Favorite Smells of Summer

What are your favorite smells of summer?

The smells I most strongly associate with summer are:

Fresh herbs from the garden - either outdoors while I am gardening or indoors when I am preparing a meal that includes them. Mint, rosemary, and basil are my favorites.

I like the smell at the beginning of rain. In the summer - there is so much vegetation where I live that the smells are rich and vary considerably…but they always remind me of crisp greenery and warmth.

Citrus. Somehow citrus is a summer sun smell to me. I like orange and lemon. There are a lot of products that include the scent. I love to have orange zest drying in my kitchen giving the whole kitchen its smell (and then using it in a stir fry or baking….and getting the smell again).

Cucumber. It has a very light scent…but certainly one that is cool in the midst summer heat and brightness.

What are your favorite smells of summer?

Recipe of the Week: Iced Tea

Summertime and iced tea - they go together. There are many ways to make iced tea. Sun tea is as simple as putting teabags in a jar of water and letting it sit in the sun. My preferred method is using a tea maker (a coffee maker that has always been used exclusively for tea).

To make plain tea: put two small tea bags or one family sized bag in the brew basket for 10-12 cups of tea. As soon as it is brewed, turn off the tea maker and let the tea cool before pouring it over ice.

I very rarely make plain tea. There are just too many things from my garden to add. The last few days I’ve cut up (with scissors) three large stevia leaves and a handful of citrusy mint to add to the brew basket with one small tea bag. Put the tea bag on top because the acid from the tea helps leech the good flavor/sweetness from the stevia and mint. After it is cool - the tea is just the right strength and sweetness to simply pour over ice and enjoy.

Some other things I am going to try from the garden: 

  • Lemon balm. I have a huge amount of it and it seems to lose its flavor when it is dried so I might as well use as much as possible while it can be cut and used fresh.
  • Rosemary. I’ve read about putting a spring of rosemary in lemonade. It would probably be a good additive to tea as well. My rosemary is growing well and probably would branch out more if I trimmed it a bit.
  • Chocolate mint. I have two flower beds with chocolate mint…and it seems to grow about as fast as I can use it. 

Enjoy iced tea!

A Garden in Pots


About a month ago I had a sweet potato in the bin that sprouted. I cut off the sprouted end and put it in a bowl of water (cooked and ate the rest of it). It grew slowly at first then - just as I noticed that roots has developed - it started to grow very rapidly. It grew straight up, reached the bottom of the raised mini-blinds above the kitchen sink and then used them for support. It was clearly time to plant the sweet potato outside. Several years ago I had a pot crammed full of sweet potatoes by the fall starting out this same way. the only challenge was to keep it well watered.

 I decided to buy herbs and 'greens' in small pots to fill every container I had on the deck. 


The stevia, orange mint, Italian parsley and chocolate mint are pictured above (left to right). The sweet potato, rosemary, and basil are pictured below. I hope the sweet potato will grow all over the metal scultures so that it can get plenty of sun. Notice the two parts to the sweet potao vine. It was so long and spindly that it bent while it was transfered outside; the stem eas cut and (hopefully) the end will root quickly enough that there will be two plants in the pot.

Last but not least, I planted the curly parsley in the old turtle sandbox that my daughter outgrew long ago. It looks a little lonely right now but there are peas planted that will come up all around it (old seeds so it's an experiment to see how many will actually sprout). 

So - why didn't I buy tomatoes? They've been part of my deck garden for the past few years. Over time I've come to realize that the local Farmers Market has excellent tomatoes and I can try new varieties every week whereas if I grow my own I have only one kind (and they are not beautiful plants!). It's harder to get just the small amount of herbs and greens to be used for a meal and keep them as fresh as you want unless you grow them yourself. So - I've made a change this year by sticking with green stuff. I'll probably plant the mint in the garden at some point and let it 'escape' so that I'll have lots to dry for herbal tea.  Something needs to compete with the lemon balm that is taking over one end of the garden and growing into th yard.

The challenge - as in previous years - is to keep everything watered on the deck when it doesn't rain often enough. Collecting water from rinsing veggies and carrying it outside is enough until it gets really hot and dry; then we'll have to rig a hose and mister for our 'garden in pots' that I can see from my kitchen window!