News From the Homestead: Fall Garden Pictures

A couple of days ago, the weather was nice, the light in the garden wasn’t too bad, and I was in the mood for taking some photos. So I grabbed my little purple digital camera  and went on a discovery tour of my garden.This summer was dreadful from a horticultural point of view and I was delighted to see that there still were a few things that not only survived but didn’t look too bad. So here are the results with my comments.

Texas Tarragon in Bloom



Texas Tarragon in Bloom

I have Texas tarragon (aka Mexican Mint Marigold) growing in several beds in the front of our home. It has a tendency to show up each year in a slightly different place but I don’t mind. This is a surefire performer in the fall garden around here. The golden flowers are about a half an inch across in clusters floating above the tarragon flavored leaves. It’s a good thing for cooks that we have this native herb as French tarragon grows poorly in our hot and humid climate.



Seedheads of Papaloquelite

Seedheads of Papaloquelite



Seedheads of Papaloquelite

Papaloquelite is a culinary herb used in Mexican cooking. the flavor is somewhat like a stronger version of cilantro…definitely not an herb for the cautious eater. This is one herb I don’t bring in the house for fear of a domestic revolt over the aroma.

Seeds for this native can be very hard to find. I got my original seeds from Jim Long of Long Creek Herbs. As you can see from the picture, these seedheads resemble dandelion heads. The seeds spread about as easily as dandelions too.


Blanketflower Blossom

Blanketflower Blossom


Blanketflower Emerge From Weeds

No, this is not an herb but I do have it growing in my front garden. This is one of the pleasant surprises I discovered when I began peeling back the weeds that had taken advantage of my failure to keep up during the searing heat this summer. This blanketflower seedling was planted in late May and presumed dead by July. But sometimes Nature can be surprising. I was thrilled to see this small but thriving plant appear once the weeds were pulled back.
Roselle Buds

Roselle Buds




Roselle in Bloom

This was the one plant I wanted to survive the summer. Back in March, I attended an Herb Forum at Round top, TX and purchased, among a dozen other things, this roselle plant. It was the last one they had and it had only one leaf still firmly attached. I brought it home and nursed it tenderly through the dreadful summer. My reward was this trio of roselle buds. Note how close they grow to the central stalk.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? This is the member of the hibiscus family that provides us flowers for the sweet-tart, ruby red hibiscus tea many of us love. Ornamental hibiscus bushes are wonderful to view but not to eat. Roselle is commonly grown in the tropics but can be hard to find in the US. When I harvest these three buds I think I will have just enough to make some tea. Next year I’m hoping for a bigger crop.

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