Book Review: Homegrown Herb Garden

Amazon Cover - Herb Garden

Book Cover from Amazon

As you know, some of my arts include gardening and cooking. I really enjoyed this book.

Homegrown Herb Garden: A Guide to Growing and Culinary Uses by Lisa Morgan and Ann McCormick


Take your home cooking to the next level by incorporating fresh homegrown herbs! You don’t need lots of space for a huge herb garden, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on fresh herbs at the grocery store or farmers’ market. With Homegrown Herb Garden, you can choose the herb or herbs you will use the most and build your herb garden around them. Start with an overview of how to grow, harvest, and store herbs. Then, learn how to handle each herb and what flavors they work well with. The culinary section includes how to prepare and use your herbs, plus savory and sweet recipes to feature them in. Choose your favorite herbs, learn to grow them successfully, and never be at a loss for what to do with them!



Book comes in two parts 25% herbs and 75% recipes for those herbs. Total herbs covered 15; total recipes provided 62.

This is exactly what I’ve been looking for in an herb book! Each of the fifteen herbs are given height/width growth, water needs, and harvest instructions. The instructions for growing in containers are real instructions instead of the normal “appropriate size container and water regularly” – root depth is covered for instance. Whether the herb is a candidate for early start in house and transfer out to the garden or if it is best just to directly plant it in the garden (tranplantability). Etc.

Ms. McCormick lets the reader know when best to harvest and why (in case you ever wondered why you need to harvest early in the morning). Everything you need to set up an herb garden is here. It is amazing. Why more gardening books don’t do I don’t know. This changed how I was going to set up my garden – now I am going to split it into the “wet” and “dry” sections. Five stars all the way.

I don’t have herbs yet (still setting up the garden), so haven’t tried out the recipe section. The recipes are complicated, created by Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Morgan – beautiful, but complicated. I may eventually attempt one or two (the rosemary chocolate chip cookie recipe is very tempting). At the beginning of each herb recipe section (at least three recipes for each of the fifteen herbs), includes best pairings with the herbs – what types of cheeses, meats, fruits & vegetables. I don’t see myself using that information very much, but new cooks working toward mastery of the kitchen may find it useful. More helpful is how to chop/use each herb in a dish – but I got most of that from the herb section. I found Chef Morgan’s sectioning herbs into woody and grassing completely unhelpful for my purposes – but I totally can see another cook getting an “a-ha” moment and running with it.

So for the recipe section, I would give two stars (Goodreads – it was okay) or three stars (Amazon – it was okay). But the herb section was so exactly what I have been looking for – and I have gone through a lot of online searches and gardening book reading, I know how rare this is and would have bought the book JUST for the herb section (in fact I did buy it just for the herb section) – I had to give this manuscript Five Stars.

Art Projects: Gardening 2016


Rose Garden Delivered – Herb Garden Taking a Bit Longer

As mentioned in March, I’ve been working on my yard.



The Red Roses came in nicely, but my white rose bush (the center one) succumbed to black spot. I had to completely cut it back to the base. It is trying its best to make a comeback, but the challenge may be too great for the poor thing.Poor White Rose I am debating just pulling it because of the black spot risk to the red roses.


I mentioned my second goal for the yard for the year is getting the rose garden leveled. A drop of three to six inches happens between the edge of the driveway and the sidewalk, creating a low spot within the garden for spring rains to accumulate, likely contributing to the black spot issues.

.Rose Garden before leveling

So I attacked it, adding several bags of dirt and using the area as a dumping ground while I was digging up a metal rod from the garden. I think everything is level now, but in the past two months I have seen the ground settling. I expect I will need to continue to build up the area over the next couple of years, but the worst of it should be done.

.Rose Garden Leveled



IMG_0530Digging the bed up took a long, long time. The previous owner had laid down a landscaping tarp, let it grow over with grass again, and laid down another landscaping tarp and let it grow over with grass a third time. A shovel wouldn’t break the surface. I ended up having to completely herbicide the whole thing, then rip the weeds out, then remove one layer of tarp, then rip the root out then remove the other tarp.


Metal pipe dug outIn one area I ran into a pipe. I continue to dig down for a while in the hard clay dirt, but finally succeeded in getting the monster out. Final pit was close to eight inches deep and I have no clue while the pipe was to. You can see it laid out lengthwise in the pit I had to dig for it.


IMG_0528I am finally down to dirt and my present task is digging up the well-compacted clay. I was working on that this weekend with my new tiller-cultivator – my first time using the machine! And my left shoulder “gave”. A week later, I am nearly recovered, but this task is going to take the rest of the year. I don’t think I will get anything into the ground before winter.


Tomatoes coming inExcept for the tomato-mint containers which I planted in June. I had three small tomatoes from the Juliet tomatoes and more are coming. Everything is having problems because of the recent drought. One of my two mint is struggling on the point of death, while the other is going great guns but the tomato it shares a container with is only beginning to think about maybe making one tomato.




Empty containerThe raised bed by the basement door had a very determined holly bush in it. Every time I cut it back, within a month it was blocking the keyhole again. I couldn’t get out the stump because of angles. In the end a friend helped me yank it away from the cement block and cut out most of it. Here’s hoping it stays dead after a winter. I am thinking of replacing it with Spring Iris and Summer/Autumn Mums.




The Turtle for the herb garden made it out of my van and is now guarding the patch of garden which will eventually be it’s home.

The Turtle