Despite growing up in a household boasting flowerbeds all over the property and a sizable vegetable garden, my gardening skills are sadly, wanting. My first attempt at growing herbs several summers ago left me with a somewhat viable rosemary plant (a fact I am attributing to the plant’s inherent hardiness rather than my green thumb) and dead lavendar and sage plants. Another try was slightly more successful my first summer in New Haven–we enjoyed fresh oregano and thyme for most of the summer before a drought killed them–but due to the flurry of activity last summer leading up to two weddings (including our own), growing our own herbs slide preciputously down the priority list. With Romeo almost always having what we need (and usually a good price for the quality), we normally never had a problem going through a batch of parsley during a week’s time, and having fresh tarragon and sage for a weekend dinner would just signal a need to get creative with the remaining amounts for weekday meals.
Then we went to Italy and had access to a true bounty of herbs to use as we needed–and we realized that we only needed a sprig or two because the quality was just that much greater. For much of the winter and early spring the thoughts of sprouting a more modest version were on my mind constantly, especially as we’ve taken to make brown butter sage sauces to go with our fresh pastas so frequently. Michael was initially hesitant but I managed to convince him that it was a good idea and not too complicated, and Saturday we became the proud owners of this sizable sage plant and a smaller French tarragon plant (it seems to have thinner leaves than the tarragon we usually find in the market). A modest $27 investment in a trowel, potting soil and some terracotta pots later, and we are in business. To add to the fun, I picked up some rosemary and lavender seeds to try sprouting, though I’m not as confident in my ability to germinate actual seedlings from, you know, seeds. But it’s worth a try, right?