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Weekend Projects

My liquor collection has always been a mess. As a guest, you needed to know that there was gin somewhere to make a gin and tonic, and finding matching highball glasses was such a chore that I often served cocktails in juice glasses. More often than not, I just served wine and sparkling water when I had people over, which was a shame because I had a pretty good assortment of beverages at any given time.

This year around holiday-time, a kind co-worker gifted me a delightful miniature Christmas tree in a tiny cardboard planter adorned with a big red bow. With high hopes, my little tree rode in my passenger seat home from the office with me and has been sitting pretty on my entry way console ever since. Each day on my way out the door and each evening on my way back in, he greets me with the comforting, woodsy scent of cypress and a silent plea: “Replant me, replant me!”

My summer herb garden is winding down and it’s time to clean out the planters so the soil will be ready for next year. I had a good crop of sage, but I’ve never been able to winter over the plants, so it was time to pull it out and put it to use.

Sure, I swoon over summer basil just like everyone else, but the herb that has my heart and soul is lemon verbena. Each year, I buy more lemon verbena plants than the last, squeezing them into window boxes between the geraniums and tucking them next to tomato plants in my small container garden. And each year, I pick, pluck, and trim the stems several times throughout the summer to dry for herbal tea through the winter because I simply can’t get enough of the soothing, floral, lemony flavor.