A green space for urban gardeners

Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme – and sweet potatoes?

It’s 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I’m happy to say that I’ve just clipped fresh herbs from my balcony garden to use in preparing dinner — parsley, sage, rosemary and, yes, thyme.

And I’d say the holiday arrives just in the nick of time, since the forecast has temps dipping precipitously tonight and I’m not sure the garden will last past the next few days.

As I’ve got more preparation to do in the kitchen, I just wanted to briefly share with you some of the ways the garden has contributed to my holiday table:

  • My parsley, which is looking a little like a hanging plant, will be incorporated into southern-style cornbread dressing (we don’t do stuffing); tomorrow’s turkey will also be garnished with lots of parsley (seen on the right in first photo — opposite nasturtium)
  • I made chive butter earlier this week; I also used chopped chives in two appetizers made ahead and frozen for a cocktail gathering late tonight (the second photo shows the chives with Greek oregano in the background)
  • Rosemary and thyme (of the lemon variety) will season the brine the turkey soaks in tonight; both herbs will also go into the cornbread dressing; and, the thyme will add spice to steamy popovers that will accompany dinner (the rosemary and lemon thyme are peeking out from behind the flowering(!) nasturtium in the third photo)

Oh, and I’m not overlooking those nasturtium flowers… Their yellow and orange blossoms will make a nice contrast used decoratively against the white of the coconut cake we’ll have for dessert.

Happy Thanksgiving!


A SWEET SURPRISE: It’s been a blast writing this blog for the past seven months. I so enjoy sharing my garden experiences, and I also love reading about the gardening adventures of other bloggers.

But, as most bloggers will tell you, it’s very difficult to gauge which posts visitors will find useful, and — dare I dream — engaging (smile). So I was incredibly honored when Jo, a fellow blogger from across the pond, nominated me for a Best Blog award. Her blog, The Good Life, is also a favorite of mine. Thank you, Jo!

Along with accepting this award came the responsibility to pay it forward and select 15 other great blogs to introduce you to… So, without further ado, here are the 15 blogs I’ve chosen to receive the Best Blog award:

  1. Bay Area Tendrils
  2. Garden Girl
  3. Moj Vrt
  4. The Obsessive Gardener
  5. Greenish Thumb
  6. Organic Allotment
  7. Joel the Urban Gardener
  8. Pam’s English Cottage Garden
  9. Jackie’s Secret Garden
  10. Frugilegus
  11. Seven Oaks
  12. Nest and Sparkle
  13. Gardening With Miss Daisy
  14. The 6×8 Garden
  15. Kaseys Korner

So, congratulations to the blogs above! To accept the award, all each blogger has to do is post a link to the blog that awarded them (this one), and pass the award on to 15 other great garden blogs and post those links, as well. (Don’t forget to leave a comment letting your picks know they’ve been chosen.)


Speaking of sweet surprises, I have to say that I was pretty astonished to find the most popular posts on this blog seem to be ones that chronicle my adventures with sweet potato vine!

Remember, I grew my own from a potato placed on the windowsill and I bought some lovely chartreuse ornamental ones to showcase in my summer balcony garden.

I thought it was only fitting, then, to show you what I dug up when I removed the dead ornamental sweet potato vines from that garden to make way for the cold-tolerant plants. Drum roll please…

Beneath their roots, I unearthed miniature sweet potatoes!

And no, I won’t be serving them for dinner (smile).

Happy Thanksgiving!


  Stephanie wrote @

Hello Avis, congrats on your award! Looks like your balcony garden is bigger than I can imagine. It is so wonderful to be able to harvest something right at home for cooking isn’t it? I hope you could bring in those herbs come winter. It would be sad to see them dieback. They look so good. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  linda wrote @

Happy Thanksgiving Avis!

How wonderful the herbs in your balcony garden are still hanging in there, and how fitting they’ll be incorporated into your Thanksgiving celebration!

At our house we’ll be enjoying garden beets, pickled tomatoes, Kuri squash, and green beans I blanched, vacuum sealed, and froze a few weeks ago. The dressing for our beet, pear, pecan and bleu cheese salad includes fresh basil growing in a container in our basement ‘greenhouse,’ brought in from the garden early this month. This will be the first Thanksgiving in several years that I’ll be able to incorporate produce from the garden into the menu, and that makes me so thankful.

I’m also thankful for this kind award! Have a warm, wonderful holiday!

  City Diggity wrote @

What a wonderful bounty from your garden! It’s great that you get to bring it to your Thanksgiving table. And how cool to have a basement greenhouse! Basil is my favorite herb and it would be great to harvest it all year. Cheers!

The sweet potatoes were teeny little things, so I didn’t keep them, but I was amazed that they were there. I’m not sure if they’re viable that small… I should have investigated. Happy holiday!

  Wendy wrote @

Hi Avis – thanks for the award!! That’s so cool! I also enjoyed the sweet potato post and remembered it when you mentioned it. How fun that you found some little sweet potatoes!! Do you have enough to make a little casserole – or at least some sort of appetizer? Happy Thanksgiving!

  Wendy wrote @

Wow, these herbs look fantastic on your balcony. I love the way you’ve used them for dinner. I grow herbs as well, but lack in creativity. I could definitely enjoy some chive butter on bread (or on potatoes?!) right about now!

  Pamela wrote @

Hi, Avis, Thanks for the award! I’m honored! I am working on a post that follows up with my picks. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Pam

  Jo wrote @

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Avis. Your herbs have done really well for you, it’s so nice to be able to cook with things you have grown yourself. I’m pleased that you have accepted the award, I think this is a great way of discovering new blogs and I will be checking out your nominees later.

  Sylvana – The Obsessive Gardener wrote @

What an honor! Congratulations, and thank you!
There are so many blogs out there, it shouldn’t be too hard to find 15!

Your herbs look fantastic! I over-winter rosemary and sage in my living room. The lower levels of light make the rosemary very tender – and even better! The sage struggles a bit, but bounces back strong once it is warm enough to go back outside.
Your Thanksgiving preparation sounds like it will make way for a mouthwatering feast! Wish you had samples 🙂

  frugilegus wrote @

Thanks very much for the award. Have enjoyed your sweet potato adventures this year – planning to plant some myself in the Spring.

  Tonyaa wrote @

As the beneficiary of that wonderful, herb-infused Thanksgiving dinner, I have to say my sister knows her way around a kitchen and a balcony garden! I didn’t know about the sweet potato vine and the teeny potatoes, though. I have a hanging sweet potato vine, but I fear it may be dead now because I haven’t watered it for awhile…oh well.

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