Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gourveine Lemon Verbena In Germany

This photo makes me cry... I am so envious! These giant Lemon Verbena plants cultivated by Gabriele Stoll in Germany are in their first year of growth. This photo is from a video Gabriele sent today, so it's plant growth achieved through the last week of October 2018. 

The size of the plants affects the size of the leaves, so it's easy to see why her commercial product called Gourveine is truly a gourmet Lemon Verbena product. It's elegant and excellent, as well as organically and biodynamically grown.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lemon Verbena at The Cultured Cup in Dallas

Orignal photo courtesy
Congratulations to Kyle Stewart and Phil Krampetz, owners of The Cultured Cup in Dallas, TX. They are selling our entire 2018 crop of Texas Grown Lemon Verbena, starting this week. It is truly a limited edition herbal product for making infusions (often called "herb tea") and for mixing with the world-class black and green tea offered by The Cultured Cup.
 Check out the glowing Yelp Reviews for The Cultured Cup!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This Lemon Verbena Did NOT Come From Kroger

Kroger does not sell our Lemon Verbena, but this grocery bag is the perfect way to show how much space a pound of dried Lemon Verbena occupies. Light and airy, it takes up 3/4 or more of a standard kraft paper grocery bag. Not only are these bags easily accessible and just the right size, but they also allow the dried product to breathe. Plastic bags are not the ideal storage container for high-quality dried herbs. We cover the top of ours for storage.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

After the Final Lemon Verbena Harvest

I wasn't in the mood to get face-down in the dirt today, so I took this photo from up above. It's really hard to see the little Lemon Verbena plants because they are the same color as the soil here in North Texas. 

Why am I subjecting you to this difficult photo? Because it makes the point that pruning Lemon Verbena 'way back is a good thing to do. The plants are little bushes and they have well-developed root systems which are not deep but they are sturdy. These plants may look dead, but they are very much alive!

Rain is forecast over the next four days, so I wanted to get the photo immediately following our thrid and final Lemon Verbena harvest for the 2018 season. Beautiful green sprouts and leaves will be appearing soon, certainly after the rain. I'll get good photos, even if I have to get face-down in the mud!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lemon Verbena in Black Tea

The secret in this cup of black tea is a few Lemon Verbena leaves. They are steeping in the brewed black tea, loose or bagged, giving it a lemony flavor without needing any citrus fruit.  

People ask me how many Lemon Verbena leaves to use per cup, and I say, "That depends on how much lemon flavor you like."

I suggest starting with three whole leaves of Lemon Verbena in an 8 - 12 oz cup of tea. Yes, that's a big teacup. But anyone who buys tea at coffee shops or convenience stores is used to even larger cups! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Claire's Two Lemon Verbena Bushes

Claire lives near me and follows this blog. She saw two little Lemon Verbena plants at a store this spring, bought them and brought them home. She put both of them in this rectangular pot. And here they are, in the middle of September 2018.

She put them in her back yard, partially shaded by a crepe myrtle bush. In other words, they were not in the full Texas sun all summer. They were situated in partial shade. 

Claire saw me at the post office last week and asked what she should do with her plants now, before bringing them into her plant room for the winter. (Lucky Claire... She has an indoor plant room!)

I told her she should prune them back heavily, no matter how mean it may seem. I suggested she cut off the lovely branches, pull off the leaves and dry them overnight at normal air-conditioned room temperature.

Claire admitted she hadn't tried her Lemon Verbena yet. She just likes to smell it. Oh boy, is she in for a treat when she makes some herb tea with her harvest, these leaves drying on a tea towel below.

And I also explained that her little plants will re-grow from the stems, but primarily in a rosette of sprouts around the base of the main stem. The next photo is not Claire's plant. But it shows what I explained will most likely happen to her plants. 

The main point of my Lemon Verbena lecture at the post office was this - Lemon Verbena is a bush. Bushes like to be pruned back because it encourages new growth. Lemon Verbena responds well to pruning because it is a bush. Try it! Be brave like Claire and make herb tea with your Lemon Verbena leaf harvest, too!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sample Packs of 2018 Lemon Verbena

Cute, little sample packs of our fresh, new 2018 Lemon Verbena harvest are going out to Texas tea rooms this week. Welcome to Texas tea folks! And thanks for your honest feedback on our caffeine-free herbal tea, grown in Whitesboro, Texas. We're Garden 44, and our mailing address is 1014 E. Hwy 82 #184, Gainesville, TX 76240. Message line for your feedback is 903-328-9670. Thanks!

What Dr. Axe says about Lemon Verbena

The popular online advisor, Dr. Axe, posted a good article about the use of Lemon Verbena. He's got medical research to back up his 5 Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena. That part is excellent!

But his infographic called Growing and Harvesting Lemon Verbena contains a mistake. Planting Lemon Verbena seeds is not going to bring you success in a reasonable period of time. You need to buy a live plant or learn to propagate cuttings from a live plants. That's the best way to get started. 

Don't buy seeds from anyone on the internet! When your live plant produces seeds, feel free to collect and dry them. Then you can experiment with starting Lemon Verbena from your own seeds, and my guess is you'll agree with me. Starting plants from seeds is not the best way to get more Lemon Verbena plants.

Friday, September 14, 2018

F*R*E*E Lemon Verbena For Growing Indoors

While they last, we're offering FREE Lemon Verbena Roots for growing your own plant indoors this winter. 
Whitesboro, TX pick up only.
Comment and we'll get in touch with you.

What a great crop of Texas Grown Lemon Verbena we have this year! It's our first significant harvest from the field (last year was an experiment) and we are learning throughout the whole process, from planting to harvest.

It's hard to see in this photo, but we experimented with the distance between plants in each row. Lemon Verbena roots are not large, so the plants can grow much closer than we originally planned, especially when taking multiple cuttings throughout the growing season, April - September here in Zone 7b.

One thing we learned last year with a few plants in the field is that pushing for a 4th cutting is not worth the trouble. That's why we're pulling up the plants now, in mid-September. 

Lemon Verbena plants cut back this time of year will not produce luxurious growth or normal-size leaves as they grow back. The growth is rather stunted and the leaves are like miniature versions of normal leaves. 

It may be the angle of the sun that causes less-than-profuse growth. That's my theory right now, and it's the reason we're pulling up the plants now instead of encouraging them to continue growing until frost.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Little Lemon Verbena Bushes 2018

This photo shows, better than most photos on the web, how Lemon Verbena grows as a bush when pruned closely. In it's natural environment, which is South America and the Middle East, when left to grow naturally, it becomes a large bush, or a small tree. That is impossible for most of us living in the temperate zones.

We are located in USDA Zone 7b, which is on the edge for Lemon Verbena's annual/perennial status. With protection, and depending on the winter temperatures, a Lemon Verbena plant may overwinter here. But it's iffy, completely unreliable. Temperatures lower than 10 degrees F will generally kill it, but sometimes, surprisingly, it survives.

We don't try to overwinter our Lemon Verbena plants in the field. It's not practical in USDA Zone 7b. We start over in the spring with new plants, for best new growth and reliable harvest of fresh leaves.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Roses Blooming Near Lemon Verbena Plants

Cinco de Mayo Rose blooming near our Lemon Verbena today. Several pounds of lemony herb leaves are harvested, dried and ready to package for sale.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lemon Verbena Harvest - Yesterday and Today

Pictured is yesterday's harvest on the left, and today's fresh harvest on the right. Both trays are Texas Grown Lemon Verbena. Dried leaves are removed from their stems before bagging for sale.

This is the second cutting from our plants in the field. We'll get at least one more cutting this growing season, possibly two.

Lemon Verbena dries quickly, which is a blessing for staging the use of our drying porch equipped with an exhaust fan, to create a hot breeze over the fresh-picked branches. They will also dry in 24 hours in normal air-conditioned room temperatures, spread out on a clean sheet or even a towel. Lemon Verbena is truly a gardener's dream herb!

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 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.