Monday, June 30, 2008

A Big Green Leaf

I'm taking part in the first Big Green Leaf post. Emma at Independent has started this for June 30th to spotlight our foliage plants. Great Idea! Here's a slide show of what I found in my yard.

You'll see fern, vinca (mytle), Virginia creeper, Siberian iris, elephant ear hosta, Michigan holly (also know as American Winterberry)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'm So Excited!!

I'm so excited!! I had a great idea yesterday and now I've gone ahead and done it!

I realized that Thyme for Herbs has been wandering in many different directions: perennials to daylilies to herbs to recipes. I even mentioned my quilts one time. I have a lot of interests, and it was just getting too much to post them all here. SOOOOOO -- I've started a new blog!! Yes, Thyme for Herbs is still going to be very active -- the main blog in fact. But now I will post my recipes on An Herbal Bedfellow. All recipes will use herbs that I grow in my own garden or use regularly. This will help me to keep them in order for my own personal use, and you can reap the benefits also.

So please, pop on over to An Herbal Bedfellow and look around. It's still in the construction stage so you may see changes as we go along. I hope you like it.

Oh, and by the way, while I'm plugging my new blog, I might as well mention another one I do called Tickling the Ivories. If you like eclectic music, this is the place for you.

Thank you for visitng Thyme for Herbs these last two years, and I hope you are able to visit An Herbal Bedfellow often, also.
There, I'm done. Boop Boop a doop!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lunch Time

Mediterranean Sandwiches are great for lunch time. It's one of my favorites. Serve with a cool drink, perhaps the lemon balm sun tea, as mentioned in an earlier post. Refreshing!!

Olive oil
1/2 pound chicken tenders, cut crosswise in half
1 small tomato, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 small cucumber, seeded and sliced
1/4 c. sweet onion slices (about 1 small)
1 T. cider vinegar
2 t. olive oil
1 t. minced fresh oregano or 1/2 t. dried oregano leaves
1 t. minced fresh mint or 1/4 t. dried mint leaves
1/8 t. salt
2 whole wheat pita breads
4 lettuce leaves (opt.)

1. Add small amount of olive oil in a non stick skillet; heat over medium heat until hot. Add chicken; cook and stir 7- 10 min. or until browned and no longer pink in center. Cool slightly.

2. Combine chicken, tomato, cucumber, and onion in medium bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with oregano, mint, and salt; toss to combine.

3. Cut pitas in half crosswise; gently open. Place 1 lettuce leaf in each pita bread half, if desired. Divide chicken mixture evenly among pita bread halves.

(Makes 2 servings -- 2 filled pita halves per serving)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Herb Recipes

The mint in my herb garden is going crazy. I decided to get out some of my recipes and see if I could find a good one to pass along to you. Here's a great side dish for your grilled steaks. Enjoy!

Herbed Peas and Mushrooms

1 t extra virgin olive oil
10 oz. sliced mushrooms (button, creminis, portobello or a combination)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (sweet preferred)
1 (16-oz) package frozen tiny or regular-sized peas
1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 t. dried mint, crumbled
1/3 to 1/2 t. dried oregano, crumbled
1/8 to 1/4 t pepper

1. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Cook mushrooms and onion, covered, for 7-9 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook, covered for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Note: If you haven't dried your mint yet, you can do a quick dry in the microwave. Wrap the leaves and stems in a paper towel. Dry for 30 seconds and check so see if all of the moisture is out. Repeat until done. Then strip the leaves from their stems. They should come off easily and be papery dry.

Look for more herb recipes to come.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Party Is On and There Are Party Crashers!

The party is on!
I'm inviting you to attend an old-fashioned cotillion with fancy ladies and fine gentlemen all decked out in their finest. The festivities will last for weeks, so get comfortable and stay awhile. Come and watch Daylilies dancing in the sun; they like to show off so you won't be imposing at all if you just decide to be a wallflower and watch the happenings from the sidelines.
Let's get started. I'd like to introduce you to my friends.

Grace & Grandeur


Prairie Blue Eyes

Pure & Simple


Snapdragons and Bellflowers are both party-crashers but I decided to let them stay awhile. The Snapdragons have a habit of showing up where they're not wanted but since they took the time to dress up so prettily, I didn't have the heart to throw them out.

I hope you had a good time. Stop by again so you can meet some of the late arrivers. We'll be going on well into the night, maybe even into the harvest moon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Have a Green Thumb?

Do you have a green thumb? I think you must if you're reading garden blogs.
People always say to me, "I wish I could grow a garden like yours but I just don't have a green thumb."

I recently came across a quote that I like a lot. It explains the difference between you and me and those who only wish for a garden. Beth Weidner said, "The only thing different about having a green thumb is that you don't get discouraged by failure. When something doesn't work, you try again."

If you're like me, there have been a lot of failures in past years. I don't make quite as many mistakes now, but it still happens. I've spent a lot of money on plants only to find they weren't right for my light conditions or soil. Just when I learned all about my yard, I moved and had to start all over again. I've been in one place long enough this time that it is all starting to come together and boy does it feel good!

Here are a few of my successes in the front garden.

Round Table Mix Delphinium (I'm not sure about the name Round Table Mix. I think the tags got mixed up)

Lollipop Asiatic Lily

Partners Asiatic Lily

Friday, June 20, 2008

Skywatch #9 -- Rainbow Ribbons

A man at a car show was flying his kite. I liked the rainbow ribbon effect. It was windy enough to keep the kite up all afternoon, and he was able to let it go up very high. I didn't know if I could catch it because it was bobbing and weaving every time I took aim. This is not Photoshopped. The sky was exactly this clear and blue!

Check out Welcome to Wiggers World for more Skywatch photos.

Burpee Hat Winners!

It's time for the Burpee Hat winners It's been a great giveaway! I've had so many wonderful comments.
It was fun reading what your favorites perennials were, and why they worked in your garden or brought back memories of days gone by. I even discovered some plants at Burpee that I didn't know they had as I researched along with you.

If you missed this contest, never fear, there's more to come. So keep in touch with Thyme for Herbs by adding me to your Google Reader or signing up with FeedBlitz. You can also find me at Blotanicals, Technorati, Top 100 Garden sites, BlogCatalog and many more. I have another Burpee giveaway starting soon, and if you're a gardener and/or a cook, you won't want to miss out on this one!

Please, don't think there are any strings attached. This is just Burpee generosity to the garden community, and I happen to be the vehicle for distributing their products. See what Rose at Prairie Rose's Garden has to say about her recent win.

And now ... drumroll, please....

The first winner is: Kari

The second winner is: Kay

The third winner is: Madame Pince

The fourth winner is: Betty N

All winners were chosen with a number drawing at

Congratulions, winners! You should have already been contacted by e-mail. If you did not get the message for some reason and are just reading this here for the first time, contact me at pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com and send me your mailing address. You have three days to claim your prize.

Check back next week for the next Burpee Contest. Thanks for playing along; I had lots of fun.
And thanks again BURPEE!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flowering Herbs and How to Get a Man

I accidentally let some of my herbs go to flower. I was out of town for two days and when I came back I was busy with work. This is what I found in the garden yesterday.
But I don't really care. I enjoy their flowers and the bees love them, too. (I'm am not a bee fan, but I do understand their function in nature. We just try to avoid each other; that's a story for another day.)

I love sage flowers. They are my favorite color of blue/ lavender/purple.

Feverfew has a delicate white daisy-like blossom that is appealing and really shows up in the garden. I use feverfew for headaches. Although I don't have migraines like I used to, I still keep it around.

Catmint, or catnip, is a risk. Because cats really do like it and the neighborhood cat might just start rolling around in it. Plant it where you won't care if this happens. Catmint has many medicinal uses.

And my favorite, of course, is lavender. Even if it wasn't good for a thing, I would still grow it. I pick a sprig and hold it to my nose as I walk around the garden checking out the plants. Hmmm, heavenly!!

If you're looking for a male company, it is said that if you rub dried lavender against your bare skin, you will attract a man.

Here's an old method of checking up on your man: Hide sprigs of lavender in books when separated from a lover. After some time, check their color and perfume to reveal the strength of your lover's feelings.

The smell of lavender hidden in the green
Pour'd back into my empty soul and frame
The times when I remembered to have been
Joyful and free from blame.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Own Bloom Day

I'm always missing Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. It just seems to come up so fast and then I'm busy with something else and can't get to it. I should plan ahead, but I don't. Here is my own bloom day. It's what was in my garden yesterday. I couldn't even pull it together enough to get that in on time!!!

Pure and Simple Daylily

Nearly Wild Rose

Sweet Williams

One lone Sweet William volunteer. A darker color, in the wrong place, but pretty just the same.

Evening Primrose

Johnson's Blue Perennial Geranium. It's standing tall now after the staking. When it's finished blooming, I'll cut it back and watch it start up all over again.

The first Heliopsis to bloom this year.

One peony bush just recently started. It's a later variety, but I don't know the name.

Sundrops. They're thick this year. I had to pull them out like weeds. I love the bright yellow.

There are more plants all around the house and pond, but this was the main garden in the backyard. I'll focus on the rest of the yard another time. I'm lucky to get this one posted. Whew!!!

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the Burpee hat giveaway, or click here: GIVEAWAY. There are no strings attached. It's the real thing. I'd love to see all of my garden friends enter.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Burpee Cap Giveaway

Recently I was given the opportunity to review a pair of Burpee clogs and then give 3 pair away. Burpee was pleased with the response it received, and they were particularly interested in your comments about their web site.

If you've kept up with this blog for any length of time, you know that I have a garden hat collection, so when Burpee asked me to host another giveaway, I was thrilled to discover that this time I would be giving away hats!

I've had a chance to wear mine for a few days now. I am pleased to say that I may have finally found a baseball cap style that really fits my small head. Instead of those snap type adjustments in the back, this hat has a sliding buckle and the excess slips into an opening in the seam, so there's no bulk or excess flap looking like a tail. I'm embarrassed to tell you how much I had to adjust it to keep it on this little head. Does that also mean I have a small brain, too? Well, let's move on!

I also like the smaller brim. Remember how I mentioned previously about looking like a duck? Not the case with this hat.
Each of the hats have different designs and are in different colors. They are made of 100% cotton -- a soft twill. Mine has the Burpee flower emblem on the hat part itself and the word "Burpee" on the brim. It's not screen printed, it's actual embroidery. Very classy looking.

I told Burpee that I would review their hat but I would not compromise my opinion. I wanted to give a truthful appraisal and not be swayed by the free gifts. But there was no reason for me to worry; Burpee came through with a top quality product again. I rate this hat a 10.

If you would like to enter to win one of four hats, please follow the instructions carefully.

1. Go to the Burpee website; click on the "perennial flowers" tab. Then leave a comment telling me about your favorite flower shown or listed there and tell my why you like it. Answers showing just the name of a flower will not be considered. Entries stating only, "enter me" or something like it will also not be considered.

2. Make sure your name and e-mail address is showing. Either show a link that will take me to your address, or type it like this: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. That will keep the spammers away. After you are notified, you have three days to claim your prize.

3. Winners and hat colors will be chosen at random on Friday, June 20th at noon. If the winner selected does not claim their prize, the next winner is chosen on comment originality.

Thank you, Burpee, for this fun contest.

Thank you Contest Girl and

thanks to Online Sweepstakes for hosting this giveaway.

Bright and Colorful Saturday

It hasn't been too bright and colorful here weather wise, but we had a few hours break from the rain yesterday so I managed to get these two pictures. (Today is a bright and beautiful day) This is Red Cardinal clematis, it's just starting to bloom. It should be around for a few weeks to brighten up the side of the garage. It's a little wet, but it seems happy enough.

And of course, Johnson's Blue, cransebill geranium. It always gets so big. I didn't get it staked early enough and had to tie it with twine after it had fallen over. It will straighten out again shortly.
I love these two colors together. They are not planted near each other but maybe they should be. (note to self -- think about moving the geranium)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Herbs and Knees

The herbs are at their best right now. I think I have to start harvesting some. If you know about herbs you can probably sort them out here. I was trying to be artistic and I sat on the ground to get these photos. I should have known that I would have trouble getting up again. Good thing I was in the backyard and all alone. Those darn knees!!!!

Anyway, you might be able to see oregano in the front, then some feverfew, lovage, parsely, mint. Maybe you can see the sage, I'm not sure.

This one shows the fennel popping up in odd places. The hyssop is in there somewhere too. Now whatever happened to the chamomile? Of course you can't see the thyme and choclolate mint; they're too close to the ground. In the background is some lemon balm. I had to really thin that out and keep it in one clump. I do it several times a year; it's very aggressive, but worth it. I don't mind, it smells good while I'm pulling. The lavender is on the other side of this greenery, just now starting to bloom.
Oh, how sweet my garden smells. I'm think I'm inspired to cook!!!!

Skywatch Friday #8 -- Honeysuckle Heaven

This honeysuckle vine escaped the trellis and is growing above the garage roof. It looks like it is reaching for Heaven.

I decided to quickly add this in. I realize that some of you don't know what a honeysuckle vine is. This one is a little past prime. It's usually solid yellow with blossoms when at peak. The hummingbirds love it.

For more Skywatch photos go to Wigger's World.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

First Daylily of the Season

Here it is, my first daylily of the season -- Moonlit Masquerade! I showed it last year but I was just so excited to see the first bloom, I wanted to share it with you. This is the first year the colors are more accurate to the description in books. It's described as an early/midseason, semievergreen, tetraploid. Ivory-cream self with very dark purple eye and picotee. (For those of you who are not into daylilies, the eye is the center and the picotee is the edging.) This particular bloom isn't showing much picotee, but that happens once in a while. Click on the picture to enlarge it, and you can see it on a few petals.
I don't plan to show repeats of the same daylilies as last year. From now on I'll just post the newbies that I didn't get photos of last summer, and new purchases (and believe me, there will be some)if they have blooms.
For other daylilies in my garden go to "Labels" in the sidebar and click on "daylilies."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One More Iris

I was walking the garden, checking things out after our torrential rains. It keeps coming, every day for three days now, beating every thing down that has petals and stems. This is what I discovered, one more iris.

I thought this one was the same rust colored bearded iris I had shown on the first post. But obviously it is different, there's more yellow than the following one.

This is the one I included with the others. It's not the same, is it? Darn I wish I had kept track of what I purchased, but there also were so many passalongs that it wouldn't have helped my record keeping anyway.
So now I'm pretty sure that's all of them. Maybe a good iris book and some detective work is in order.

By the way, I had to choose another Burpee Clog winner as my third pick. My husband called out a number and it turned out to be Rose from Prairie Rose's Garden. Rose entered shortly before the deadline. She was number 162 out of 163. Congratulations, Rose. It's a lesson for us all. It's never too late. There were many people that continued to enter after the deadline. I posted their comments but did not include them in the drawing. Rose, contact me with your shoe size, choice of color and mailing address.

I can't wait to tell you what Burpee has in store for us next. I'm very excited and I'm sure you will be too, so stay in touch.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Am Honored

On June 5th I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that I was awarded the coveted Arte y Pico Award by Bebe from Peaches and Dreams. I was shocked to think that Bebe would consider me in this category. If my Spanish is correct, I think it means "art and unusual things" or maybe "art and odd things." I guess I fall into the odd and unusual area, but never think of myself as an artist of any kind. Bebe on the other hand is a true, gentile, Southern lady from Georgia who always shows consideration and compassion for others. I only know her through blogging, but if we were neighbors, even though there is an age difference, I'm sure we would be friends. Thank you so much, Bebe, for this special honor.

The origin of the Arte y Pico award...)
"This prize has arisen from the daily visits that I dedicate to many blogs which nourish me and enrich me with creativity. In them I see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, ART, much art. I want to share this prize with all those bloggers that entertain me day to day and to share this prize with those who enrich me every day. Doubtlessly, there are many and it will be hard to pick just a few, the people I will name today deserve this prize, as do the very long serious list of bloggers I also enjoy to read, but I will name the first 10 and will leave the rest of the work to all the bloggers that visit other's blogs and are nourished by them."

There are 5 rules for this award:

1. You need to choose 5 blogs you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogging community regardless of the language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented him/her with the award. I know it says this is a rule but I also know that not everyone likes to do this. I won't be hurt if you don't.

4. The award winner and the one who has given the award have to show the Arte Y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. To show these rules.

I had a difficult time choosing the ward recipients, because I know so many wonderful bloggers who deserve it. I decided that this award should not be limited to only my garden friends, but other categories of art and hobbies as well. So here are my choices; Ladies, these flowers are for you.

1. Diane Kidman at Carp(e) Libris Reviews in Michigan: Writing is truly an art and your style has inspired me, as well as the books you review. I don't have time to read them all but I do read your reviews regularly. There's nothing better than a good book, and you have a real talent for telling us about them and making us yearn for more time to read.

2. Chey at A Maritime Gardener in Nova Scotia: Your photos are fantastic! We not only share a love of gardening, but also a special passion for daylilies. Chey puts the same amount of zeal in another blog called Daylily Dreaming. I would love to visit your garden during your peak daylily time.

3. Frances at Faire Garden in Tennessee: Your blog is beautiful. The black background lends a great contrast to all of your wonderful pictures. You have taught us about fairies, and it is that love of whimsy that endears you to the gardening community.

4.Yolanda Elisabet at Bliss in Netherlands: Yolanda, you have taken us on tours of European gardens, shown us your wonderful garden, introduced us to all of your lovely cats, and even recently taught us how to eat an artichoke. Now that's a well-rounded artsy woman. I know you have many awards already, but I'd love to give you one more.

5.Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses in North Carolina. Rhondi, you probably don't know that I visit you. I don't comment there too often. I love your choice of music. I, too, am a tea time girl, front porch swinger, with blue glass in my windows in my blue and white room. Today, while looking over your blog, your verse from Matthew inspired me, even though I know it very well. Thank you for the gentleness and beauty of your blog.

Thank you all for the dreams of another time or place you have provided, either from your location, your writing, or your photography. It is a joy to blog with you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jane Marie Revealed!

On May 26th, Zoe at Garden Hopping tagged me for a meme. I have been so busy trying to fix my problems with Blotanicals and putting on the Burpee contest, plus all the daily routine of living, that I have put off taking part. That's not like me. I am not usually a procrastinator. But procrastinate I did. I'm sorry, Zoe.

So now I am finally living up to my obligation and stepping up to the plate. I'm supposed to tell you 6 things about myself that you don't already know. Here goes:

1. I am a little obsessive compulsive, and one of the things I ALWAYS do is stack a pile of coins from large to small; quarters, nickels, pennies, dimes. I can't stand to see a loose pile of change on the table.

2. I always count the stairs in my house to the second floor (another O/C trait), even though I know darn well there are 12 steps, a landing, and then 3 steps.

3. I love to put salt on green apples. If it wouldn't mean wishing the summer away, I would always be wishing for fall just so the MacIntosh would start to ripen. I like them when they are just starting to turn a little red, still firm and juicy, so they pop when you bite into them. The salt helps to cut the tartness and makes my glands swell. Yum!!!

4. I watch Dancing with Wolves at least once a year -- which leads to the next one:

5. I cry easily. I cry at movies, cartoons, books, commercials, and even when I laugh. I cried after seeing Out of Africa for days because I'm a hopeless romantic -- which leads to the next one:

6. I met my husband when I was 12 and my heart fluttered. I knew. Even though we weren't dating, I announced to my mother, when I was 15, that I would marry him someday.

So here are this Meme's Rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post linking to their blog.
Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I have tagged these six bloggers. I am very interested in learning more about you, but please don't feel pressured into playing along and be sure not to pass on any private info that can be used by unscrupulous people.

1. Bebe at Peaches and Dreams in Georgia

2. Katarina at Roses and Stuff in Sweden

3. Joey at Village Voice in Michigan

4. Ewa at Ewa in the Garden in Poland.

5. Sue at The Balcony Garden in Italy

6. Karen at Karen's Place Online in Indiana

One More Iris!

I spotted something blue through the window in the garden this morning. Since we had a huge downpour yesterday and strong winds last night, I slipped on my new Burpee clogs and went out to see what my flower was. I was quite surprised to find this iris. I had planted two of these in 2004 and had almost given up that they would bloom. Isn't it a beauty? I had this one written in my journal so I do know the name. It's a Siberian iris called Silver Edge. And to think I almost pulled it out last year.
I was able to name two others that were on my last iris post. I added their names in as an update.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Family of Irises

I had no idea I had so many irises until I decided to catalogue them here on my blog. It seems as though I am doing a genealogy for my Iris Family Tree. I've been taking pictures all week long so I can post them all at once.
I don't know their names. Sorry. I have had some of these for 20 or 30 years or more. At the time I bought them, I was just collecting colors. I wasn't worried about their names.
They have moved with me to two different locations. Don't forget, when you move, you don't have to leave your garden behind. Take some starts and plant them in your friend's or relative's yard temporarily until your new garden is ready. I planted mine around our place of business one fall and dug them up again in the spring because we moved to our new house in November. The irises and daylilies did just fine and our business landscaping was very pretty for a while.
The house had a few irises that I didn't have already planted along the garage, so I was off to a good start.

And fifteen years later this is what I have. Most are Bearded Hybrid Irises.

A deep velvety black/purple.

The picture shows this a little more blue than it actually is. It's closer to a blue/lavender.

These pinks are huge, probably the largest flower of all of them.

This Siberian Iris gets really tall, about 3 feet. The leaves stay nice looking all summer and look a lot like a pampas grass.

This Siberian is shorter, about 2 feet. The leaves also last all summer.
Note: Update -- The name is Orville Fay.

I love the two-tone coloring on this one.

This deep burgundy looks great next to the rusty wheel.

This year the irises by the fountain were thick. Two plants created this beauty. I hate to do it, but I think it's time to divide them. I'm sure my daughters will be pleased.

The white ones are spectacular right now. So pure and clean looking.

A little windblown; a funny face peeks out at me.

Another black that was left behind by the previous owner. A little shorter than the other.

This one always reminds me of an old man or maybe an alien from Outer Space. He stares right at me.

I call this "rust" but sometimes it's actually brown.

This variegated iris is planted by the pond. It loves all of the humidity. I love the green and white foliage.
Note: Update -- After some research and checking with my journals, I now know that this last iris is a Siberian named Aurea Variegata, or Sweet Iris.