Book Review – “A Gardener’s Guide to Frost” by Philip Harnden

Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

Another fall/winter activity for Plant Growers in the off season…. reading.

“A Gardener’s Guide to Frost” by Philip Harnden ( ISBN 1-57223-576-4 ) is flowing, wonderful to read book with lots of great frosty garden pictures. Covering a complete set of topics exploring a vegetable gardener’s relationship to frost including interesting chapters on Forecasting Frost, Fending Off Frost, and a listing of Frost Tolerant Garden Vegetables.

For those of us on Vancouver Island, “A Gardener’s Guide to Frost” is in the VIRL book collection.


Vervain – Grow Your Own Vampire Repellent

Vervain - Grow Your Own Vampire Repellent

The myth and magic of Vervain ( Verbena officinalis ) has been embedded in human culture for 1000’s of years. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, all had beliefs about the powers of this plant. In the Middle Ages it was used as a key ingredient in a mixture for protection against demons. Of course in modern times, with our massive body of scientific knowledge it is used more often as a Vampire Repellent…. live and learn !

Plant of the Week – Meadow Clary and On-Line Tools for Selecting Herbs

Meadow Clary

I bumped into this Meadow Clary plant ( Salvia pratensis ) blooming  in the farm’s demonstration garden.. Then I found out that the Royal Horticultural Society have given Meadow Clary their Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Since England has a similar climate to Vancouver Island I explored the RHS web site further and found a really interesting interactive herb plant selector guide. It would be perfect for planning a herb garden since you may search for plants using a huge number of different requirements such as available sunlight, height of plant, when it blooms and many other factors. Check it out ! RHS Herb Selector Guide

Plant of the Week – Lemon Thyme

lemon t

Lemon Thyme – source Wikimedia Commons 

Lemon thyme (Thymus x citrodorus) grows well in a sunny garden location or as part of container herb garden. Small flowers arrive in the summer and attract lots of bees.

Lemon thyme is an excellent culinary variety and combines well with chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes. In addition to having a wonderful flavor, the leaves of lemon thyme are excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. Lemon thyme also contains Vitamins C, A and B-6.

Lemon thyme dries well and the left over woody stems can be laid over charcoal when barbecuing to flavor the smoke.









Sunrise, Sunset and Shakespeare


The Sponsa Solis flower opens at the rising of the sun and closes at its setting. We like to call it a Marsh Marigold and botanists call it Caltha palustris. This wonderful pond plant has a long bloom time of April to June, has been used as a medicinal plant in the past, and has even made it into the theater !

‘Winking Marybuds begin to ope their golden eyes.’ ( Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline ii.3)