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Herbs: Lemon Verbena and French Tarragon

June 20, 2011

Just as it is pleasant to hear from an old friend after many years, it is nice to be reminded of plants I’ve grown in the past. Fresh French tarragon for peas, potatoes and a favorite summer chicken salad was only steps away from the kitchen in my Massachusetts herb garden.  

California Garden magazine featured lemon verbena and tarragon in an article recently and images highlighted their visual virtues. An April Sunset article, Herbal teas to…grow…and drink described lemon verbena as “intensely flavored and highly fragrant.” I overlooked the next sentence: “Prune to contain this rambling shrub.” The recipe for Sunset Palmer (lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon zest and English breakfast tea) must be tried this summer.

On a recent visit to my favorite nursery, I found a robust specimen of each herb. Over the weekend I transplanted them to larger pots to encourage good growth and more opportunities for snipping.

The two herbs seem good companions. The new growth of the tarragon is the same spring green as the lemon verbena. That color reminds me of the first leaves of the trees after a long, stark winter. Then I recall the spring peepers, a chorus frog that heralds the change of seasons in New England.

Once again, gardens are about remembering.

Photo credit: AVTG istockphoto.com

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