African Blue Basil

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If I had to pick one plant that is my favorite this year it would be this one.  The picture above is after I cut about 1/3 of it off (it was covering nearby plants).  This plant is amazing!!

African blue basil is one of a few types of basil that are perennial. It is a sterile hybrid of two breeds of basil, unable to produce seeds of its own, and is propagated by cuttings.

Scientific name: Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum ‘Dark Opal’

Rank: Hybrid

The bees love it.  And not just honey bees.  There are so many bees (bumble bees, honey bees, carpenter bees, etc) that I cannot even count them when I walk by.  This plant is just gorgeous, huge and even smells good.

This basil will not come back from seed, so I plan to clip several pieces before winter and root it inside for my spring garden next year.  This plant roots like crazy!!  It takes abut 5 days in a cup of water and it will throw some serious roots out!!

IMG_4202In fact, there are so many bees on this plant it buzzes.  This particular section is right by my herb garden which is on the way into my house.  I walk by it every day, sometimes several times a day and it always makes me smile!!

No matter what this small bushy herb is always in bloom with tons of flowers, so once the bees start coming they will be back every day to get pollen and nectar from the new blooms of the day!

I guarantee that this plant will always have a place in my yard, in fact, next year I will have some in my herb garden but even more in the butterfly garden in the front – because I know it is so loved by the pollinators as well as me!!  Hope you find some to add to your garden, or if you are near me come by & snip a piece to root for yourself!!

 

More color

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Sweet Potato vine is a favorite – it has filled in this area with its amazing lime green color.  IMG_3834

Purple Coneflowers or EchinacaeIMG_3835

Country Girl Chrysanthemums – about to bloom!!IMG_3836

Nearly all my zinnias were volunteer from seeds from last year – so pretty!IMG_3837

Morning glory vine holding onto my trellisIMG_3838

Balloon flower from my friend David – never did anything last year, but came up this year and has lovely flowers!!

Flowers in Bloom

Just a few of the flowers blooming in my butterfly/bee garden in the front yard.  I am loving the color and all the pollinators that come visit daily!!

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Hyssop

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Can’t remember the name, but smells like vanilla

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Sweet colorful lily

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Milkweed

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Very happy comfreyIMG_3702

Cannas in the back – Obedient ready to bloom, in the front.

Garden Fun!

The weather here has been beautiful, I feel bad for those in the northeast, as we bask in 70’s they are up to their hips in snow!

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This year I decided to get serious about my garden starting in January.  So I started preparing a spot to raise seeds with lights.  I made my list of what I wanted to plant so I could start what I needed.

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And I have had a lot of good fortune so far!  My kale has come up, my herbs are working on getting bigger, my cabbage is already in the garden!!

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I did cheat and get some starters from the store (green cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce) but I put the rest of the starters that I started from seed!  I am so thrilled!

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So we rigged up garage lights on each shelf.

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Got some seed starter mix.  Then we put in the seeds and watered.  The most important part after getting lights is to keep the area moist.  Also, we did this in my laundry room where is it noticeably cooler than my house, so the transition to the outside   be as hard

So excited to have a jump on spring.  Now I want to mention that all the things I have moved outside are cold weather hardy and not going to die if we – okay really, when we get our cold snap.  We always get a cold snap in March and last year I lots tons of stuff after we had a mild early spring and I put lots of stuff out.  This year I will wait until after Easter – NO MATTER WHAT.

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Next week we will get our potatoes in the ground – valentines day is the normal target for that.  Onions went in last week, and 25 strawberry plants too – and they are all doing great!!  The strawberry plants have started growing, and we are thrilled!!  Next project is to get the strawberry patched rabbit proof -as well as the garden!!  Sneaky rabbits love my starters!!

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That is about it for our news!!  Loving the warm temps for working in the garden!!  Can’t wait to be eating all this great stuff!!

Garden Update

This is the first year I have honestly felt like this garden thing might pay off.  We have been trying our hand at a garden since living in Tennessee, and it never fails that something seems to go wrong.  In TN we deployed all the time in the Army, so watering was a challenge.  In Mansfield things just never worked out until we moved, quite honestly – then things came in great!

Since arriving here we have been dabbling in the garden with minor successes : Tomatoes in 2011 were good, cucumbers too – in 2012 not much was harvested in general, except Purple Hull Peas and I had not clue what to do with them.

New Year – New story!!  Yeah!  finally our learning and hard work seems to be paying off a bit!!

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Now I know this is just our early spring garden, but so far things are looking good in the Tomato and Pepper section too!!

So far we have cabbage forming heads and getting BIG!

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Some Swiss Chard – Rainbow variety – and it looks great.  Tastes great too, we have sauted some with our Kale and Spinach.

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Here is our lettuce – we try to make a salad daily pulling just the outside leaves of our lettuce and letting it continue to grow! 

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Onions are coming in so well!!  We planted tons of onions this year (hope they will store well)

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And they are starting to pop up, which means they are almost ready!  But Robert won’t let me pull any yet….

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And lastly, Spinach – it is doing well, despite that pesky rabbit eating several plants.spinach

So, all the time and effort that went in to the past gardens we have planted are starting to pay off!!  Finally!

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