Livi Lou is a garden writer and private breeder. She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product, trialing plants and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. She writes about unique perennials and fruit plants, so that you can grow an ornamental fruit garden. www.livilougarden.com facebook.com/livilougarden
 

 

Corsican Mint: ground-cover mint
by Livi Lou - posted 05/20/16

Corsican Mint (mentha requienii) is a low-lying and slow growing, ground-cover mint that is used in the popular dessert crème de menthe.  It is originally from the Mediterranean--and just as I experimented with rosemary in my previous post--I wanted to see if Corsican Mint could survive in our climate.  It is hardy to Zone 6 and our climate is Zone 6a/5b.

 

In Summer 2015, I planted Corsican Mint along the walkway to the house’s outdoor water spigot.  This spot would help create a warmer micro-climate and treading on the mint while watering the garden would release its wonderful aroma.

Unlike other mints, Corsican Mint is slow growing and will not become invasive. The below photo timeline shows how it grew from Summer 2015 through to Spring 2016.

 

Summer 2015

 

Summer 2015 & January 2016

 

We had a warm winter and, as you can see above, it was still green in January.

As the winter weather picked up in February, it started to turn brown. However, it merely lost its greenery.  This brown part is actually the roots or stolons that creep along the surface and will sprout new growth.

March 2015

 

The below photos show the new growth and it is currently especially healthy.

 

May 5, 2016

 

May 18, 2016

I look forward to watching it grow over the years and, hopefully, its survival is not simply due to the warm winter. This is one of the most perfect ground-covers and I hope it continues to survive reliably in our climate. I can already envision creating a Corsican Mint hill and rolling down its fragrant slopes!

 

 

    ~Thanks for reading!

 

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The Hardiest Rosemary Varieties
by Livi Lou - posted 05/13/16

Rosemary is an evergreen perennial herb originally from the Mediterranean.  Imagine walking along a path near the ocean where the salty air carries the scent of enormous bushes of rosemary.  They thrive in warm climates, but some varieties of rosemary can survive in zones as cool as Zone 6 or Zone 7.

In Summer 2015, I planted the two hardiest varieties in my herb garden: Rosemary Arp and Rosemary Hill Hardy.  Our garden is Zone 5b/6a, where rosemary would usually be treated as a potted annual herb. This in-ground planting would definitely be an experiment.

To encourage survival, I planted it in the area of the garden where other some-what-tender plants have survived.  This spot is surrounded by a heat retaining brick path and wind-protecting boxwoods, and receives south-western sun.

In addition, I planted the rosemary varieties among decorative ground-cover thyme to insulate their roots and woody stems.

The below photos show Rosemary Arp (top) and Rosemary Hill Hardy (bottom) upon planting in late Summer 2015 (left) and a few days ago (right).

  

  

 

With the help of our fairly mild winter, these rosemary varieties have survived.   Rosemary Arp is reviving the best, but Rosemary Hill Hardy is still alive.

Rosemary is a great addition to the herb garden.  Sprinkle some into an omelet, add it to soup or include it in a chicken marinade.  You can even create your own rosemary herb butter or dipping oil. Rosermary is beneficial for your immune, circulatory and digestive systems, and it reduces inflammation.

Even if it must be grown as annual, rosemary is worth it.  Of course, I might be biased because it reminds me of a pleasant stroll near the beach. If you get the chance, make sure to pick either the variety Arp or Hill Hardy, because it might just last in your garden year after year.

 

  ~ Thanks for reading!

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Spring into Bloom at Livi Lou Garden
by Livi Lou - posted 05/13/16

Each Friday in May will be about growing herbs.  I apologize for the delay in the posting schedule.  To make up for it, please enjoy these Spring photos from Livi Lou Garden and check out the first Herb Month post about Rosemary!

Moss Phlox (phlox subulata) in full bloom and flowing over a rock wall. One of my favorite and most reliable perennials.

 

Flowers blooming from the trunk of a decorative weeping cherry tree.

 

A regal toad perched on an Earth Box and basking in the sunlight.  He lived there for about a week and then left once it started to rain.

 

Annual Petunia: Each year I find a new Petunia variety that I love!

 

First strawberry of the season: Heirloom Pineberry.

 

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