Archives

Mediterranean Herb Pot Idea



An interesting and creative idea for your garden is to plant herb in containers that have a distinct Mediterranean style instead of ordinary plant pots. Italian tomato paste, sauce, puree, whole and crushed tomato cans make great small to medium sized pots. For larger pots you can use Greek and Italian olive oil cans. They can be found in supermarkets and specialty stores.

Another good idea is to use cans of stuffed grape leaves, a Mediterranean specialty. These cans also come in different sizes. You can find the smaller ones in regular supermarkets, but Greek specialty food stores carry larger sizes.



A collection of these various colorful cans in their different sizes make a really creative and attractive Mediterranean herb garden. And they don’t even require that much space which is great if you don’t have a large backyard. The cans can be arranged on patios, balconies, and even window sills for a charming little Mediterranean flavored garden. Even with limited space, I had a cute little arrangement of Mint, Oregano, Basil, and Rosemary in an assortment of stuffed grape leaf cans and tomato paste cans on my window sill in my apartment in New York. Mediterranean herbs are both fragrant and delicious. They give wonderful flavor to sauces, marinades, salads, fish, poultry, pastas, etc., and can even be used to flavor butter, oil, vinegar, teas, and other beverages. Some of the most popular Mediterranean herbs are Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Bay Leaf, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Marjoram, Parsley, and Mint. I planted Oregano in my crushed tomatoes can in the photo above.

To use them, empty out the contents, remove the tops with a can opener and wash them out. Punch drainage holes on the bottom with nails and a hammer and put in your soil just as you would a regular plant pot. You can apply clear varnish to the outside of the cans to prevent them from rusting and also to protect the pretty and colorful can labels. Be very careful of the sharp edges after you remove the top of the cans, especially when you’re washing them out and also planting your herbs. For protection, you can try putting heavy duty masking tape on the inside edges of the cans to cover those sharp tin edges.


Interesting Herb Myths


Are you an herb lover? You’re not alone, throughout the centuries people not only loved them for their practical uses but also became quite fascinated and even mystified by them. Their aromatic leaves have been used for cooking, decorating, and medicinal purposes. With their healing properties as well as being tasty, fragrant, and attractive, people throughout the ages believed that the plants possessed magical qualities and attributed some interesting myths and legends to them. These are some amusing myths and legends about some of the more popular herbs and spices:

Bay Leaf: According to myth, the beautiful Daphne was changed into a bay as she escaped the clutches of Apollo. Thus, Apollo made a crown out of bay leaves and branches and wore it in her honor; In the 17th century it was believed that bay leaves repelled witchcraft. Pots of bay were placed in front of doorways in order to ward thwart evil spells and curses; It was also believed that bay would prevent one’s house from being struck by lightning.

Chamomile: The Anglo-Saxons believed chamomile was one of the sacred herbs given to the earth by the god Woden; In Victorian times, chamomile symbolized patience in adversity; Chamomile is believed by some to possess the power to attract money, gamblers soak their hands in a chamomile infusion in order to increase their chances of winning.

Cinnamon: The Romans believed cinnamon to be sacred, and the emperor Nero burned bunches of it as a sacrifice at his wife’s funeral; In the Middle Ages, cinnamon represented wealth and power. At large banquets, hosts served cinnamon in order to impress the guests.

Cloves: When the fragrant clove forests were discovered in Indonesia, it was said that they must always be planted around water in order to flourish; For over 4,000 years, people chewed whole cloves in order to freshen their breath and it was said that in ancient China if anyone wanted to speak to the emperor, they were required to have a clove in their mouth.

Dill: Dill represented wealth to the ancient Greeks; During the Middle Ages, dill was believed to possess magical powers and could destroy evil spells. A drink made from dill leaves was the remedy for anyone who believed that a witch had cast a spell on them. People also wore charms made from dill leaves to protect themselves from evil spells.

Fennel: During the Middle Ages, fennel was hung above doorways and on rafters in order to ward off the devil. Fennel seeds were also placed inside keyholes in order to prevent ghosts from entering the house; In 470 b.c. the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. They fought on a field of fennel and this led to the belief that fennel inspired courage and strength. Greek and Roman soldiers chewed fennel seeds before entering battle.

Lavender: Legend says that the pleasant smell of lavender comes from the baby Jesus. After washing his swaddling clothes, Mary hung them to dry on a lavender bush. Thus, the plant was given the smell of heaven; In the Middle Ages it was believed that couples who place lavender flowers between their bedsheets would never fight.

Mint: According to myth, Hades had developed a lust for a nymph named Minthe. Hade’s wife Persephone found out and angrily transformed Minthe into a plant to be trampled on. Hades could not undo the spell, but he was able to ease it by giving Minthe a wonderfully sweet fragrance which would be released whenever her leaves were trampled on.

Oregano (Marjoram): The ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite created oregano; They believed that if it grew around a grave, the deceased would have eternal happiness; In Germany, oregano was hung over doorways to protect against evil spells; In the Middle Ages, oregano symbolized happiness and love.

Rose: According to myth, the first roses did not have thorns. While Venus’ son Cupid was smelling a rose, a bee came out and stung him on the lip. Venus then strung his bow with bees. She removed their stingers and placed them on the stems of the roses; Myth also says that all roses were originally white until Venus tore her foot on a briar and all the roses were dyed red with her blood; In Christian lore the red color of roses comes from the blood of Christ.

Rosemary: From the times of ancient Greece through the Middle Ages, it was believed that rosemary strengthened the brain and memory. When they needed to take exams, students braided rosemary into their hair in order to help their memory; The ancient Greeks burned rosemary in order to repel evil spirits and illness; In some parts of Europe, it was believed that if an unmarried woman placed rosemary under her pillow, her future husband would be revealed to her in her dream.

Sage: The Romans believed that sage was a sacred herb that gave immortality. Up until the 18th century, it was believed that sage increased fertility. It was also believed that sage strengthened the mind.

Thyme: During the Middle Ages it was believed that the scent of thyme inspired bravery. Knights wore scarves with thyme leaves sewn on them during tournaments; In English lore, if a person collected thyme flowers from hillsides where fairies lived, and rubbed the flowers on their eyelids, they would be able to see the fairies.

Theme Garden: Plant an Herbal Tea Garden


Another great idea for a theme garden is to plant an herbal tea garden. There are many herbs that make delicious and relaxing teas and you can plant them together into a wonderful herbal tea garden. And if you’re a tea lover you can have fresh herbs available from your own garden instead of buying them from a store.

Some of the best herbs to make teas are chamomile, lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, and sage. These are just a few of the great variety of herbs that you can grow and even combine to make delicious tea blends to suit your taste. These herbs are also very fragrant so your tea garden will also smell great too.

A lot of these herbs are easy to grow and as I mentioned in a previous post, they don’t require too much space, as a matter of fact you can grow a gorgeous little container herbal tea garden. When I was in my NY apartment I had my window sills filled with these fragrant little herb gardens. I loved experimenting with pots too so I did the Mediterranean garden pot cans that I discussed in a previous post and I also planted some of my herbs in baskets which was really fun to do.

Follow these links for more information and tips about growing an herbal tea garden: