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.


LEMON VERBENA SUGAR COOKIES
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.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lemon Verbena Passover Kugel


An artistic expression of my Lemon Verbena plants, and a delicious recipe I'm serving for Passover tonight. I baked it in muffin tins for cute little individual servings:

Lemon Verbena Veggie Kugel
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated apple
l cup grated potato
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar OR honey
1/2 cup matzah meal
2 handfuls dried or fresh Lemon Verbena
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil

Blend eggs, olive oil and Lemon Verbena in blender. 
Combine with all other ingredients. 
Bake in oiled muffin tins 45 min at 350 degrees.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

First Lemon Verbena Cuttings in 2017


First Lemon Verbena cuttings this year, relaxing before I strip the leaves from the stem and lay out the leaves to dry.  Those are new, little Southernwood plants in the terra cotta pot on top. And here, ta-da, are the dried leaves, ready to make tea and flavor baked goods and broth. Lemony deliciousness has begun!




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Natural and Commercial Lemon Verbena Perfume






Today is a day I am reminded why commercial perfumes are made with the scent of Lemon Verbena. It's heavenly! My little greenhouse is filled with Lemon Verbena plants in 4" pots, growing out for at least a month to obtain sturdy root systems. They smell delicious, too.

But I trimmed them today, so that they would grow out full and bushy now. And I relished the scent of natural Lemon Verbena perfume in my kitchen as I removed leaves from the stems I'd pruned off the plants. Now those leaves are drying to make tea, and for use in baking.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spring Has Sprung in 2017!


Cardinal Climber seedlings are up and reaching for the sun today, March 2, 2017. The tower is ready for them to continue their climb, once it's warm enough to transplant them outdoors with no frost in the forecast. Here's a photo of Cardinal Climbers in all their sunny, summer glory:


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lemon Verbena & Friends - Dee-Lish Rose


I can grow it, photograph it and post it, but I cannot propagate the patented Dee-Lish rose that brings me exquisite pleasure. The scent is citrusy and rosy at the same time, and the color is a precious light pink. So glad I got a couple of these bushes this year!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Lemon Verbena & Friends - Blue Passionflower


A tender new start of Blue Passionflower, or passiflora caerulea in Latin. Here's what this little guy can be expected to look like when it's blooming in a couple years -



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lemon Verbena Muffins



Today is muffin day, so I concocted this recipe for using fresh or dried Lemon Verbena leaves. You can make it any time of year from your crop. 
Lemon Verbena Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBS sugar
1 TBS honey
1 egg
1 cup milk
4 TBS melted butter
1/4 cup Lemon Verbena leaves, fresh or dried, loosely packed

Put the Lemon Verbena leaves in a blender with the milk, egg, sugar, honey. Blend so the leaves are completely pulverized into tiny green specks. Add melted butter while blender is running.  Mix flours, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, then add the wet ingredients from the blender. Mix gently and scoop into a muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 - 25 minutes until the tops are slightly browned.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lemon Verbena tea from dried leaves


My funky vintage tea jar is perfect for making Lemon Verbena tea, and drinking it at room temperature this summer. I don't like iced tea, so I pour boiling water over the dried leave and wait until it cools off to room temp, as cool as I like it. But many people enjoy Lemon Verbena tea iced and sweetened. Here's a close up of the plastic mesh tea strainer.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Lemon Verbena in insulated pots

Here's a close up photo showing the insulated potting system I devised this year, since losing 'way too many Lemon Verbena plants in the hot Texas summer in 2015. I water the pots and the soil around them, inside our black crates, which keeps the roots cooler. It's as though they are planted in the ground, or as close to their natural state as possible. It's a good way to protect our nursery inventory and still maintain the flexibility of potted plants.
Take note of the happy, little butterfly among the Lemon Verbena blossoms on this package of teabags, called Cedron in Argentina where it's grown and packaged.