Saturday, March 31, 2007

...And Out Like a Lamb

So the yellow Lady Fairbanks roses frame the gateway to my...

...herb garden. On the left side, there's four rose bushes (Duet, Paradise, Gypsy, Double Delight), a lilac bush, hollyhocks, nasturtiums, a delphinium, a rose-scented geranium, a cyclamen, and cup flowers. On the right side are dead tomato plants, passionfruit vine, strawberries, chili, parsley, sorrel, purple perilla, green perilla, basil, spearmint, apple mint, Vietnamese coriander, French lavender, rosemary, curry plant, and a papaya tree. But not everything is blooming right now.


Spearmint on the left and apple mint on the right. I've got broken plates to serve as a barrier to keep the mint runners from spreading too much.

Sorrel. I love the crunchy stems and sour leaves, especially wrapped up with other herbs in a rice paper roll.

Rau ram (Vietnamese coriander). It doesn't quite taste like coriander to me though...

Kinh gioi (Vietnamese balm or green perilla) has a slight lemony tang.

From far left: French lavender, rosemary, and curry. The curry plant smells exactly like curry! I thought it was so cool but I have yet to actually cook with it...

Gypsy rose. On its right is a rose-scented geranium, which actually smells like potpourri.

The lavender, rosemary, roses, and rose-scented geranium are right in front of my makeshift bench. The trellis will hopefully one day be covered in twining wisteria. Right now the wisteria are about 6 inches tall. But hopefully one day after entering the rose-covered arch , walking down the meandering Irish moss-covered stone path along the rock river, you can sit on this "rustic" bench luxuriating in the scent of roses and lavender. Hopefully. One day.

This is beside my patio area before the entrance to my herb garden. Remember the bac ha (taro) I was so afraid died when my garden suffered from January's cold frost? Slowly starting to come up again. This is part of my "bog" garden. So called and started because this one corner of the yard seems to retain quite a bit of water. I tried meandering my "rock river" through it but just turned into a shallow puddle. I planted a rose bush and other flowers there but it still seemed "bogged" down. I decided to stop fighting and have instead planted taro, canna, and swamp grasses that prefer moist soil.

The side of the house where the garbage and recycling bins are kept isn't particularly conducive to gardening, but I've managed to plant something here anyway. Can you guess what it is?

And here's the lovely nectarine tree again still blooming.
Hope you liked my little herb garden tour. And now that you can identify some Vietnamese herbs it'll come in handy for tomorrow's recipe. :)


  1. You have just illustrated 101 reasons why I love Southern California--the warm, temperate weather and the great growing conditions for fruits, vegetables, and herbs. My family also has a garden, but up here in the Bay Area, there is no room. :(

    I love gardening and can just stay outside and look at the little sprouts all day! When I see them, I think, "I helped to do that!"

    I am going to call you "Wandering Chopsticks and Green Thumb!"

  2. Oh how I heart Sorrel (rau chua)!! Especially in my favorite dish ever: Thit bo cuon banh trang. I cannot eat it the spring rolls without the sour leaves. Luckily, my parents' backyard is full of it (in addition to xa or lemongrass, spearmint, giap ca (did I spell that right?), and fruit trees galore: Asian pear, pomegranate, nectarine and plum! It's so Viet, I love it.

  3. I'm so envious of your gorgeous herb garden and weather. It's still overcast and rainy in Seattle (the way it's been the last 6 months...). I've been meaning to start an indoor herb garden but the lack of sunlight is discouraging. Maybe I should get one of those AeroGarden thingies. :P

  4. PE,
    It's not me, the plants do it on their own. The ground is hard-packed clay soil and yet I'm still amazed when anything blooms. I've seen people grow dragonfruit in old plastic buckets along an apartment stair banister so you can grow anything in containers!

    That is so VNese! And I've got all over that too. But ugh! I can't eat rau giap ca, smells and tastes too fishy for me.

    I've got basil in little pots in my kitchen windowsill and there's no sunlight there at all. But it is nice to have some fresh herbs right there when I want to snip a few sprigs for a recipe.

  5. You must have a big garden. Flowers, then now herbs. So lucky.
    Are Vnese coriander distinguised by the red stems?

  6. I'm so jealous of your VN herbs! I particularly like rau ram but it will not grow for me. Ditto perilla.

  7. Such a lovely herb garden you got there! *Envious*

  8. Tigerfish,
    Red stems and a strip in the leaf.

    Really? My perilla grew from seed and keeps coming back each year. Rau ram you can buy at the Asian grocery stores, stick the stems in water until roots form and plant those.

    Thanks. :)

  9. I want some of tt curry leaves, can I ? hehe

  10. MW,
    You're welcome to my curry plant but the leaves look like lavender leaves. They don't look like the type of curry leaves you use in your Malaysian recipes.


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