Golden Oregano: Aureum

Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’, also known as Golden Oregano, is a perennial that is grown in zones 4 to 9. These plants are not as invasive as other oregano varieties but still spready quickly and are fast growers. Usually they don’t get larger than three feet tall and can be an excellent ground cover.

They can be an evergreen in warmer climates, but still come back in cooler zones if they do not stay perky all year long. These plants are allegedly deer and rabbit resistant. I can confirm that they have the same great taste and smell as other oreganos, but it’s not as strong as their relatives. I haven’t really noticed much of a difference myself but I just planted this herb and it may change as it ages.

Now, we already have one successful oregano growing in our fairy garden. We were sure that it died during the harsh winter this year, but it didn’t. In fact, I feel as though the snow just made it stronger. That’s why we decided that adding different types of oregano would be beneficial to our forest.

Aureum enjoys full sun but can grow in partial shade. We planted this in several places in between our berry bushes and trees. They are still young and they are a nice contrast to the other greens that we have planted.

It blooms in the middle or late summer and attracts butterflies and other pollinators. I attempted to get more than one source but they all seemed to say the same things.

  • This is an ornamental plant
  • Aureum has little to no culinary value and that there are other oreganos that have a stronger flavor than this one. That only made me thing that this might be beneficial for people who have sensitive stomachs. I have not investigated this, it was only a thought.
  • It is edible
  • Aureum enjoys full sun and can be used as a lovely ground cover
  • The leaves are golden and their flowers are purple or pink

I wish I had more information, but I will show off the growth of this perennial as it continues. We haven’t used a lot of the herb since we have gotten it but as we use it in our recipes we’ll let you know if there are any true differences. Once I get more information I will put it out there, but there isn’t a lot to go on when it comes to Aureum or Golden Oregano.

Rosemary Indoors

I am having a lot of fun with rosemary. It is one of my favorite herbs to grow in our garden. I started rosemary in 2020 and I fell in love. Have you ever just taken your face and moved your face between their leaves? It is the greatest experience.

Also this is another perennial for my area. One thing I learned is that perennial doesn’t mean that it will live forever. It only gives the promise of three or more years. The more you know, right?

Rosemary is evergreen that boosts the immune system and helps blood circulation. This plant is high in antioxidants, improves digestion, enhancing memory and concentration, neurological protection, protection against macula degeneration, and many other amazing uses. They have this disclaimer that says: do not bulk up on rosemary and try to just eat all of it. Eating rosemary in bulk can put you into a coma and many other not so cool side effects.

This has been one of the easiest herbs that I have been able to grow. Rosemary can get between 1.5 and 3 meters tall- which is awesome. It can be used as an anti fungal remedy as well.

Fun Fact: this is a beneficial herb to help prevent scurvy and certain cancers.

I love that it is one of the many herbs that grows well in containers. I enjoy the smell and that is an evergreen. It is so pretty. Smells good, tastes good in food and has all of the benefits a humble farmer could want. It makes an excellent border shrub and repels certain insects.

I have dried out a large amount of rosemary and I am really excited about grinding it down. I have been making it into a powder and putting them in cork bottles. One day I plan on doing a lot with it. Unfortunately, my plants aren’t producing large quantities of rosemary just yet.

I have been thinking of it’s uses because I do not use powdered rosemary for cooking. Who knows, but the uses are endless.

Not recommended for women who are pregnant, nursing or wish to become pregnant. If you are taking medications that are prescribed or provide long term medical care always consult a physician before adding rosemary to your diet on a regular basis- as in more than 4 nights a week.

Just putting that out there so that if people see it prevents cancer they don’t eat three pounds, put themselves in a coma then sue me. I don’t have time for all of that nonsense.

Just know rosemary is easy to grow, does well against cats using it as camouflage to attack one another and my children love running their fingers through it and it doesn’t die. I can forget to water it and it doesn’t act dramatic.

Year Zero: Serious Moment

I have a five year plan. It is not a good plan and it changes from day to day but it is a plan. Right now, I have just left year zero. January 2021 is starting a new year for me.

You may ask:

What is Year Zero? Year Zero has been my year of planning. I also went around the area and looked at local nurseries. I wanted to see what everyone had to offer. It opened my eyes. I also planned to go back to college and learn about plant things.

Why is Year Zero so important? Year Zero is my planning year. We moved in October 2019 and that only started our adventure. During this year I have walked the property over five hundred times. I have learned the land-ish. There is a lot more to starting a permaculture food forest then I anticipated.

This is where I outlined my goals. I learned my property and I planted starter plants- which I will get into later. We have a lot to cover so I will continue.

Some of the trees ready for new homes

What does having a poorly planned year zero do for someone who is just starting out? This is a tough one because I had to reset my Year Zero last year. It was insanity. I killed every plant I got my hands on because I just jumped in. I thought I could just wish my garden into growth. It was poor planning and I wasted a lot of money on plants that died. So, don’t waste money use your year zero wisely. Learn to work with your property and not against it.

Year Zero is the most important year of planning and development. This is my year of research and getting to know my property. Here I started and failed then restarted after some research. Even still I am not 100% sure that everything will work out. My year one began with medicinal plants and evolved into the dreams of a food forest. Somewhere it evolved and I wanted to have real food security.

I learned a lot about the native plants that already live here and it inspired me to start a Monarch Butterfly Santuary. I started by going online and joining many types of groups. They kind of inspired me and so I continued with my year zero goals. I did way better than I anticipated.

The reason Year Zero is important is because it lays the foundation for success but remember: you can always switch it up later if your plans don’t work out. I know it sounds crazy but a lot of people (myself including) thought they could just jump in (like I did) and fail. I’ve learned it’s only a true failure if I stop trying and so I will continue.

It took me the better half of the first year to figure out I was doing things wrong and I might need to talk to experts. That’s why I enrolled in classes but I’ll share all of that information as I get it with you.

Squash flower (I think?)

Sure, I was in the best Facebook groups. Unfortunately I hadn’t been utilizing them. So I went online and I just dove into research on permaculture, companion planting, ph levels, soil samples and I was blown away by how much was out there. I will never know everything but I had started down a rabbit hole that brought me here to this blog.

Spoiler alert: my plants stopped dying. I got better at planting the more I learned and there is this feeling of happiness when you are using your own vegetables and fruits.

All throughout year zero I sat outside my plants hoping they might grow. It does not make plants grow faster.

Now I know I need a plan and in year zero it’s the perfect time to decide what you want and where you see that going in five years. Make it fun and exciting but remember: your plan must flow with the tide. So make sure you are ready for those changes and adaptations as you go. For example: I thought I could just put seeds in the dirt and it would just grow. It doesn’t work that way and now I know thanks to countless people.

Goals for my property and my life for the next five years. This is important because it gives me a general outline to work with. Remember, I am making plans but they are like the wind- every changing and straightforward.

In five years, I want to have every individual breed of plant I want on my property. Even if I do not have every part of my land covered (Which I most likely will seeing my progress already- it is a possibility). I am not talking about a neat little orchard- I want trees and shrubs. I want to be overwhelmed with sight, smell and feel like nature surrounds me.

Keep that in mind- it is the foundation for our success. My goals are not primarily food security, even though it is a reoccurring theme, but instead a food based garden of eden, a place for me to retire my body and my spirit. So, not all of my plants will be solely food based. I am going to continue on that note, but keep your goals in your mind.

Another goal I realized: I want the species here to be closer to disease resistant and ready to produce in five years. This means that in the first few years I have to plant my trees that need to be producing as well as create a water source.

In Year Zero, I am going through plant lists to find edible plants, flowering plants, herbs, and pollinators. I am collecting seeds and planting what I like to call guaranteed success plants such as blackberries. During Year Zero I did a lot of planning but then I began planting samples.

For example: I don’t know of I even like certain fruits- this is a great time to plant one or two and try them. If I don’t like them I won’t plant more of that particular tree. It’s good to know before I make a mass planting decision.

The ones that do well and we like: we plant more of them. The ones that don’t we just move on from and don’t plant more. At least we are keeping those three blueberries (if any of them survive), but I am hesitant of planting more until we know they will survive. That is one of many examples. We keep what we like but we don’t want continue any difficult plants. If something happens we want to make sure we can take care of it. (Eventually I hope it will take care of itself, in my old age I don’t want to be chasing around a 7 acre mess)

I want to cover my entire property in plants that are useful primarily with a little playroom for beautiful things. I want to retire in my own hand made forest and I want to leave it for my kids to enjoy. I cannot wait until I make my dream come true, but Year Zero opened my eyes to the many possibilities.

Frankly, Year Zero did not go as planned and there is a good chance your Year Zero will not be magnificentbut don’t give up. I killed a lot of plants that I want to blame on bizarre seeds from China that I never received. Really it all came down to poor planning.

Year one starts now in January and during that year I have a lot of things I would like to accomplish. But first let’s talk about what i have already got started:

  • 75 thornless blackberries, three different kinds.
  • 33 grape plants, twenty four muscadine, six concord, two seedless randoms from Wal-Mart, and one Spanish grape.
  • 8 apple trees, 4 persimmons, 4 pomegranates, 5 peaches, 3 plums, 4 cherries, 2 pears, 2 limes, 2 lemons, and 2 avadaco trees.
  • Planted many perennials and failed two gardens.

Year One I have new goals.

  • I would like to plant 100 additional thornless blackberry plants. This year so far we have planted 75. We know that blackberries will do great here and we want at least 200. We want to primarily plant thornless varieties which is also why we are not dying into raspberries.
  • Set up the irrigation system that will support the amount of plants that I want to bring in. We already bought two irrigation systems. One is set up for bushes and one is set up for the trees.
  • I want to plant a minimum of 25 different kinds of apple trees, but that may not be possible.
  • I want to focus on the 41 disease resistant breeds that grow in my zone. Zone 8a.
  • Focus on filling in the spaces between my trees with shrubs and berry bushes.
  • Expanding my seed collection
  • Creating a creek system that runs through our property
  • Planting as much as I can as fast as I can and keeping it all alive with magic

So, don’t give up. Year Zero seems hard on everyone. We’ve got this now onward to YEAR ONE.

A much more detailed goal list for Year One is coming but you’ll have to be patient. I am busy looking through seed catalogs while listening to permaculture information.

Update: Lantanas are Beginning to Flower

It turns out that out of all of the lantas we bought only three survived but they are the prettiest three lantanas. Now don’t quote me on it but I am ninety percent sure that I will be the proud plant mom of two purple lantanas and one white lantana.

They are really loving this little lump of land. The flowers are pretty and I honestly thought that they would be smaller than they are. I heard that lantana can be invasive and I sure hope so. It is just so pretty.

I really enjoy the green of the leaves and it has grown around six ot eight inches since it has been transplanted. Honestly, I am surprised that any of our lantanas survived.

You see my cats enjoy brand new fresh soil to roll around in and play on and around. They are a little crazy but we still love them.

We shall see and I will post more pictures of updates on these beautiful little transplants. Got to say each day that I see how great some of my plants are doing it makes me want to plant more.

New addition: Morning Glory

Morning Glorys are more butterfly and hummingbird feeders. They are viney and have beautiful flowers that come in many different colors. Growing up to 10 feet a year morning glories make an excellent climber or thick ground cover.

Morning glories have tough shells on their seeds and usually need to be germinated before put into the planter. I germinated mine for twenty four hours and they popped up quickly. I them planted them and left them outside during the warm days.

It did not take them long to start popping up and showing off their lovely heart shaped leaves. They can be grown as a house plant in front of a full sun window and will bloom all year round this way. Otherwise Morning Glorys are annual plants that self seed and come back each year. Although I am germinating and planting them indoors for now I plan on planting them next year.

They are tough little plants that can become invasive and their seeds are poisonous to beds and children especially in large quantities. Morning glories do not like to be transplanted but I am going to try it anyway, because I think they will make a lovely addition to our butterfly garden area or maybe another area.

Morning glories need full sun. They do not like shady places and bloom better in nutrient dense, well drained soil but are also drought tolerant and can survive harsh summers.

Regardless, I am super excited about my morning glories and cannot wait until they are large and in charge.

New groundcover: Trailing Lantana

First, let me start by saying excellent name. When I tell people I am planting lantana they are always curious to what it does and why I am adding it because it sounds exotic and exciting.

“I am going to Lantana.”

“Lantana and I went for a ride.”

Sounds romantic, right? Lantana just sounds like some sort of adventure. I bought this plant specifically for it’s name and found out later that it is useful. Moments like these I like to pat myself on the back.

Regardless, Lantana is not just going to be beautiful with purple and white blooms but she is also very useful. When deciding where it plant her I had a bit of a dilemma because allegedly she spreads like a bad virus. I am surprised she is not a member of the mint family.

They are able to spread so fast because eating their leaves can be poisonous to most animals. They are beneficial in a butterfly garden and are considered useful honey plants. These are things to keep in mind when I plant things. Yes, I like bees but do I want them close to my house?

I need more pollinators attracted to the area but I do not want them at my front door making hives.

Also I like to have monarch butterflies close. I grow a big chunk of our property in these ugly weeds for them. I like watching them flutter around while I plant things and water things

This is, of course, is Trailing lantana and is not useful when you are starting a herb garden but keeping plants like these will benefit your garden in other ways.

So I decided to plant it on this mound that was sitting next to my autumn sage and my ligustrum. I thought this was a good place because it is where I have planted my other bee and hummingbird attractors.

I do know i have seen hummingbirds over there and they are loving these plants that are being planted. I figure if I plant it over here it might deter other animals from destroying anything over here.

Plus, I really enjoy the ground cover aspect. I hate the ugly brown grass that grows over here. I was a multicolored green oasis, but it takes time.

I am very impatient, but I know that planting small things like this will surely invite pollinators to my property. In two to three years I will be adding bee hives, but for now I would just like to invite them closer so that they are able to prepare for my fancy new bee hives that I am saving up for.

Again, I bought more than two so that they would have a homie to spend their time with. Together they will create more lantanas and we will attract all of the bees and butterflies.

New creeper: Asian Jasmine

Yes, when it comes to buying plants I do have a problem. I cannot fix the problem because I like the problem. It is not a problem for me.

Asian Jasmine has many names but that is the one on the tag. So, we are just going to go with that one.

Of course we got a companion plant

This baby can grow up to twenty feet tall or six meters. These gentleman will climb my porch and turn it green.

These plants allegedly have white or cream flowers and they smell like jasmine. I am excited about that.

This is no doubt to lure unsuspecting pollinators and although I do not want them near my house I do like Jasmine. After all I do have a daughter with the middle name Jasmine. They will always remind me of her and how she is moving away to have adventures.

I need to stop buying plants because I am gonna miss her. If it continues next year we may not be able to walk and she won’t have even left yet.

At the end of the day I feel like I will enjoy the ground cover around my pepper plants and it will add another lovely green.

Since the back 5 acres is reserved for my bushes and fruit trees I will be able to add the pretty stuff to the front.

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