Garden Diary - July 2011

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Saturday, 30 July 2011
A Visit to Tinicum Herb Barn

The invitation popped up in my e-mailbox, for an open house and garden visit at the Tinicum Herb Barn on Saturday, July 30th from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. It suggested that people should come and visit the Gardens at the peak of the season when you can see the herbs growing at their lushest, find out about future classes, or just enjoy walking and talking amongst the fragrant beds. Refreshments, of course! Betsy Jacobs is owner of the Tinicum Herb Barn, 456 Headquarters Road in Erwinna, Pennsylvania. She teaches workshops on the cultivation and use of herbs in cooking and decoration, delicious options such as herbal vinegars; savory butters using Provençal herbs, rose geranium, and other flavorings; tarragon mustard; rosemary shortbread cookies. A member of both the New York and Delaware Valley units of the Herb Society of America, Betsy is a former Director of Education at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

I got the word out to various individuals, the Tohickon Garden Club, and - of course - made plans to attend myself. I've made several visits to the Tinicum Herb Barn, and enjoyed every one.

The day dawned sunny and warm, with a slight breeze. Well, it is the end of July. Herbs love heat and summer, even if we people wilt. The drive was a little more intricate than usual, since Headquarters Road is another one of the roads currently closed for repairs. It was, however, simple to make a left, a right, another left, and end up where I wanted to be. Several cars were already parked on the grass, with people strolling and talking and asking Betsy about this and that.

Sally and Betsy ( as always, wearing a straw hat) stand next to the bed specific for basils. This year
there are 15 different kinds. Betsy tells us she grows herbs in the open since deer don't bother them.
The fenced garden beyond them is for vegetables and flowers that need protection from the critters.

The different beds are for specific herbs such as these basils, chile peppers, Provençal herbs, and so on.

The bed of thymes is mulched with granite chick grit. The light color of the crushed stone reflects sunlight
which these Mediterranean herbs enjoy. It also protects the herbs in wet weather, keeping the stems dry.
Just a couple of the herb-growing hints that Betsy passes along as we stroll in the fragrant garden with
accompanied by the cicadas serenade. Crushed oyster shells, with their alkaline pH might be better but
are more difficult to find. And more expensive when you do locate them. The granite works well enough.

. . . . .

Dill, in transition from leafy dill weed to making seeds . . . A glowing yellow sunflower in the kitchen garden

Lavender spilling over a stone wall. Betsy provided a choice of beverages today, including a lavender
infused lemonade. Take 1/2 cup sugar and dissolve in 1/2 cup water. Steep a handful of lavender leaves.
Squeeze two lemons, add lavender syrup to taste, and dilute with water as desired. Pour over ice. Enjoy.

Cool looking silver lambs ears thrives in summer's heat and sunshine.

Herbs are everywhere, not just confined to the garden. Pots cluster on the doorstep by the kitchen.

A view through the kitchen door towards the red barn. Culinary classes
are held in the large, welcoming, kitchen, craft classes in the big red barn.

Upcoming classes include Saving the Herbal Harvest: Vinegars, Pickles, & Mustards on Sunday August 14th; Herbs de Provence on Saturday, September 10; Fresh Herbal Wreaths on Sunday, September 18. You can telephone Betsy at 610-847-8452, or e-mail her to register for classes.

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