Herbaria (October 12, 2012)

The week I photographed this Herbaria was also the week that I started to seriously pick up the pace in shifting my houseplants indoors and I think it shows. The Japanese maple leaves have their autumn colour and this is the last sighting of outdoor basil until next June.

From Left to Right:

Top Row: 1. Oxalis ‘Burgundy Bliss’ I started growing this oxalis in 2009 as an annual and it has become a yearly purchase. I use it in pots as an underplanting below taller plants. 2. ‘Spicy Blue’ Basil This is a very resinous, almost sickly sweet basil that I grow every year for the pollinators — they go crazy for it. It does really well planted underneath tomatoes as long as it still gets some direct sun and heat. 3. Threadleaf Japanese Maple ‘Red Dragon’ This Japanese maple appeared in the September 21 Herbaria and it’s amazing to see the difference.

Middle Row: 4. Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) flowers and seeds I originally added this one to a box shortly after I planted it in the garden, and am pleased that it has lasted so long. I hope it will self-seed and I will have a nicer stand of it next year. My friend Margaret has a beautiful bed of it in her garden that has been self-seeding in the same spot for years. 5. Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor) flowers Salad burnet is an edible herb that I’ve grown in a few of my gardens over the years. I’ve messed about with it in the kitchen a little but find that I prefer it more as an ornamental than an edible. 6. Amicia zygomeris This Mexican native was a gift from my friend Barry. It is not hardy in my zone. It has blue leaves and strange purple bits and is a generally odd plant. Amazingly, it is a member of the pea family.

Bottom Row: 7. Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) ‘Fireworks’ I bought this annual as an impulse buy from the late summer sale section the same day that I bought the verbena. I loved it but two plants were not enough. Next year I’d like to do a patch of the two plants together in a larger grouping. 8. Nasturtium (unknown) I grew at least six varieties of nasturtium this year, but only seem to have included the unknowns in these photos. That has nothing to do with preference — I regret that I did not get a ‘Cherries Jubilee’ in before the season turned. 9. Lime Basil I prefer some of the lemon varieties such as ‘Mrs. Burns’, but this soft-leaved lime-flavoured variety isn’t bad. It’s good in a summer cocktail with a slice of lime or made into a jelly.


Herbaria F.A.Q

What is this?

An herbarium is a collection of plant specimens. Herbaria is the plural form. A collection of collections.

Every week, until I can no longer find anything living to fill up the boxes, I am photographing and posting a collection of flowers, leaves, stems, and other plant parts that are in my garden. This is an experiment in celebrating diversity and I hope it will allow me to focus more closely on the beauty that is inherent in the different parts of each plant. It also serves as a visual file of the seasons and a record of my garden, my gardening practice, and the plants that I choose to grow.

Why doesn’t this start at the beginning of the calendar year or garden season?

I would have preferred starting this project at either of those times, but alas, that is now how things worked out. The idea for this project came to me rather spontaneously one May morning as I sat pondering how I could best use a stack of nine wooden, pint-sized fruit boxes that I had recently purchased at the flea market. I have a thing for wooden boxes and I love to display little collections of cherished items within them. These nine little boxes begged to be kept together as a display — it didn’t take long before the idea came to mind: little boxes within a box, framed within weeks and months of boxes. Within the hour I had worked out the logistics of the project and was photographing my first box. That was May 16, 2012.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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2 thoughts on “Herbaria (October 12, 2012)

  1. I have enjoyed your web site! Every garden is a victory! God bless have a great winter and enjoy the holidays! :-)!

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