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When I was growing up, parsley was the curly stuff that nice restaurants used as a garnish.  Everyone left it on the plate.  parsleycut

Then in the 80s, I started seeing Italian parsley listed in recipesThank goodness.  Italian  or flat leaf parsley is packed with sweet, fresh flavor.  These days, it is THE  garden crop I am never without.  parsley-tight

A true biennial, Italian parsley winters over in my Wake County garden.  I clip, wash, and chop green leaves  even on the coldest days–then put them in many of my favorite recipes–like this quick and easy go-to pasta from the food magazine, Cooking Light.



My Italian parsley crop is lovely now–but as the weather warms it will bloom, turn leggy and die.parsley_wide Don’t even try to save it.  That’s the life cycle of a biennial plant.   

So new parsley plants are the works under grow lights on our dinning room table.  This parsley is  easy from seed or transplant, and very rewarding.  In fact, if you have almost no garden space at all, I would tell you, find space for a few herbs (like my favorite–Italian Parsley). 

What herbs do you love and grow?


When I started growing  Lenten Roses (Helleborus) almost 30 years ago, white and green flowers were the only colors available.   daffocils_helborusThank plant breeders for these darker strains–seen here with my favorite daffodil, February Gold.daffoils_foliage

My second favorite daffodil, Ice Follies, is blooming early this year.   Most of the time it comes into flower by my niece Becky’s birthday, March 6th.  The flowers have a wonderful fragrance, so I always cut a bunch for the house.daffodil_vaseHere’s another February milestone–

The year’s first cut flowers always end up in the rabbit vase.   A gift from our nephew Bob many, many years ago–the boy is now 6 foot 4, living in Costa Rico and well past his bunny loving stage–it is still a welcome tradition at our house. 

There’s nothing like the first flowers of the new season.  How do you celebrate them?

No desert--not yet at least. My woods garden is still pretty lush thanks to a little help from the gardener

I just spent an afternoon on the couch, nursing a summer cold and watching all 4 hours of Lawrence of Arabia.  Here’s what I learned:

  1. Yes, it is really, really dry in North Carolina right now—but this is nothing.  My little oasis of woods is still green and alive.  And not being a big fan of the desert, I plan to keep it that way. 
  2. Life takes water.  Don’t know why Mother Nature makes us gardeners work so hard sometimes—but I spend a lot of time watering.   I try to do it efficiently, and I prioritize.  The biggest investments come first—shrubs, perennials, then annuals.  And as much as I hate seeing dead plants, this time of year, I’m willing to let most of the annuals go.  Pull them out and compost.
  3.  Pace yourself.  It’s good advice in the desert and a drought.  Don’t get overwhelmed by all the wilted plants.    Water what you want to keep in one section of the garden.  Save the rest for tomorrow.  You’re really not going to finish until it rains, so slow, steady progress is best.
  4.  Water is precious.  I could drag the sprinkler out,  but when it’s this dry, I like to send every drop to thirsty roots.  I use my milk jugs and a slow hose at the base of plants.  Be sure to water deeply—you’ll have to water less often.  I let the hose run for a few minutes while I do something else: 
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Write emails, letter, or a blog post (like I’m doing now)
  • Make garden notes for next year.  At the top of my list, repair the drip irrigation system our puppy pulled up and chewed.
  • Clean up the beds.  This is a great time to weed pests like monkey grass and small saplings.  Their roots come right out of the dry ground.  Also, cut back spent and broken plants, pull up dead things, pick up sticks.

    Dry weather is great for weeding. Normally tough roots are easy to get out.

  • Rearrange the garden furniture and wipe it down.  You’ll be sitting outside again soon.

    Clean up the outdoor entertaining spots for fall--

  • Play with your critters.  It’s hard to resist our blue-eyed girl.

    It's never too dry for Tralee. She hates rainy days because she has to stay inside--

  • Relax.  The garden is a wonderful place to start and end your day—even in drought.  Enjoy your watering.  It’s just another part of tending a garden. 
A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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