gardening, herbal fare, vintage

Lemon verbena

Long time garden friends will not be shocked when I say:

Lemon verbena still is – and will forever be – my favorite herb.

A delight to brush against on a hot summer night while out watering the garden, its scent is refreshingly lemony without being overpowering

It is easy to grow and mixes in easily in containers, cut flower gardens, vegetable patches -the list is endless. Lemon verbena will grow in full sun to partial shade. Just be sure to plant some near your kitchen door so you can step outside and cut some whenever you want a punch of lemon flavoring.  It tends to get leggy if not pinched back regularly, so prune back and use the leaves often.

lemon verbena in pot

Though an annual in North Texas, it keeps its flavor when dried for winter use. If you can find lemon verbena in the nurseries now, it isn’t too late to plant and enjoy before our first freeze.

While I am still experimenting with ways to use this herb, I want to share two of my favorites. (And I will share my all-time favorite lemon verbena peach cobbler recipe soon!)

lemonade with lemon verbena

Lemon verbena lemonade (adapted from Fredericksburg Herb Farm’s recipe)

1 handful of lemon verbena leaves and lemon grass stalks

1 large can of frozen concentrate lemonade

2 large lemons, juiced

1 lemon, sliced for garnish

Wash and pat dry herbs, and place them in a large glass pitcher. Cover with the lemon juice. Stir together, pressing down on the herbs with a spoon. Add lemonade mix and 3 cups water, chill overnight. Garnish with lemon slices and additional herbs, if desired. (Mint may also be added to the lemonade. Alas. My son has mint sensitivities.)

peaches with lemon verbena

Lemon verbena peach ice cream (adapted from Cuisinart’s strawberry ice cream recipe)

1 pint fresh peaches, peeled and diced

Lemon verbena leaves – about ¼ cup

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup sugar, divided use

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

In a food processor, whirl together ½ cup sugar with the lemon verbena leaves until the leaves are chopped fine. (The scent will be amazing!) In a small bowl, combine the peaches with the lemon juice and the lemon verbena/sugar mixture. Stir gently and allow the peaches to macerate in the juices for a few hours.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and remaining sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the heavy cream and any accumulated juice from the peaches. Turn on your prepared Cuisinart ice cream freezer and pour in the dairy mixture. Let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. Add in the peaches during the last five minutes of freezing. (*Make sure the Cuisinart container is very cold, at least 24 hours in the freezer.)


bibliophile, gardening, herbal fare, nature, vintage

the melodious garden, explained

An orchestra pulls in many elements to make a wondrous song. The conductor. The musicians. The instruments. The acoustics of the performance hall.

And so it goes with gardening. A gardener pulls together plants, the elements, the sights and sounds of nature, to make a harmonious garden… a melody.

And such, the melodious garden is born. I seek to pull together the sights, sounds and textures of life, to pass along my love of books and gardening, beautiful creations and flowers and nature.

the melodious garden is coming together in pieces and parts. This blog. My garden boutique at The Grapevine Antique Market. (Booth U16, in “The Loft.”) Selling used books on Amazon. There are a few more garden related adventures on the horizon that will come together in time. My lovely sister-in-law, Kerri, is joining me on part of this journey, as she will be selling her floral creations in my garden boutique.

I have no idea where this path will lead, but life is always an adventure.


bibliophile, gardening, herbal fare, nature, vintage

The journey to the melodious garden

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
by Robert Frost

Not one to take the well-traveled paths in life, I start this blog and business adventure to mark a new beginning. My days as a stay-at-home mom less justifiable now than ten years ago, my fiftieth birthday fast approaching, I look ahead with wonder and excitement. Which path should I now take? The road is diverging.

Always a list maker, I start out. I know I want to be surrounded by nature and beautiful things and I want to work the soil. Return to an office job? No. Never again. My list of wants grows longer: flexibility, not doing the same thing day in and day out. I want to work with books and promote literacy. I love the design and functionality and beauty of vintage dishes and pottery. I love the texture and smell of wood and want to build and create. My list of wants grows longer still. But how to ever tie them together?

A melodious owl enters my life. Like the father and daughter out listening for owls on a cold winter night in Owl Moon, I hear the owl calling. “Overhead he heard the cry of what might have been a melodious owl, but it wasn’t a melodious owl. It was a flying saucer from Tralfamadore, navigating in both space and time, therefore seeming to Billy Pilgrim to have come from nowhere all at once.” (Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut)

And so it goes.

the melodious garden is born.