Posted by: Rachel | February 24, 2013

pinch, rub, sniff, repeat…

It has been a rather fragrant weekend here, and I mean that in the best possible way. If you live near here, or if you’ve been reading this blog for long, then you know that February is planting season for many thing here in Central Texas, and this weekend has been a great one for herbs at my place.

Yesterday I went to the Herb Festival at Zilker Gardens. It was a chance to catch up with some friends, and to purchase some sweet 4-inch pots of good smelling babies. I bought these

Mexican oregano and misc. sages


from my friends at Gabriel Farms. I was lucky to visit their farm a few years ago, but this time they came here to town.

table displaying small pots of herbs

I want them all…

What beautiful and interesting displays everyone had set up!
table of baked goods

I say again, mmmmmm!

It was a very educational (and fragrant) morning! Oh mmmm…

And, in addition to the displays on how to cultivate, how to container garden, and tables featuring some of the sorts of things one can do with herbs (oh yes, my friend Ellen from EZHerbs was there as well, of course), the Herb Society offered all sorts of tasty things the their members had made ranging from herb teas to salads to baked goods. Mmmm…

I brought home three pots of Mexican oregano, not a true oregano but the leaves smell similar and the inch-long lavender tubular flowers have nectar the hummers love. I also bought several kinds of sage including one I’d never seen before, Cleveland sage. The leaves smell wonderful and is apparently used for potpourri rather than for cooking. Mmmmm!

If you want to invite a different sort of visitor into your garden, try putting together one of these fairy gardens. I don’t think of myself as much of a “rainbow and unicorn” girl usually, but dang – these are cute!

"fairy" garden, thyme in a pot

if you built it, will they come?

These miniature gardens are usually roughly the size of a bird bath or even smaller, and contain not just plant matter but “furnishings”, chairs or even tiny houses, to entice winged visitors.

I can’t really comment on that, but I did once grow tomatoes and basil in a pot with a small plastic cow: Caprese on the hoof so to speak, so what can I tell you. I do appreciate whimsey… so watch for future postings! Oh and, this would be a great sort of garden to do with kids – the scale is approachable, the maintenance is minimal, and, if you load it up with herbs it is yummy!

One more thing before I sign off. Last weekend you didn’t hear from me because I was busy proofreading a section of the final pages of the upcoming Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook! Woohoo! Let me tell you (she said modestly) it is gorgeous. I was sorely tempted to lick the screen (oh yes, they were “electronic” pages but it is a very real almost 200-page book). The book is due out in April, but you can order now (hint hint).

I was honored to have two recipes selected for inclusion, but I’m even more intrigued by some of the other recipes than my own. I am so going to make that cheesy horseradish grits recipe, and you remember the fish soup I made back during the recipe testing phase? The original recipe for that is in there as well. Mmmm…

So, if you have a friend who cooks, buy them one. Or if you cook, buy yourself one. Or buy 5, get a better unit price and give them out to anyone who wanders by! See? I’m shameless (grin)!

I need to stop writing and start planting, so I’m outta here. Have a great spring until I see you next, and as always, stay well and safe! Mmmm… spring!!



  1. That sounds like a nice fragrant day! And the Mexican oregano sounds interesting – I have an ‘ordinary’ one and a Greek one, the latter more concentrated in flavour. Happy spring!

  2. I can’t wait for planting time here. This is one of those winters that’s going on, and on, and on…..

    • Not here. We are already too warm and *very* dry – down about 10 inches of rain on the year! Drought is a scary thing… and nothing one can do really. Ah well…

  3. Thanks for the mention of my soup Rachel πŸ™‚ So yes, everyone go order your copy now!

    And wow, I didn’t realize we got up to 200 pages! Can’t wait πŸ™‚

    • Well, almost 200 pages πŸ™‚ And every one is yummy!! πŸ˜‰

  4. A Herb Festival sounds like the kind of event I would enjoy (after deciding on a limit about what to buy πŸ˜‰ There are so many fragrant plants and varieties of known ones!
    The literary food even I mentioned at the workshop is on. Here’s the link to the post where you can read the details

    • Delighted to hear from you and many thanks for the link. I’m game – you’ll be hearing from me! Oh and I love your journal… sweet!

  5. Sounds like a great way to spend the day. I think I may plant a Mexican oregano close to our deck in Maine as I do get hummingbirds there. Perhaps this would keep them around long enough to get some photos.

    • Will you plant it in a large pot? I’m not sure it would survive your winter… but you could bring it in I think. Or treat it as an annual, I guess. Keep us posted! Our hummers should be back in about 2 weeks – March already!!

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