Friday, 12 August 2011

Herbs and Asparagus

Now that the Summer is well advanced, most of my herbs are flowering. When they reach this stage they are more decorative but less useful than when their foliage is lush and leafy.

This is Coriander. The plants have gone very tall and straggly, and there are no useable leaves any more, but the little flowers are very beautiful when looked at closely:

 The Greek Oregano is very pretty at the flowering stage. Later on, when the flowers fade and the seeds begin to form, the flower-heads go all brown and look much less attractive - though if you are going to preserve the herb for culinary use by drying it you should leave it until that later stage before cutting it.

I have masses of Marjoram in the garden too. It is less strongly-flavoured than the Oregano, so we don't use much of it in the kitchen, but I grow it primarily because the insects (particularly the bees) love it so much. The flowers are paler than the Oregano - almost white.

The Asparagus has finished flowering now, and little spherical seeds are forming. They will eventually turn a bright red colour.

The Asparagus fern (its leaves) is really tall now; almost as tall as the frame for the climbing beans, so about 7 feet tall in other words.

The occasional spear (new leaf) is still appearing from time to time, in amongst the mature stems.

I'm not going to be tempted into cutting them though, because I want the plants to build up as much energy as possible for next year's crop. When the weather is dry I give the Asparagus plants a good drink every few days too, for the same reason. If you look after the Asparagus when it's NOT cropping, it will reward you when it IS.


  1. The bees love flowering herbs too don't they. Do you collect the seed or preserve herbs in any way?

  2. I love the flowers of the coriander, though I'm not too keen on the taste. Herbs are definitely a must in any garden.

  3. Can you tell us a bit more about the asparagus Mark? How many plants do you have in there? Do they just keep multiplying? I have some that I have grown from seed, and I am just not sure where I should put them. I don't really know how much space they might need...

    What about sun?

  4. I really like the perspective in the 2nd coriander photo. Really nice shot.

  5. I'm planting asparagus! I don't know how I'll be able to wait 24 months until first harvest though...but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait!

  6. I love the flowers on marjoram and oregano. And I dream, longingly, of establishing an asparagus bed... One day!

  7. Lovely flowers however those are also good source of medicines. Here in my country there are some herbal products available in the market made of oregano.

    Cassy from Guitar Made Easy

  8. Spectacular Asparugus ferns. And the coriander seeds are delicious too!

  9. Ali; in my Asparagus bed [1 metre x 2.4 metres] I have 9 plants (there were originally 10, but one died young!). They have produced more spears each year as their roots spread out, but no new ones have self-seeded. Actually I think mine is an all-male variety so its seeds will be sterile. As far as sun goes, I'm sure it would prefer full sun, though in my garden it is semi-shaded but still performs quite well.

  10. Thanks Mark. I have been researching and researching, but I am still not 100% sure I understand how they grow... for example, if they keep shooting up spears each year, aren't they going to outgrow the bed?

  11. Ali, the fact that you harvest the Asparagus spears every year keeps the plants at a more-or-less constant size. I think mine are probably in their 5th year now, and they have certainly not outgrown their bed.

  12. Merk, How come my asparugus, just has ferns and not the aspargus spears itself, I had a couple last year but everytin=me they start to come up this year they just flower into a fern like

    1. Hi "Anon"; The Asparagus spears are just immature ferns. If you leave them long enough they will develop into ferns. I suspect that your Asparagus is young. If it is less than 3 years old it will probably only produce very thin shoots. I suggest 1)Patience - let the plants develop; and 2) Food - feed the plants with general-purpose fertiliser (e.g. liquid Growmore) to help them build up strength.


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