“What is that?”
Yes, what is this amazing focal point in my garden?
Oh, how we are loving our lovage this year. Normally this stately perennial is not nearly as tall, robust or…massive. The past two springs, the tender new stalks of our lovage have been frozen by cold temperatures in the 20’s or flattened by heavy, wet spring snows. But this year, oh my, how it has grown. This is the third year of its presence in my semi-formal herb garden and it has not just leaped, it has soared. When I placed this small seedling into my garden, I intentionally planted it in the corner as a focal point, a corner piece, a border. Week by week, this cousin-to-celery has gotten wider, taller, just plain bigger. Now it is much more than a token in the garden. I have had many moments of wonder. “Should I move this to a different spot? Should the lovage have its own bed? Should I go into the business of growing just Lovage?” Oh, for the love of Lovage! Who would buy all of it?!
It has become a huge conversation piece for visitors in my garden and a favorite hiding place for ladybugs and little boys.
We have been enjoying its changes, from straight and angular to wild and rangy. It is amazing to look at up close. And rather astonishing to look at from afar as it makes our newest garden bone, a towering trellis, look…small.
Other, smaller garden visitors, the bees, have been moving about on it, collecting pollen and nectar. Their weight creating a lovely lovage dance as they travel from tip to tip.
Here are a few notes about Lovage.
Common Name: Lovage, Love Parsley
Latin Name: Levisticum officinale
Family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceace: The carrot or parsley family.
Height: 3 to 7 feet (or more!)
Uses: The young stalks of Lovage have an uncanny resembelece to its cousin celery. But upon tasting, there is quite a difference in flavor. Much stronger, yet pleasant, it can be used as a celery substitute when a celery flavor is desired.
– The mature stalks can be cut and used as a drinking straw, preferably in a tomato juice cocktail.
– Tender young leaves or seeds can be candied for an after dinner breath freshener and digestive aide.
*** The seeds were once used in love potions and spells, thus lending the name Lovage. ***