Rosemary - and Time
While herbs aren’t the splashiest things to grow, gardener Miriam
Charles finds beauty in their forms, feel, subtle colors – and taste
Miriam Charles with her enthusiastic helpers, Bear, Louie and Badger.
She's holding her favorite small rake which allows her to work among the
many plants in a raised bed. In the round pot to her left, inside the fence,
is lemon grass and parsley. Lemon grass is used in Asian cooking. Parsley
is popular as a flavoring, garnish, and medicinal herb.
BY SUSAN BURGESS
PHOTOS BY SUSAN BURGESS
Exquisitely timeless, an herb garden beckons with a
sense of peace and good things to eat, pungent
smells if you snap off a leaf of allspice, bay or
basil, and a connection to ancient times when
herbs were said to cure, ward off evil spirits, and
please the palates of sultans, emperors, and kings.
Herb growing in casual or formally designed gardens is a
popular pastime, with more than 23,000 herb gardeners in
the United States alone, according to the Herb Society of
America, headquartered in Ohio. Among them, Miriam
Charles, an herb society member in Port St. Lucie, devotes
almost her entire back yard and most of her spare time to
growing herbs outdoors, often from seed.
“I’m hooked on it,” she says. “I spend most of my weekends
out in the yard working with them.”
Wielding her favorite small rake with square plastic tines,
accompanied by her two Shih Tzus and Bear, the bounding
Golden Retriever, she weeds, transplants, harvests flower
heads that are ready to give up their seeds, waters, and
enjoys the peace of working in the earth with her hands.
A small wooden fence that was supposed to keep Bear
from prancing in the beds ended up being a great support
for growing nasturtiums their brilliant orange and
“Nasturtiums can be used in salads, but when I do that,
people just eat around the flowers,” she says with a laugh.
“It is very easy to grow herbs
in south Florida. Fall, winter
and spring are the best
— Miriam Charles