Thursday, April 9, 2009

my thyme it is all gone

The season turns and it is warmer outside. Indoors the dank cold of winter still lurks; would that I could save some to dole out one cold breath at a time during the triple digit heat of August. My front yard fills with pink snowflakes, the windblown petals fall from the ornamental plum trees, and I open the windows to let sweet springtime air inside. Walking Smokey late at night, I can tell when I pass a yard full of hyacinth, then different, the smaller sweeter grape hyacinth, and my favorite - daphne. Someday I want that one in my own front yard, it is a temperamental and expensive plant though, and I can enjoy it while walking about. The star magnolia glows in the night yard, each year just a bit bigger, with more lovely glow-white blossoms. Still no taller than my waist, it has doubled in size since I planted it three years ago.

This evening I moved a rhubarb from the side yard into the front yard next to the driveway. I had thought that the south-facing side yard would be a good spot, but it was not a happy rhubarb place... that rhubarb, a gift from my friends in Olympia, has lovely deep red stalks. I want it to be happy and grow, so there will be enough stalks to pick some, enough to make deep pink strawberry rhubarb jam. Last year it had three pitiful leaves and then died back. I thought it was gone, but it came back this year. So now it is where I will see it every day, and where it will get more sunlight and warmth. It is next to my lovage, which is springing up with new growth an amazing red color. I imagine that the lovage will turn green as it matures, but I was happy to see it. The idea is that it (the lovage) will provide a celery-like flavoring without the difficulty of conventional celery, an herbal flavoring as it were, for soups and suchlike...I wanted to move the thyme to the front yard also, but when I looked for it, the monster rosemary had engulfed and devoured it...I shall need to get another start of thyme, that is a favored perennial herb, its tiny leaves a favorite with lamb, but good in most savory and even some sweet dishes

The rosemary is about to have some serious modification. There are a lot of winterkilled branches
and it is an enormous floppy mess, three feet high and between five and six feet across. I intend to cut away everything dead, and look for ways to encourage it to grow more upright. It is a good plant in totally the wrong spot, it should be possible to prune and shape it into some kind of more tidy form, my friend sharonsbirds is suggesting an informal version of the "ball on a stick" topiary aka a childs' glyph for tree. I will also check the branch tips to see if any are already rooted and suitable to plant in a pot. Given how little I use rosemary in cooking, a small potted one would be plenty. To me, the scent of rosemary always brings to mind the hair oil that certain of my hippy friends would use, I smell it and I am twenty again, watching Andy Mapel combing his long carrot red hair. Rosemary doesn't smell like food to me, in the same way, I imagine, that my friends who do not like rosewater in their food must feel...


  1. I adore Daphne. My house came with a medium sized one, happily it has gotten quite large. I hope your rhubarb does well, I think they are very handsome plants. I am so glad that spring is really here!

  2. I planted a Daphne at our other house and before we lose our rights to it I plan to dig it up and bring it to the "new" garden. I love the scent!

    As soon as I am done blog hopping I am going to go plant my thyme and potatoes. Unless it starts raining again.

    Oh and I also have a well established rhubarb at the old house and I plan on digging that up as well.