June means strawberries & blueberries, roses, cool white and light linens, fresh lemonade, picnics and grilling!  It’s all about watching the hummingbird antics from the back porch, and as the sun begins to lower in the horizon, sipping from a glass of crisp summer wine. Rose’, Sauvigon Blanc and Prosecco are lovely, bubbly and refreshing choices…the day fades and all is right in my world…for now. There is always the critter in the compost pile or the black snake slithering across the path on its way to the woods…I take joy in such simple things in life.                                              IMG_0445

Many of us grow herbs, even if it’s only a pot or two from a local market and kept on the kitchen windowsill. Herbs are great for cooking, aromatherapy, garden presence and just wonderful fragrance as you pass by…

herb boxThe more herbally ambitious among us will often have a cluster of herbs near the kitchen door in boxes or pots. Herbs grown in pots often have a high death rate, especially sun-loving varieties from the Mediterranean. Rosemary, thyme, sage and lavender…in the wild…flourish where little else survives, rooting in rocky dry soil with little sign of water to sustain them. So, what’s the problem?? It’s the SOIL in the pots!

Many novice gardeners choose soil less, peat-based potting soil! It’s light, sterile, cheap and easy to FIND, pick-up and use. Peat is a DRY material with absolutely no nutritional value.  However, it most often contains moisture retentive material…those white pieces…which sun-loving herbs HATE. It’s the permanent wet roots that turn herbs brown or gray. AND, for those who just happen to let the “soil” dry out…well, then the material repels rather than absorbs water…unless you soak in pans for hours!

Soil less peat potting mix also causes roots to form differently. Instead of creating a strong root system that spreads gradually from the base of the plant, the roots shoot straight out the sides of the pot and then grow round in circles. This creates a root structure that becomes a solid mass of weak roots that struggle to stay alive when planted. You cannot get the material in the center of the root system “wet” when filled with a tangle of roots. For many years I have instructed gardeners to tease/tear the roots loose from the root ball so they come in direct contact with the soil. [Especially when planting directly in the ground.]

I MAKE MY OWN SOIL if I cannot find a good custom mix w/o PEAT!!  AND, in container gardens I always add gravel to my planting mix. Here is what works for me: Potting Soil…mix  1/2 organic compost and 1/2 organic garden soil or top soil with NO PEAT MOSS, add some rock phosphate or bone meal to encourage blooming. If you can find lava sand, add a few cups and a few cups of organic manure.

Grill or saute’ scallops on rosemary sticks, a simple way to add flavor…

Tomatoes Provencales…Oven-baked tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese and topped with fresh herbs: rosemary & thyme, basil, garlic, olive oil and breadcrumbs…

The beauty of the ROSE…the intoxicating scent of the Damask rose and its pure essential oil is one of the most important ingredients in today’s cosmetics and perfumes. Revered throughout history and rich in symbolism, the rose represents love, sensuality, passion, purity and more. One of the more pleasurable ways of enjoying roses is to scent your bath water with rose petals from your garden. Creams and lotions that contain the pure essential oils of rose will help to relieve stress so I always add a few drops of rose oil to my bath water or foot soak.The calming properties of rose oil can be used to help problems such as insomnia, impatience, irritability, headaches and depression. I do use rose oil everyday on the wrinkles that have lined my face…

roses in basket

SOLE SURVIVOR…How do your feet look now that sandal season is here? According to research, heels are one of the most neglected parts of our bodies and are especially difficult to keep soft unless you treat them consistently with foot soaks and creams. When our feet are healthy and happy–we enjoy better posture and improved vitality.

Soothe, soften and refresh… Remove dry skin, especially around the heels with pumice stones or foot files. Soften and condition by soaking feet for at least 10-15 minutes in herb and rose oil-infused water or relaxing foot bath crystals. After the soak, pamper with a good foot cream. For special occasions…have a complete pedicure at a natural nail spa.

LIVING…Next week, the end of June…it was 4 years ago on the 27th that he died of a pulmonary embolism after a simple surgery.

I wake up everyday and for a moment everything seems normal. The sun comes up sending light fingers through the linen curtains and I think about what I want to do that day…then I look next to me…it’s only the impression of my head on my pillow. It hits me again! He’s not here, he’s gone and never again will be here…and I miss him even more. Standing in front of the mirror every morning, I read the note taped to the frame that he wrote many years ago…telling me how much he respects, needs and loves me and looks ahead to many years of joy together.

In these first moments of a new day, when I remember, I feel like I’m under water. I can’t breathe and the world spins…and then I let out a fast hard breath, stuff it away so I can move and function again. Moving past the sadness, resolving to be strong and persevere…one of his favorite words…to once more maintain my sense of strength and my positive outlook, I head down the hall to the kitchen to make my French roast coffee and start another day…

From my companion and friend, Holly…woof a good day! Love and hugs…

One thought on “Summer Splendor…it’s not all grass.

  1. In my Hotel room at the airport in Paris , under a rainy day . I am so thankful to be able to read your post again and again 🙂 I love every words and specially your souvenirs and love for your Carl . It is touching and beautiful . I miss you and ❤️you

    Sent from my iPhone



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