Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lemon Verbena - Before and After Pruning

Lemon Verbena - Before & After Pruning for Growth

People ask me how and when to prune Lemon Verbena plants successfully.  I remind them that Lemon Verbena is a bush. Think about how it works whenever you trim bushes. It makes them grow more, right? That's how a healthy Lemon Verbena plant responds to pruning, too. This photo shows how I prune my plants, and when. Meaning, I prune them when the stems are 12" or more in length. And I prune them 'way back to the first or second set of leaves on the stem. That encourages more stems and more growth of lovely, lemony-scented leaves to harvest!

We're growing Holy Basil in the field this year, too. Here's a photo showing Holy Basil (Tulsi) before and after pruning.
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Last 2018 Lemon Verbena Transplants

Here it is, Memorial Day Weekend, and the last of the potted Lemon Verbena is ready to be transplanted into the field. From years of experience, we've learned that small pots of it won't usually survive the harsh Texas heat. 100 degree days are forecast this week, so that's why they must go in the ground. or into much larger pots. More leaves to harvest when they're in the ground!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Expanding Our Lemon Verbena Field for 2018

Tiny Cardinal Climber Greenhouse at Garden 44

It's Spring 2018 in North Texas! These little Cardinal Climbers will soon sink their roots in the ground and climb the fencing column built especially for them. Then, the hummingbirds and butterflies will dine on thousands of red blossoms, all summer and fall.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Call us to order Lemon Verbena herb tea

Dried, Texas-grown, whole-leaf Lemon Verbena in half-ounce packages, available locally and by US mail. 
Call to order, and leave a message. No texts.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lemon Verbena - Perfect Tea at Night!

Lemon Verbena herb tea is ideal for an after dinner drink, and also for a pleasant, hot beverage right before bedtime. Why? It's light, delicious and relaxing, and it contains no caffeine. 

Personally, I like to make my Lemon Verbena herb tea quite strong. I simply prefer the strong, lemony flavor, but that's not all. I also know it has more medicinal benefit, too.

Children can enjoy Lemon Verbena tea in their sippy cups or even their baby bottles. No sugar or honey is needed, which makes it popular with dentists and health-conscious parents!

UK healer and blogger, Suzanne Askham says, "All summer long my new Aloysia citrodora [Latin name for Lemon Verbena] has been sitting in my front yard, soaking up the sunshine in a large earthenware pot. It grows quickly, and has even flowered profusely with tiny, fragrant blooms. I cut a stalk at a time, put it in water indoors, and use it successively for three or four cups of tea. It is just beautiful. Before the weather gets too wintry, I will bring it into a cool garden room, to protect it from frost."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Potting Lemon Verbena Plants to Bring Indoors for Winter

My Lemon Verbena life primarily involves growning plants outdoors. But many gardeners grow Lemon Verbena in pots, and want to bring them indoors every fall. Here's a good video showing how to prepare your plants for the best indoor growth.

If you've grown Lemon Verbena in the garden, it's possible to pot it up to over-winter in a sunny window indoors. Another option is to pot it up and keep it in a garage, basement or storage area that stays above 20 degrees or so. 

Lemon Verbena can tolerate freezing, meaning 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but the roots will usually die off between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the risk I take each year when I leave potted plants outdoors, with leaves piled around them. Some live, some die. 

Every Spring I look forward to discovering the live plants when tiny leaves begin to appear at the base of the main stem. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena Herb Tea

Once you experience the lemony loveliness of Lemon Verbena as herb tea, it's not hard to believe it also has health benefits. Three scientific studies are summarized in this article, and many scientific studies are available by searching the web. 

And this article is more thorough in discussing the health benefits of Lemon Verbena, based on scientific research.

Finally, you have to try drinking Lemon Verbena tea and experience the benefits for yourself!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Medicinal Benefits of Lemon Verbena

Thanks to OrganicFact.net for this infographic on the medicinal benefits of Lemon Verbena.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

One Lemon Verbena Plant Growing Back

Just watered our Lemon Verbena plants in the field, and this one is a good example of what happens to a healthy plant that was pruned heavily in the process of harvesting leaves. It grows back quickly, and it produces more stems that will provide more leaves to harvest later. 

The first year I grew Lemon Verbena I was very hesitant to cut the stems at all. I was afraid I'd damage or kill the plant. Now I've learned the truth - Lemon Verbena is more like a bush than a flowering plant. Once it is established, pruning it is a good thing because it promotes bushier growth. 

So, take it from me, don't be hesitant or afraid to cut back your Lemon Verbena plants growing outdoors. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lemon Verbena Plant Regrowth

Look closely at the unique regrowth pattern of Lemon Verbena plants, a whorl on the main stem and side stems at the bottom of the plant. In the intense heat of our Texas summer right now, the smaller plants tend to concentrate their energy and basically "start over" in a fresh, new flush of growth.

The same thing happens when larger plants are trimmed or pruned. So, go ahead, prune your Lemon Verbena plants to grow new lemony-scented leaves now!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dried Lemon Verbena - Use THIS Not THAT

This photo shows dried Lemon Verbena leaves grown and packaged in France, where it's called Verveine. French herb tea drinkers love their Lemon Verbena after meals to improve digestion. That's one popular use. And many people drink it to relax, any time of day or night. Only use THIS type of dried leaves, a quality Lemon Verbena product.

Now take a another look at the product in the photo above, then contrast it to the photo below, a product imported from South America and sold as Lemon Verbena, also called Cedron.

When I showed this photo to my husband, who raises Lemon Verbena with me here in North Texas, I asked him what he saw, besides Lemon Verbena leaves. He said, "wood chips." 

Well, I think he's right! The product contains some leaves, yes, but also a large percentage of woody stems, twigs and bark, which will NOT make delightful herb tea at all.  Don't use a product looking like THAT!

Lemon Verbena for making tea and for cooking should only contain leaves, and never contain twigs, stems or bark. The dried leaves will look surprisingly fresh again when steeping in hot water.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Drink In The Scent of Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena - to know it is to love it! Just swiping your hand across a green, growing Lemon Verbena plant and drinking in the delicious scent is an instant delight. Growing your own plants, in pots or in your yard, gives you all the lemony leaves you want, whenever you want them for making tea or other drinks.

"I find lemon verbena the most drinkable herb, for its delicate flavor, divine aroma and beautiful yellow-green color." Barbara Damrosh in The Washington Post

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon Verbena in the New York Times

Lemon Verbena in bloom, photo by Jeff Spurrier in the New York Times. He also posted this nifty tip for enjoying your Lemon Verbena on the road - 

"Cut a few sprigs to put on the dashboard of your car. You'll get the sensation of strolling through an aromatic lemon orchard in full bloom."

For your commute, your family taxi service and your vacation, the delightful scent of Lemon Verbena will add a touch of elegance this summer!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lemon Verbena Fantasy Fairy Lights

My Lemon Verbena fairy-light fantasy photo. When I figure out how to propagate this beauty, the herb world will beat a path to my doorstep! Who wouldn't want a lovely, lemony-scented plant like this in their yard? For now, let's settle for a real one in the field here in North Texas today...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Little Book on Lemon Verbena

Welcome to everyone following
 Lemon Verbena Living on Facebook!
Comment with your contact info to receive your FREE ebook.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lemon Verbena Sugar Cookies

If Lemon Verbena sugar cookies sound good to you, here are two ways to consider making them:

One way is to make Lemon Verbena sugar by layering white sugar with fresh Lemon Verbena leaves for a couple days. Remove leaves easily by pouring sugar through a strainer, then use your lemon-scented sugar in your favorite plain sugar cookie recipe. 

Or, try the following recipe from Nancy Heraud, using fresh, chopped Lemon Verbena leaves. Finely chopped leaves are best.

2-1/2 c. flour
2 T. fresh lemon verbena, chopped
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1-1/2 t. lemon zest
1 c.  unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
extra sugar for rolling

Combine dry ingredients.  Set aside.  Beat butter, add sugar, eggs and vanilla in separate bowl.  Beat until combined.  Add half of flour mixture, beat.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients with wooden spoon.  Make rounded teaspoonfuls.  Roll in extra sugar.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees until edges are lightly browned.  Cool.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fresh-Picked Texas-Grown Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena is growing well out in the field, here in North Texas.  The majority of commercial Lemon Verbena is grown in Central America, South America and in various countries in the Middle East. In other words, once established, the growing plants flourish in hot weather. 

Here's a photo of the same harvest, after drying on indoor racks, with a fan moving air across them for good circulation. The leaves are crisp-dry for storage in only one day, this time of year, and they are stored in a brown paper grocery bag for continued air circulation.

In contrast, our mint and basil take two or three days to dry in the same location, temperature and humidity.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

It's the perfect time to pick some fresh leaves of Lemon Verbena and crush them into a tasty batch of ice cream. Be sure to use fresh leaves only, not dried. 

As an alternative, infuse the lemony scent and flavor into white sugar, and then use it to make ice cream, with directions by Bon Appetite

Try these recipes to use your fresh Lemon Verbena leaves
to make and to garnish some cold and creamy desserts:

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Lovely Carpet of Lemon Verbena Leaves

We're getting ready to harvest Lemon Verbena leaves again in the next few days. It's always best to snip the stems early in the morning, and to remove the leaves from the stems before drying. I resist the temptation to simply dry the leaves on the stem. Once dry, the leaves are a bit tougher to remove, and harder on my hands

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lemon Verbena In Bloom + Tiger Lilies In Bloom

Lemon Verbena blooms are not spectacular, to say the least. Snip them off to encourage more plant growth and more and more lemony leaves to harvest and enjoy.

But, our Tiger Lilies ARE spectacular rught now. I bought my original plants 17 years ago, and have moved them in pots every time I moved to a different home. So, they've gone through 16 winters in pots, in USDA zones 5 through 7b, and full shade through full sun environments. 

Here's what I've learned - Tiger Lilies prefer full sun, even in the Texas heat. They will grow in the shade, but rarely bloom there.
Click here more info on Tiger Lilies.

Monday, June 12, 2017

New Growth on Lemon Verbena - June 2017

One signal my Lemon Verbena plants give me that it's time prune, harvest and dry the leaves and to stimulate new growth is the buds of new stems breaking out along existing stems. 

The top photo was taken about a week after harvesting 2/3 of the plant growth in the first week of June 2017.

The bottom photo was taken the same day, after I removed all the leaves because they weren't in good shape. It's still healthy and will leaf out again quickly. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mint & Lemon Verbena Pesto

I adapted this Mint & Lemon Verbena Pesto recipe from Meghan Telpner's wonderful blog post on 10 Amazing Things To Do With Mint. Lemon Verbena and Basil will work this way, too. Serve on pasta, salad, pizza, crackers or fish:

Mint & Lemon Verbena Pesto

¼ cup walnut halves or pine nuts1½ cups fresh Mint leaves 
1½ cups fresh Lemon Verbena leaves
¼ cup olive oil¼ cup sunflower seeds2 cloves garlic2 teaspoons lemon juice¼ teaspoon salt
Traditionally, parmesan cheese is added, too,
but this dairy-free version is also delicious.

Toast the walnuts or pine nuts in the oven or pan for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Combine the basil, mint and oil in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Streaming in the oil while processing is ideal.)
Add the toasted walnuts, sunflower seeds and garlic and blend until pureed.
Add the lemon juice and salt and blend once more.
It’s now ready to be used or stored in the fridge in an air tight container or freeze in an ice cube tray and transfer to a freezer-safe container to use later.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Lemon Verbena and Sweet Mint

We grow mint in containers, to keep varieties separated for propagation and for harvest. Here's some Lemon Verbena in a pot beside the Sweet Mint, which is different than our Spearmint, Peppermint or Pineapple Mint varieties. Lemon Verbena makes a great tea mixed with any mint, fresh or dried. Drink hot or iced.

This year our little greenhouse frame is also serving as a multi-level drying rack. Out on the back porch with a fan creating great air flow, this mint will be dry in less than 12 hours. Then it's ready to use for herb tea and salad dressing, especially for fresh fruit. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Medicinal Use of Lemon Verbena

Pouring boiling water over a big handful of dried Lemon Verbena leaves this morning produced a fresh-looking infusion immediately. It makes a delicious drink, but it's also good for my body.

The pleasant taste and scent of Lemon Verbena is enough for most people. It's not well-known as a medicine, but some people rely on it for treating their arthritis, asthma and insomnia, among other uses.

Read comments on WebMD by people who use Lemon Verbena for medicinal purposes

Even Drugs.com says, "Lemon verbena has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries..."

Here's my post from 2015 on the antioxidant properties of Lemon Verbena.

Gabriele Stoll, my mentor in the production of Lemon Verbena, also known as Verveine, says the following (in German) on her blog: 

"The Verveine plant has brought me to brain research after I have observed that there are certain effects of the Verveine scent on humans. 

"This observation prompted me to deal with the work of brain research on fragrances. In doing so, I have learned that arriving sensory impulses are always charged with emotions in the evaluation by the brain."

She is a scientist, and she's discovered that Lemon Verbena has a positive effect on us. I'm all for that!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lemon Verbena Salad Dressing Recipes

Personally, I like the taste of Lemon Verbena so much that I just snip it when I'm out snipping parsley, dill and rosemary to put in my fresh salad greens. Sometimes I blend it up (fresh or dried) in olive oil and vinegar for
Lemon Verbena Vinaigrette.

Here's a Lemon Verbena Salad Dressing recipe that includes mint and basil. It's a Greek yogurt version.

And here, for all adventurous cooks, is a list of 35 Ways to Use Lemon Verbena, from Clotilde, posted on her Chocolate and Zuchinni blog.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Texas Lemon Verbena - in the field

This is the first year we're experimenting with growing our Lemon Verbena in the field, so we can harvest a large crop of leaves, to dry, sell and use all winter.

Having three years of dried Lemon Verbena on hand now, I definitely smell and taste the difference between the leaves dried in 2015 and 2016, compared to leaves I've dried so far in 2017. Fresh is best! Gotta grow your own Lemon Verbena for truly fresh taste.

Our 4" pots are filling out well and ready to sell. Come 'n get 'em!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Lemon Verbena Four Packs

Four Lemon Verbena plants for only $15.00, here at Garden 44, while the plants are small enough to stay potted-up together. Soon it will be time to transplant into individual pots or straight into the garden. Get the unforgettably lemon-scented leaves for yourself, and your friends, family and neighbors!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lemon Verbena Tisane = Lemon Verbena Tea

Here's a page from the Gardeners' Community Cookbook, compiled by Victoria Wise. It's a bit elaborate, but describes how to make tisane (which most of us call "tea") with fresh Lemon Verbena leaves. A tisane is an infusion of any herb, fresh or dried, in hot water. 

Personally, I like using dried Lemon Verbena to make tea. Sometimes I mix it with other dried herbs, such as Nettle and Mint, too. But I always cover the container. A cup of boiling water with herbs in it, fresh or dried, cools off a lot in five minutes, so that's why I always cover the mug or use a jar with a lid, because I like it HOT!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lemony, Soapy Lemon Verbena Soap

Their packaging is attractive and the scent is enchanting, of course, because these soaps are scented with Lemon Verbena. Most commercial soaps and lotions containing Lemon Verbena are made with the extracted essential oil, not with fresh or dried leaves of the plant. Here's some rustic soap made with whole leaves instead:
Sandy Maine shared a recipe for home made Lemon Verbena soap in the October, 1995 issue of Mother Earth Living.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lemon Verbena Vinigrette

It's easy to capture the enchanting flavor of Lemon Verbena in high-quality olive oil, to use in salad dressing, marinades and baking. My favorite use is simple, basic vinigrette on salad greens, fresh from the garden.

I stuffed a clean, amber vitamin bottle with fresh Lemon Verbena leaves, then filled the bottle with as much olive oil as it would hold, while keeping all the leaves submerged. You can see in the photo that after straining out the leaves, the bottle was about half & half when it was full - half leaves and half oil. 

This may seem like a lot, meaning far more fresh leaves than you might choose to use of another herb, such as rosemary or parsley. But the delicate scent of Lemon Verbena requires more greenery to produce the most flavorful oil infusion. 

Let the bottle sit for a couple weeks, then strain. Shaking it during infusion isn't necessary. Pour the strained oil back into the bottle.

Here's an easy tip for making vinigrette... Uncap the bottle and pour in about half as much cider vinegar as there is oil in the bottle, screw on the cap, and shake it to mix up the dressing. Uncap again, shake in a bit of black pepper and salt, whatever you like, cap it and shake it again.

Now you have a rare and delicious vinegrette, which cannot be found in even the most elegant restaurants, at any price!

Lemon Verbena Vinigrette

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Our Lemon Verbena - Year 4, Year 2 and Year 1

The Lemon Verbena Mother Plant at Garden 44 - 
It's been living in this pot for 4 years, 
through 3 winters, so far. 
No other survivors from 2015 (Year 3), 
year of the Great Flood on Lake Texoma.