we’re a zone 3, I’m hoping to overwinter all of these (or at least cuttings of some of these) in pots on my kitchen window sill.

  34. Lori

    Amanda – the herbs look delicious!!! Where did you find the Stevia at? Where do you buy your herbs? I want to start an herb garden, but not sure where to get good healthy plants at. HELP?

    1. Amanda

      Our local nursery carries the stevia. They’re the ones who first talked me into buying it. I’d never heard of it three years ago. The sales guys was walking around tearing off leaves of every herb saying “Here! Eat this!” and “Here! Try this one!” and when he handed me the stevia leaf I did a double take! I impulse-bought it right there. Not surprising, given my propensity for sweets. :)

      Depending on where you live, it might be a little late in the season now, but I’ve seen herbs at all our local nurseries here. I’ve even seen them at those nicer grocery stores like The Fresh Market earlier in the season.

      I’ve had really good luck with all my herbs (and I had zero green thumb when I started!), but oregano, rosemary, chives, thyme, and parsley, are especially hardy, and come back every year if you want to start with them. :) Good luck!

  35. ambar

    Hi Amanda! I have also got myself some of that Amethyst Basil and the scent is amazing, Im going to try that pasta of yours, looks great

  36. Erin M

    Definitely be careful with the mint. I am a rebel too & planted it in the ground. It WILL spread–but you can yank out the pieces that you don’t want growing during the spring next year–or the ones that accidentally start growing in your yard!!! It won’t damage the pieces that you want to keep. Good luck.

  37. Amber

    Amanda, you talked about planting your mint right into your garden. One way that can work really well to help prevent it from spreading is to cut the bottom off of a black plastic pot, and plant that in the ground with it. It will just help keep it in that little area. Of course if you keep up on your weeding and such, that will prevent the spreading too, but just thought I would share that little tidbit.

  38. Jen

    hi Amanda :)

    Your photos are gorgeous! I especially love the amethyst basil. I’ve never seen that in our local shops, but will be keeping an eye out for it next year.

    We have mint growing in our container garden but it’s not peppermint. I’m so jealous! Ours was listed as just “mint” when we bought it and it seems to lean more towards the spearmint flavor. :(

    We made a post about our own garden if you’d care to check it out. :)
    Have a great week!

    1. Amanda

      Your dill is gorgeous! I keep wanting to do that one but I never see it at the nursery. Hey, what did you mean by putting three bell pepper plants in one pot to “pot-bound” them? Last year mine didn’t do so well.

    2. Jen

      Hi Amanda!

      We planted three in one pot so that the roots run out of room in the pot and it forces the plant to grow taller, faster. We always struggle with our veg, the tomatoes tend to get blight and the peppers go rotten before we can even pick them. This is the first year we’re pot-binding them though, so we’re hoping it will give us an edge. lol.
      We are insane with herbs – fresh oregano & basil on homemade pizza every Saturday is heaven! :o)

  39. Sarah Weber

    Lovely pictures of your herbs. My mother and father used to have a large herb garden and my love of gardening started there. Thanks for the post on herbs with recipes included.

  40. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    Isn’t it wonderful to have fresh herbs on hand? It makes you feel so much more…uh…chefy? :-) I’ve got container gardens with my staples of basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic chives, and oregano. My two new ones are lemongrass and cilantro this year. I’ll be checking back in for stevia ideas too because I *almost* bought it but didn’t know what to do with it!

  41. Dina

    Hi Amanda, i’m Dina from Bali,I always liked whatever you post in your blog … everything that you write become an inspiration to me … I love gardening .. I do it every weekend but almost everything I do not succeed .. haha .. . but i really like your website..:)

  42. ava-j

    Oh, what lovely and yummy herbs you have Amanda. :) My poor sage plant died just because I didn’t have the recipes to use it with. :( Now, I only have parsley from the dozen herb pots I had collected…but would love to have a garden again soon. :)

  43. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    Your garden is looking wonderful, Amanda!

    I grow stevia inside on my countertop and it’s fun!

    I also want to try that chocolate peppermint you have growing..delish :)

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Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. Meet our Boston Terriers. Take a tour of our house. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.

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