Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Visitors

So I don't usually post two back to back picture posts only, but I hope you'll bear with me...this one was just too adorable not to share!

I went to go take down a hanging basket on my front porch because it died in the last round of storms and I found this little surprise. I had seen a bird fly out of there once, but had no idea...

Robins Nest in my front porch hanging basket

I found this!! I immediately hung it back up and dead flowers or not, its staying there until the little robins are born and fly away! Mama flew back to the nest while I was outside. My neighbor told me she saw the Mama huddled up there during the storms that blew through and was swinging in the wind... I'm hoping to hear 5 little birds soon!!

Mama bird sitting vigil

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garden Visitor

Not too often do I encounter "critters" in my container garden. I had a visitor this afternoon....

A Little Garden Visitor....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rosemary Balsamic London Broil

So I am not sure if this technically counts as a garden post....but I did use Rosemary from my garden so I'm gonna go for it ;)

This weekend, I got a great deal on a London Broil at the grocery store. This was my first attempt at a London Broil, I can say I WILL be doing this again!

1. Pick about 2-3 Sprigs of fresh rosemary from your garden (see I told you it was sort of garden related) :)

Rosemary from my garden

2.  Whisk together

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves crushed garlic

Place London broil in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour vinegar and oil mixture over it

Place 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary in the bag as well

Seal and place in the refrigerator over night

Marinating London Broil

3. Turn the broiler onto high & place marinated steak on a broil pan

4. Salt the steak to taste

5. Pat fresh ground pepper onto both sides of the steak to form a crust

Pat the ground pepper into the steak to form a crust

6. Place the steak about 8" under the broiler and broil on each side for about 8 minutes. I like my steak medium to medium well, adjust the time for doneness

Rosemary Balsamic London Broil


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tarragon 101

Buyer be informed this spring! When you're at the local garden store or nursery I want to make sure you go in armed with knowledge about what I think may be one of those most mis-labeled herbs.

There are several plants that can be and are labeled "Tarragon." You'll want to be familiar with a few tidbits of information to determine exactly which of these plants you're buying.

FRENCH TARRAGON (Artemisia dracunculus) 

This is considered by most to be the "genuine" culinary herb and is most likely the Tarragon plant you're hoping to plant in you're garden.

It is a perennial herb which grows in partial sun and requires well drained soil. The reason French Tarragon is hard to find and often substituted for is because it very rarely goes to seed. The most common way of growing new Tarragon plant is through propagation from cuttings in the spring.   The plant has woody stems with thin blue-green leaves

The best way to determine if the plant is french tarragon is through a taste test. Take a leaf off the Tarragon plant and taste it. If it is genuine French Tarragon it will have an anise flavor and a strong "tongue numbing" effect.

My young French Tarragon plant from a local farm 

RUSSIAN TARRAGON (Artemisa Dracunculoides) 

The largest impostor to French Tarragon is Russian Tarragon. It is in the same family as French Tarragon so this is why it is often substituted. Russian Tarragon CAN be grown from seed. So if you're looking at a seed catalog and it lists Tarragon, you can bet the $2  the seed packet costs that it is Russian Tarragon.

If you're at the nursery doing the taste test, Russian tarragon will have similar anise flavor but it will be much more subtle and the "tongue numbing" effect will be minimal.


When searching for Tarragon plants you may also encounter plants labeled as Spanish, Winter, Texas or Mexican Tarragon. These are all the same plant in the Marigold family. The plant is also often used as a substitute for French Tarragon, it grows better in humid climates.  However, it lacks the "bite" of French Tarragon

So the morale of this story is "Buyer be Informed" Make sure you're buying what you are paying for. All of these plants are wonderful to grow and use,  just make sure you're getting what you're hoping for.

Do you have any favorite uses or recipes for Tarragon?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thoughts of Tarragon

So in order to keep my mind of the impending government shutdown and not knowing how long I will be out of work, I've been working on a post regarding my favorite herb: Tarragon!

I'm almost done and will post here shortly, I will explore all of the different types of tarragon (french, russian, spanish...) and provide tips for identifying impostors  at the local garden store

Before I post, is there anything you've been wondering about tarragon you'd like answered?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Win some Colonial Seeds!

I feel bad that I've been absent for over a week, 1st week of a new job keeps you busy I guess. But no excuses...

As a thank you for sticking with me and reading my ramblings I'd like to offer a little contest

The weather here in the Colonial Triangle has been crazy to say the least....snow and sleet one day and 87 degrees the next, what few plants I do have going are getting confused...not to mention the 40mph winds on my young plants. I think I'll be waiting a few more weeks before planting much more, just to be safe.

So in the absence of my own garden I went to Colonial Williamsburg this weekend to visit theirs! (If I didn't have to dress up like the 1800s I might consider a second job there, its a wonderful place.)

Here are a few pictures of it! I'll go back often and I'm sure as the season goes on the garden will change!

Ok ok, onto the contest ....

Leave a comment with a topic you'd like me to tackle, it can be anything remotely related to gardening. The 1st person to leave a topic suggestion (hey its the first contest so we'll go with the first comment) will win two (1 herb or veggies & 1 flower) packets of Colonial Seeds. These seeds have been descended from the original gardens in Williamsburg

Have fun and I look forward to your topics!