Friday, February 26, 2016

Springtime in Salem's Garden

Is it Spring YET!!? Not yet, but it's getting closer! To brighten up the gloom of winter, I've got my thoughts on spring; planting flowers, growing pots of herbs, putting out my birdbaths and yard d├ęcor like fun garden signs, interesting metal sculptures and whatever else will add interest and gaiety to my garden.

I wanted to share a pic of part of my garden/seating area that's right next to my barn. I think barn's are a great place to gather and hang out. As close to my horses if you please! It doesn't hurt to have a gorgeous lavender growing there either.

Seating area next to my barn (getting painted).

I scored that square tin bucket at a roadside junk stand. Yay!

One of my favorite plants to grow, well I have many, but my all-time favorite is lavender. The smell, the color, everything! I try to find and purchase many different varieties. I’ve found that here in middle Tennessee, there just aren’t that many to be found like there are in the northwest, which is a shame. I'll be shopping a lot of the smaller garden centers this year in search of more varieties.

And have you ever tried a Lavender cupcake? You must! Oh-so-delish! Mixed with vanilla, the taste is light, airy and fresh. Seriously, give it a try!

Herbs are also a favorite of mine and they’re very easy to grow. My usual plantings are basil – several varieties, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano. I grow them in small separate clay pots, large old tin water troughs, old boots, broken drawers, whatever I’ve got laying around. Have fun in your garden!

I wanted to share a lovely soap recipe I found with 2 of my favorites; lavender and rosemary. Touted as "antiseptic and anti-inflammatory", it just sounds like a heavenly scent to have in the bath. Now, I'm no Granny Clampett here going to cook up a batch by the "Cement Pond", with lye, so here's a non-lye version I found.

3 cups glycerin soap base
1/4 cup infusion of lavender flowers and rosemary leaves*
1 1/2 teaspoon, lavender oil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary oil
1 teaspoon pulverized dried rosemary
Combine melted base and herbal ingredients, stir until blended, then pour into molds and cool.
* Infusions are made by pouring steaming water over plant parts, 3 tablespoons of dried or fresh herb per cup of water, steeped 10 minutes. Non-chlorinated water is best.
Hint: Use a double boiler to melt the soap base down into a liquid. Then add the infusion, oils and some pulverized rosemary and lavender leaves. Stir to distribute throughout the liquid. Pour into the soap molds.
For molds, you can use metal tart pans (adorable!) or small cupcake tins. Maybe try some vintage molds too.

This recipe called for 3 cups of glycerin soap base. This is the equivalent of about six average-sized bars of glycerin soap.
When all firmed up, you can wrap the bars with brown Kraft paper and lavender ribbons for a special treat to welcome in the Spring!

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