Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

In 1966, Simon and Garfunkel published an album titled Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.

Every spring, when I work on my herb garden this song goes through my head. (Listen to it here). It’s a beautiful song that was a traditional English ballad from the middle ages. The lyrics include two parts, sung simultaneously, one part being a love ballad and the other part (in the parentheses) is about war.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

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In Medieval times, parsley represented comfort.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt
   (On the side of a hill in the deep forest green)
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
   (Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground)
Without no seams nor needlework
   (Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain)
Then she’ll be a true love of mine
   (Sleeps unaware of the clarion call)

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In Medieval times, sage represented strength.

Tell her to find me an acre of land
   (On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves)
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
   (Washes the ground with so many tears)
Between the salt water and the sea strand
   (A soldier cleans and polishes a gun)
Then she’ll be a true love of mine

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In Medieval times, rosemary represented love.

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather
   (War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions)
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
   (Generals order their soldiers to kill)
And to gather it all in a bunch of heather
   (And to fight for a cause they’ve long ago forgotten)
Then she’ll be a true love of mine

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In Medieval times, thyme represented courage.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

I have always had these four herbs in my garden, and I use them frequently in my cooking and baking. But I grow many more each year – adding some and taking some away, too. Fennel and cilantro make sporadic appearances.

Garden 2015

This year I have many old favorites most of which wintered over in my garden – tarragon, oregano, marjoram, garlic (my first year for garlic which was planted last November and should be ready to harvest in July), basil, English lavender, chives, spearmint (a variety specifically for Mojitos), and dill.

My herb garden is my favorite, but I will also grow some heirloom tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. I planted some blackberry bushes this year and have been working on adding perennials and annuals to my various planting beds. We are starting our third summer in this home, and I finally have all of the beds organized enough to start adding new plantings to them.

Baby Tomato Plants 04_2015

I grew Pink Lady and Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes from seeds saved last fall.

I am growing four types of tomatoes this year – Pink Lady, Green Zebra, Mortgage Lifter, and Amish Paste Roma. I am using a new technique that includes planting a five-gallon bucket with holes drilled into it into the ground, placing the plants around the bucket and surrounding with chicken wire. The goal is for the bucket to self-water the plants when we are away, to provide a frame for the growing plants, and to attempt to keep the rabbits from eating the produce. We’ll see how it works.

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Last year I also made up mosquito pots – the idea is to use certain plants to keep the pests away. I’m not sure how well this really worked, mosquitoes don’t really bother me, but they bother my DSH a lot. I guess he’s just sweeter than me. What does bother me is the smell and use of chemical insecticides. They make me nauseous and give me headaches so I thought using plants to try to ward off the offensive critters was worth a try. The pot contains lemon grass, lemon thyme, catnip, and yellow marigolds. If nothing else, it’s really pretty when the plants fill the pot.

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More on my flowers and other plants later!

Working in the garden gives me comfort. I feel strong after spending time dragging pots and plants around, digging holes, and planting herbs and flowers and bulbs and bushes. I love working outdoors. I feel courageous trying new things in the garden each year.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.

What are you growing in your gardens this year?

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2 Responses to Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

  1. Delia says:

    Greetings from sunny Malaysia 🙂 I am a “lurker” and avid follower of your blog. I’ve noticed that you haven’t update in a while… Just dropping a comment to say “hi”, you are missed, and that I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughtful insight! Love, Delia

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