04 June 2011

an herbal teacher's garden

 My weekends have been full of herbal buying, planting and most of all learning. We have a very special farm near us that I must admit was one reason we chose to stay here instead of moving off east. Desert Canyon Farm is owned by Chris and Tammi Hartung and this year they held free workshops on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of May, while they had their farm stand open to the public. This was a rare treat because this is the only time of year that (retail) gardeners can come and purchase the most amazing plants. To give you a hint of what we learned, here are the workshops Tammi taught:

Cool Season Heritage Heirloom & Ethnic Vegetables 
Create a Browsing Herb Hedgerow for Alpacas, Horses & Goats
Grow Veggies& Berries in Pots
Grow Herbs...Here’s How
Cooking with Fresh Herbs
Heirloom Tomatoes...Get to Know them & Grow Them
Herb Butters & Cream Cheese
How to Make Herbal Infused Oils, Ointments & Salves
Tammi’s Garden Walk-About

 The photos below are from her garden walk-about that ended our time at her beautiful home.

 We often don't make room for the whimsical aspect of growing plants, but Tammi's garden has so many enchanting focal points that enhance the atmosphere in her garden. 

This cozy spot surrounded us where we gathered for the workshops. Nasturtiums, violets, gray santolina, and catmint combine to make a stunning walkway, don't you think?

Herbs are not the only plants to take up residence in Tammi's garden, she also had stunning concrete planters with heat loving plants. 
Several times she mentioned ways she tries to draw her eye up when her garden is mostly flat. One technique that caught my eye was this stunning, yet simple trellis with a dried wreath hanging on it. The space created a little window into her white rabbit garden. 

Here is another view of one of her catmints that the bees loved very much. One hint she said about catmint is that you can trim it after it blooms and it will come back with more blooms!

 This garden gnome is an example of the farm's loving nature toward the wildlife that visit the farm. In her new book, Homegrown Herbs : a complete guide to growing, using and enjoying more than 100 herbs,  Tammi shares ways to welcome birds and share your garden with wildlife. You can purchase the book directly from Tammi and the instructions are at the bottom of their "about us" page. I highly recommend it if you are new to herbs or want to know how to use them.

I may not have found berry-picking farms to stock my freezer or my pantry with fresh fruit but I have found a teacher who guided me this past month as I start on the journey of being an herb gardener and hopefully using those herbs to take care of myself and my family. Thank you Tammi for sharing your wisdom.
Please take the time to visit Tammi's blog: Desert Canyon Farm Green Thoughts and take a look at both of her resourceful books.