Harmful Exotic Plants To Not Place In Your Landscape Beside HerbFest Herbs


     One of the most used, but now abused, exotic plants that has flourished in N.C. is what is called Kudzu.  Originally found at a nursery trade show in the Japanese exhibit and, transplanted to the  U.S., it has become one of the more invasive plants in the natural landscape. 

   The N.C. Dept. of Transporation has released a guide to the harmful exotic species you do not want to place in your landscape.   This very fine file, inclusive of photos for easy identification, is now available.  It can be viewed here on the HerbFest site.

    Live and Growing
                                                                        Drying Sweet Annie
Hi Herbanite Bob,


    Question for you. We purchased a plant at the HerbFest.   I believe it was called Sweet Annie.  It is has a camphor like scent and grows rather bushy. We had it in a corner of our garden and took up a lot of space once it grew. Where would you suggest planting it, and can you also tell me what type of herbal qualities it has?



Thanks Pam for question.

     Sweet Annie, Artemisia 'annua',   is actually an annual, meaning it will last one growing season then die.  It does seed itself though and a popular use of it is to take some of the branches to your friends and give them a branch as it's loaded with new seeds they can use for next year's plants.   The branches themselves can actually be dried and that fragrance will last for years.  Do not dig it up yet or destroy it as it's foliage will turn reddish-brown for a beautiful hue in the fall.   The branches are often used in wreaths, fresh or dried arrangements, and also in dry potpourri as a natural fragrance herb.

        We planted 2 or 3 of them this year and the one at our house is over 6 feet tall and has a diameter close to 8 feet.  I put it near a door so now have to walk through it to get my duck's corn each morning and hate it when has rained and wet as I get wet but rest of time what a delightful fragrance to brush against to start each day!!   It can actually be shaped, when growing,  into a Christmas tree topiary.


Herbanite Bob



    Often we have customers asking for the "mosquito plant" which leads to this dialogue.   The plant generally referred to that repels mosquitos is a plant called a "scented geranium".  It is not a member of the geranium family but actually originates in South Africa and is a "pelargonium".   The Scented geranium is known for it's fragrance, not it's flowers as a geranium is.  

CompostingComposting is pretty simple, as some professional composter has been quoted, "Compost Happens"
This great little video, explains the basics of getting started with composting and also gives some tips for advanced composters.

Recycle your yard waste and kitchen scaps and get some great nutrient dense compost in the process.

         Here in Zone 7's we have a problem keeping cilantro from bolting and going to seed ( coriander ).  Cilantro is such a favorite addition to so many of our dishes yet once the small plant is available we have a small window of opportunity before  our heat distracts the plant to the reproduction process, rather than the growing process.  Of course our interest is in leaves, not seeds, so we have a problem.  We can protect the plants by putting them under Elephant Ears with their wide canopy shielding the young plants from the direct sunlight but it's only temporary as eventually the heat wins out and the plant goes to seed with minimal leaves being produced.

    One solution is to use an alternative plant that loves the heat we have and, will not bolt, so the popular cilantro substitute is culantro, that's a "u" not an "i".   Culantro forms a natural mound and does most of it's growing in the hottest weather we have here, 90's in mid July - August.  The leaves are much wider than regular cilantro and far more of them.  On the tips of the leaves you will see a small briar type point but it does not cause any problems when eaten although it may look treacherous to some.  The plant is used exactly as regular cilantro is used and is plentiful through the heat of our summers.   For us culantro is a perennial in our climate so we can look forward to it reviving itself from year to year. 

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