Specialty Gardens

Specialty Gardens

Butterfly Garden/ Butterfly Habitat Garden

Butterflies are barely there – fluttering in and out of our line of vision -- but we love watching them flit around our gardens! Attracting them not only brings enjoyment, but they are good for our gardens. While butterflies are not as efficient pollinators as bees they do their part.

Listed below are a variety of plants that will bring butterflies in their many life stages to your garden:

Perennials:

Allium, Baby’s Breath, Baptisia (False Indigo), Bee Balm, Blanket Flower, Bleeding Heart, Bugleweed, Catmint, Chelone, Chrysanthemum, Coreopsis, Daylily, Delphinium, Echinacea, Forget Me Not, Geranium (Cranesbill), Goldenrod, Heliopsis (False Sunflower), Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Jacob’s Ladder, Joe-Pye Weed, Lavender, Liatris, Lobelia (Cardinal Flower), Lupine, Mint, Penstemon, Phlox, Bergenia, Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan, Russian Sage, Salvia, Sedum (Stonecrop), Sisyrinchium (Blue-eyed Grass), Snakeroot, Sneezeweed, Viola and Yarrow.

Shrubs and Vines:

Shrubs and Vines:

Azalea, Blueberry, Butterfly Bush, Clethra (Sweetshrub), Dogwood, Elderberry, Honeysuckle, Hydrangea, Lilac, Ninebark, Potentilla, Spirea, St. John Wort and Viburnum.
Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Catnip, Cosmos, Dahlia, Heliotrope, Lantana, Marigold, Nasturtiums, Pansy, Pentas, Petunia, Salvia (Red and Blue), Snapdragon, Sunflower, Verbena and Zinnia.

Vegetables and Herbs:

Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Dill, Fennel, Oregano, Pineapple Sage and Rock Cress.

Fun Butterfly Facts

Fun Butterfly Facts

Butterflies are insects.

A butterfly’s lifecycle is made up of four parts, egg, larva (caterpillars), pupa (chrysalis) and adult.

Butterflies attach their eggs to leaves with a special glue.

Most caterpillars are plant eaters (herbivores).

Fully grown caterpillars attach themselves to a suitable twig or leaf before shedding their outside layer of skin to reveal a hard skin underneath known as a chrysalis.

An adult butterfly will eventually emerge from the chrysalis where it will wait a few hours for its wings to fill with blood and dry, before flying for the first time.

Butterflies can live in the adult stage from anywhere between a week and a year, depending on the species.

Butterflies have four wings.

Butterflies often have brightly colored wings with unique patterns made up of tiny scales.

Most butterflies feed on nectar from flowers.

Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet.

Scientists estimate that there are between 15000 and 20000 different species of butterfly. About 725 species have been found in North American north of Mexico, with approximately 575 of these occurring regularly in the lower 48 states of the United States, and about 275 species occurring regularly in Canada.

Monarch butterflies are known for their long migration. Every year monarch butterflies will travel a great distance (sometimes over 2500 miles), females will lay eggs and a new generation of monarchs will travel back, completing the cycle.

A group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.

Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.

Many adult butterflies never excrete waste – they use up all they eat for energy.

Specialty Gardens

Specialty Gardens

Deer Resistant Garden

Given opportunity, deer can destroy any garden. Following is a list of plants that deer are less likely to feast on – however, there are no guarantees.

Deer resistant perennials for full to part sun:

Baby’s Breath (Gypsophilia)
Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea Cyanus)
Balloon Flower (Platycodon)
Bellflower (Campanula)
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia Australis)
Bugleweed (Ajuga)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa)
Candytuft (Iberis)
Catmint (Nepeta)
Chrysanthemum (Mum)
Columbine (Aquilegia)
Coreopsis (Tickseed)
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)
Delphinium
Echinacea (Coneflower)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera)
Gayfeather (Liatrus)
Geranium (Cranesbill)

Iris
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium)
Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina)
Lavender (Lavandula)
Lupin (Lupinus)
Ornamental Grass (Colagrossi)
Ornamental Grass (Festuca)
Ornamental Grass (Hakonechloa)
Ornamental Grass (Miscanthus)
Ornamental Grass (Pennisetum)
Peony (Paeonia)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Salvia (Salvia officinalis)
Snakeroot (Cimicifuga)
Sneezeweed (Helenium)
Verbascum
Veronica (Speedwell)
Wisteria
Yucca

Deer resistant perennials for full or part shade:

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
Dead Nettle (Lamium)
Foxglove (Digitalis)
Geranium (Cranesbill)
Lenten Rose (Helleborus)

Lily of the Valley
Lungwort (Pulmonaria)
Pigsqueak (Bergenia)
Primrose (Primula)

Deer resistant Fern:

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
Ghost Fern (Athyrium)
Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)

Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum)
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

Deer resistant Shrubbery:

Barberry (Barberis vulgaris)
Beautyberry (Callicarpa)
Bluebeard (Caryapteris)
Forsythia
Fothergilla
Holly
Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Lilac (Syringa)

Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
Spirea
St. John’s Wart (Hypericum perforatum)
Sweetshrub (Clethra)
Viburnum
Wax Myrtle/bayberry (Myrica)
Weigela (Weigela florida)
Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis)

Deer resistant Annuals:

Ageratum
Annual Pinks (Dianthus)
Calibrachoa
Cockscomb (Celosia)
Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)
Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima)
Hyacinth
Lantana
Marigold (Calendula officinalis)


Moss Rose (Portulaca)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)
Nicotiana
Periwinkle (Vinca)
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)
Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana)
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Zinnia

Deer resistant Herbs and Vegetables:

Cantaloupe
Cucumber
Dill
Eggplant
Hot Peppers

Rhubarb
Sage
Sweet Peppers
Thyme
Watermelon

Specialty Gardens

Plants that survive under Black Walnut Trees

Black Walnut trees produce a toxin called juglone. This toxin prevents many plants from growing under or within the root zone of Black Walnuts. The roots seem to contain the highest concentration of juglone, but all parts of the tree including leaves, stems and fruit contain some of the toxin.

The following plants have been observed surviving under Black Walnut

Shrubs and Vines:

Arborvitae (Thuja)
Azalea (Rhododendron)
Beautybush (Linneae amabalis)
Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
Clematis
Forsythia
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Kerria Japonica (Pleniflora)Lilac (Syringa)
Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
Quince (Cydonia oblonga)
Rhododendron
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Weeping Forsythia
Winter Creeper (Eunonymus)

Herbaceous Perennials:

Bee Balm (Monarda)
Bell Flower (Campanula)
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
Bugleweed (Ajuga)
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Chrysanthemum (Mum)
Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)
Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Echinacea (Coneflower)False Spirea (Astilbe)
Foxglove (Digitalis)
Geranium (Cranesbill)
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
Hosta
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)
Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantine)
Leopard’s Bane (Aconitum)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
Peony (Paeonia)
Phlox
Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)
Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum)
Sedum (Stonecrop)
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum)
Spiderwort (Tradescantia)
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Annuals:

Begonia hybrid
Common Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
Pansy
Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)
Zinnia

Vegetable Plants:

Beets
Carrots
Corn
Lima Beans
Melons
Onion
Parsnips
Snap Beans
Squash

Trees:

Arborvitae (Thuja)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotine)
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Holly (Illix aquafolium)
Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Pawpaw (Asimina trilobal)
Pear Tree (Pyrus)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Spruce (Picea)
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciglua)
Viburnum
White Oak (Quercus alba)

Specialty Gardens

Specialty Gardens

Creating a Bird Sanctuary

Providing sanctuary for birds as their natural habitat becomes fractured by loss of grasslands, forests and wetlands, is becoming more and more important for those who love to observe them. Your landscape will help determine your opportunities for bird conservation. Territorial needs for each species varies. Bluebirds for instance need room to spread their wings. Having bluebirds in your backyard if you live within city limits is a rarity. However, if your home is suburban you can work with neighbors to attract bluebirds. They seem happiest in wide open spaces. There are many other engaging birds’ worth enticing to your back yard, and by providing fresh water in clean bird baths, natural foods such as fruits, nuts and seeds in clean feeders and an assortment of trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers you can attract a variety of birds – and in doing so, contribute to their well-being.

Many songbirds are attracted to urban settings. By following the prescribed activities listed above, you can attract Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, the Downy Woodpecker, Junco and several more to your habitat.

K Drive Greenhouse Co. no longer carries trees, but we can share with you the species that will help attract and shelter birds; as well as a listing of shrubs, flowers and vines that help sustain them.

TREES FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

Spring Nectar: Redbud and Lilac
Summer Fruit and Nectar: Dogwood, Mulberry and Redbud
Fall Fruit and Nectar: Crabapple
Winter Fruit: Juniper
Seed Trees: Maple, Birch and Elderberry
Shelter Trees:Arborvitae, Cedar, Spruce, Yew, Cypress, Eastern Hemlock, Oak and Willow

SHRUBS FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

Spring Nectar: Lilac and Quince
Summer Berries and Nectar: Serviceberries, Chokecherry, Weigela, Summersweet and Blackberries, Raspberries, Elderberry, Blueberries, Butterfly Bush and Rose of Sharon
Fall Berries and Nectar: Dogwood, Beautyberry, Roses, Viburnums, Winterberry/ Holly, and Barberry
Shrubs for Nests: Elderberry, Roses, Willows, Euonymus, Ninebark and Forsythia
Shrubs for Shelter: Juniper, Rhododendron, Boxwood, Spirea, Cypress and Yew

FLOWERS FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

PerennialSeeds and/or Nectar: Coreopsis, Purple Coneflowers, Joe-Pyke Weed, Liatris, Black-eyed Susan, Milkweed/Butterfly Weed, Coral Bells, Columbine, Cardinal Flower, Bee Balm, Lupine, Penstemon, Phlox, Sedum, Aster, Bachelor’s Button, Baptisia, Lupine, Foxglove, Blanket Flower, Salvia, Yarrow, Strawberry, Agastache, Hollyhock, Hosta, Lychnis, Yucca, Delphinium, Goldenrod, Dandelions, Gaura, Pincushion Flower, Poppy and Catmint
AnnualSeeds and/or Nectar: Fuchsia, Cosmos, Nicotiana, Salvia, Zinnia, Marigold, Petunia, Sunflowers, Verbena, Lantana, Cleome, Calibrachoa, Geranium and Angelonia

VINES FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

Fruit bearing and Shelter: Bittersweet, Grapes, Honeysuckle, Nasturtium, Morning Glory, Clematis and Trumpet

HERBS FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

Dill, Sage, Pineapple Sage, Lavender and Mint

GRASSES FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

GRASSES FOR ATTRACTING BIRDS

Pennisetum, Schizachyrium (bluestem), Panicum, Bamboo and Fescue
Leave grasses uncut for the winter to provide seed and shelter.

This is a varied list of plants. No-one can or should try to plant them all. Thoughtful planning and planting will not only help you, but it will result in healthier plants and healthier birds.

Safely Feeding Hummingbirds

Safely Feeding Hummingbirds

We gardeners have a special place in our hearts for hummingbirds. We love to watch them as they dart from flower to flower; and of course, we want to attract them to our feeders too. It is important that while we are enjoying them we are also providing a product that will do no harm.

The following products are not good for hummingbirds:

  • honey
  • artificial sweeteners
  • red dye or food coloring.


The following recipe is the standard for hummingbird-safe sugar solution.

Sugar Solution

  • Combine 1-part white sugar with 4-parts water.
  • Bring to slow boil for 2 minutes.
  • Cool before pouring into feeder.


Store excess solution in the refrigerator – bring back to room temperature before pouring into feeder.

To keep hummingbirds happily visiting your feeders, clean the feeders regularly with hot water to prevent fermentation and mold – every 3 days in hot weather and once a week in cool weather. Hummingbirds will reject “old” solution.

Specialty Gardens

Specialty Gardens

Shade Gardens

Planning a shade garden can be daunting. However, if you approach it thoughtfully, you can create something beautiful that will bring you long-time enjoyment.

As you can see by the pictures provided, a well-appointed shade garden has a lot to offer. What better place to retreat to after a hard days’ work, or on a quiet afternoon!

Following are some suggested plants to help you get started. Remember – K Drive Greenhouse Staff is always ready and willing to help you with your selection.

Perennials: Anemone, Astilbe, Bergenia, Bleeding Heart, Brunnera, Bugleweed, Cimicifuga (Snake Root), Columbine, Coral Bells (Heuchera), Corydalis, Creeping Phlox, Ferns, Foam Flower, Hakonechloa Grass, Hosta, Jacobs Ladder, Lady’s Mantle, Lamium (Deadnettle), Lenten Rose, Lily of the Valley, Lungwort, Niger Grass, Pachysandra, Polygonatum or Solomon’s Seal, Primrose, Pulsatilla (Wind Flower) and Spikenard.

Trees and Shrubs: Arborvitae, Buckthorn, Dogwood, Forsythia, Holly, Hydrangea, Japanese Kerria, Potentilla, Rhododendron, Elderberry, Siberian Cypress, Sweetshrub, Wintercreeper and Yew.

Annuals: Alyssum, Alternanthera, Begonia, Caladium, Fuchsia, Coleus, Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens, Hypoestes (also known as Polka Dot Plant), Iresine, Lobelia, Wishbone Flower and Begonia

Herbs: Mint, Chives, Parsley, Cilantro, Tarragon, Lemon Balm, Oregano and Thyme will all tolerate a little shade, but must have some sun to flourish.

The picture above is an example of a shade garden that gets some filtered sun. This garden hosts a variety of Fern, Hosta, Daylily, and Coral Bells.

Specialty Gardens

Specialty Gardens

Drought Tolerant

Once these plants get established they will handle hot dry conditions better than others. Plants are an investment, and to reap the benefits they must be watered and fed. Drought tolerant simply means is that they can withstand drier conditions better than more water-thirsty varieties.

Perennials

Artemisia or Worm Wood, Bachelor’s Buttons, Bell Flower, Bergenia, Black Eyed Susan, Blanket Flower, Butterfly Weed, Catmint, Coreopsis, Crocosmia, Daylily, Delosperma or Ice Plant, Dianthus or Pinks, Echinacea, Evening Primrose, Foxglove, Gaura, Grasses: Lucerne (Blue Eyed Grass), Festuca (Blue Fescue), Goldenrod, Helicototrichon (Blue Oat Grass), Hens & Chicks, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Iris, Kniphofia or Red Hot Poker, Lamb’s Ear, Lavender, Lewisia, Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) or Loosestrife, Penstemon or Bearded Tongue, Russian Sage, Salvia, Sedum (Stonecrop), Silverlace Vine, Sweet Kate (Blue and Gold Spiderwort), Yarrow and Yucca.

Shrubs

Barberry, Butterfly Bush, Elderberry, Kerria Japonica, Quince, Rose of Sharon, Tamarix (Salt Cedar) and Wintercreeper

Annuals

Ageratum, Begonia, Celosia, Cosmo, Dianthus, Dipladenia, Dusty Miller, Eucalyptus, Gazania, Ivy, Lantana, Licorice Plant, Morning Glory, Nicotiana, Osteospermum or Trailing African Daisy, Phlox, Pink Evening Primrose, Portulaca, Sedum, Salvia, Verbena, Periwinkle and Zinnia.

Herbs

Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Winter Savory.

Specialty Gardens

Specialty Gardens

There are plants which are said to have certain special purposes – some of this is based on fact, and some on lore. K Drive Greenhouse Co. does carry many of the plants listed below – but we do not carry them for the sole purpose of prevention, and we do not guarantee success.

Plants That May Help Deter Mosquitoes

Perennials: Catmint, Bee Balm, Lavender, Artemisia (Wormwood), Allium, Yarrow and Cedar Trees
Annuals: Eucalyptus, Ageratum, Marigolds, Lemon-scented Geranium, Lantana and Verbena
Herbs: Basil, Catnip, Chives, Garlic, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Verbena, Mint, Rosemary and Sage

Plants That May Help Prevent Tick Invasion

Plants That May Help Prevent Tick Invasion

Perennials: Artemisia (Wormwood), Lavender and Yarrow
Annuals: Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Chrysanthemums
Herbs: Catnip, Garlic, Lavender, Lemon Grass, Mint, Rosemary and Sage

Plants That May Help Repel Japanese Beetles

Annuals: Chrysanthemums and Marigolds
Herbs/Vegetables: Catnip, Chives, Garlic, Leeks and Onions

Plants That May Be Resistant to Japanese Beetles

Trees and Shrubs- Boxwood, Dogwood, Euonymus, Forsythia, Holly, Hydrangeas, Junipers, Lilac, Pear, Pines, Red Maple, Sweetgum and Tulip Tree
Annuals- Begonias, Caladiums and Dusty Millers

Specialty Gardens

Herb Gardening

Herbs are wonderful things – they bring out the best in food when used correctly and many of them are also used for medicinal purposes. Because herbs can affect people differently, you should discuss the use of herbs with your doctor if you plan to use them for medicinal purposes.

Growing herbs is not difficult – they need good soil, sunlight, watering on a regular basis and fertilizer on a bi-weekly basis.

Our list of herbs is not all-inclusive. It targets the herbs that K Drive Greenhouse provides to our customers.

Basil:

Basil:

Annual. Basil is likely one of the most popular culinary herbs, and sweet basil the most widely-used. A close relative to mint, basil has a floral, anise and clove-like flavor and aroma. Basil flower buds should be removed as soon as they form as they can affect the flavor of the leaves. Basil is used in soups, stews and meat dishes, but also adds wonderful flavor to egg dishes and herb butters.

Catnip:

Perennial 4-8. It is grown mostly because house cats and butterflies love it. The plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant. It can be a repellant for certain insects, including aphids and squash bugs. Catnip oil has been found to attract the beneficial insect known as lacewings which eat aphids and mites.

Chamomile:

Perennial 4-9. Chamomile has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years to calm anxiety and settle stomachs. In the U.S., chamomile is best known as an ingredient in herbal tea and is touted for its antioxidant properties. NOTE: If you are allergic to ragweed, you may not be able to tolerate Chamomile.

Chives:

Chives:

Perennial 3-9. A member of the onion family that sports beautiful purple flowers, chives prefer sunshine and moist, fertile soil. Mulch will help maintain moisture and keep the weeds down. If the flowers ripen, they will scatter seed and take over your garden! Toss chives into a dish at the last minute, as heat destroys their delicate flavor. Thinly slice them to maximize their taste, or use finely snipped as a garnish.

Cilantro:

Annual. Rather you know it as cilantro, coriander, or Chinese parsley, this herb is one of the most versatile. Cilantro adds distinctive flavor to salsas, soups, stews, curries, salads, vegetables, fish and chicken dishes.

Dill:

Annual. Dill thrives best in the sun. Use it to flavor fish, lamb, egg dishes, soups and potato salad. Seeds are used in pickling recipes and vinegar.

Fennel:

Perennial 2-10, May self-seed. In the Celery Family. Fennel is widely cultivated, both in its native range and elsewhere, for its edible, strongly flavored leaves and fruits and its anise flavor. The three different parts of fennel—the base, stalks and leaves—can all be used in cooking.

Lavender (English):

Annual. NOTE: Hidcote Blue Lavender is a tender perennial North of Zone 6. Lavender demands two things, full sun and extremely well drained soil. If drainage is an issue, consider growing it in raised beds. Most lavender is used to scent potpourri or sachet mixtures, or as a calming ingredient in some soaps and lotions. It may also be used in beverages and with pork, fish or chicken dishes – if you decide to experiment, use it sparingly! To harvest, cut stems of lavender just as the flowers start to open. It is at this stage that the spikes will have the strongest scent. Hang in small bunches in a cool, dry, dark well-ventilated area to dry.

Lemon Balm:

Lemon Balm:

Perennial 5-9. Lemon balm is often used as a flavoring in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint. The leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make medicine. Lemon balm is used alone or as part of various multi-herb combination products.

Lemon Grass:

Annual. Lemongrass is native to India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It is widely used as an herb in Asian cuisine and as a medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative.

Lemon Verbena:

Annual. Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas and sorbet.

Marjoram:

Annual. A milder, sweeter member of the Oregano family, marjoram is cultivated for its aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes. Whether used as an essential oil, powder, fresh leaves, or dried leaves, Marjoram has many uses with numerous health benefits.

Mint:

Perennial 3-11. It is extremely versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Mint is most often used in veal, pork and lamb dishes; as well as in beverages and jellies. Mint can be invasive. Planting it in a contained area makes it easier to curb this tendency.

Oregano:

Oregano:

Annual. Oregano and marjoram are so similar in looks and flavor that they are often confused. Oregano, however, has a more potent taste and aroma; marjoram is sweeter and more delicate. Oregano is most often used in tomato based soups and sauces, pizza, and Mexican cuisine.

Parsley:

Annual. No kitchen should be without parsley. It's the workhorse of the herb world and can go in just about every dish you cook. Parsley's mild, grassy flavor allows the flavors of other ingredients to come through. A BONUS: Parsley has a cleaning effect on your palate and your breath.

Rosemary:

Rosemary:

Annual. Rosemary does best as a container plant rather than being planted in a garden. Keeping the plants cool and placing them on pebble filled saucers filled with water helps to increase humidity around the plant and reduce foliage damage. Rosemary has a warm, slightly bitter taste that gives wonderful flavor to soups, sauces, fish, pork, lamb, poultry and game. Remember to use it sparingly as an accent to food as the flavor can be overpowering.

Sage:

Perennial Zones 5-10. Pineapple Sage is an Annual. Native to the northern Mediterranean coast, where it's used frequently in cooking. Americans associate it with turkey and dressing. Use it with discretion, as it can overwhelm a dish.

Stevia:

Annual. Stevia is perhaps unique among food ingredients because it's most valued for what it doesn't do. It doesn't add calories. Unlike other sugar substitutes, stevia is derived from a plant. It is an alternative to artificial sweeteners with no added calories, no side effects, and very little aftertaste.

Sweet Grass:

Annual. Sweet grass has a sweet, long-lasting aroma that is even stronger when the grass has been harvested and dried and is then moistened or burned. Just as the sweet scent of this natural grass is attractive and pleasing to people, so is it attractive to good spirits.

Tarragon:

Tarragon:

Annual. Dried tarragon has a very short shelf life; and fresh tarragon isn't always easy to find, but you'll love the bittersweet, peppery taste it imparts. Heat diminishes its flavor, so add tarragon toward the end of cooking, or use it as a garnish. Remember to use sparingly. Tarragon is often used to flavor oil, vinegar and marinades.

Thyme:

Thyme:

Perennial 5-10. Thyme comes in dozens of varieties; however, most cooks use French thyme. This herb pairs well with many other herbs—especially rosemary, parsley, sage, savory, and oregano. Because the leaves are so small, they often don't require chopping. It’s flavor and fragrance hold up well to long, slow cooking.

Fresh-picked Herbs

  • Wash herbs just before using; pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Freshly picked herbs will stay fresh in the refrigerator for approximately 5 days if loosely wrapped in a damp paper towel, and then sealed in a zip-top plastic bag filled with air.
  • To store herbs bouquet-style: Place, stem down, in a jar adding water to cover 1 inch of the stem ends. Enclose in a large zip-top plastic bag, and change the water every other day. Most herbs will keep for up to a week this way.

Drying Herbs

  • Tie sprigs or branches into small bunches, as large, dense bunches can develop mold and discolored leaves. Hang the bunches up to dry, leaves downward, wrapped loosely in muslin or thin paper bags to keep out dust and to catch falling leaves or seeds. Do not use plastic bags because of mold development. Allow 7-10 days to dry, depending on the size of the branches and humidity. They're completely dry if the leaves sound like crisp cornflakes when crushed.
  • You also can air-dry the seeds of herbs such as fennel, parsley, caraway and coriander. Seed heads tend to ripen unevenly, so once most of a head is brown, harvest it with about 2 feet of stem (or as long of a stem as possible). Bundle 4-5 stems together, then cover the heads with muslin or a paper bag and hang them upside down.

Storing and Using

Use this process for all drying methods. Crumble the dried herbs with your fingers (discard the hard leafstalks and midribs) and store in small, airtight containers. If you use clear glass containers, store them in a dark place so the herbs don't lose their color.

Fresh Recipes Using Herbs

Fresh Basil Pesto | Recipe Prep time: 10 minutes Yield: Makes 1 cup.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step 1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic and cheese and pulse a few times more.
Step 2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

INGREDIENTS
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1-pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20-30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil (or a simple balsamic reduction) for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe | Makes approximately 3-4 cups.

INGREDIENTS
2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb. - 1 1/2 lb.), stems removed, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
1 serrano chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: oregano and or cumin to taste

METHOD
1 Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Prepare the chilies. Be very careful while handling these hot peppers. If you can, avoid touching them with your hands. Use a fork to cut up the chilies over a small plate, or use a paper towel to protect your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn't hot enough, you can add a few for heat.
2 Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add some ground cumin.
Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.
Serve with chips, tortillas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, pinto or black beans.

Chocolate Covered Mint Leaves

To make chocolate covered mint leaves, melt your favorite chocolate in a microwave or double-boiler. Brush the melted chocolate on fresh or frozen mint leaves, and place on a wax paper to dry

Lemon-Butter Sauce with Chervil

INGREDIENTS
Juice of ½ lemon (about ¼ cup)
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 tablespoons minced fresh chervil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a small saucepan, heat lemon juice to boiling.
2. Quickly whisk in cold butter, one piece at a time, creating a fully emulsified sauce. When you’ve added all the butter, you should have a rather thin and creamy sauce.
3. Whisk in chervil, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately over poached white fish, sautéed chicken breasts, steamed prawns or crunchy zucchini matchsticks.

Chervil-Chive Butter
To make spreadable herb butter, simply beat fresh, chopped chervil and chives into soft butter, then chill.