I've been looking for weeks to find Tarragon for my patio. I love cooking with it, but the first time I tried to grow it, apparently I didn't do something right and it did not survive my efforts...
Unfortunately, the plants are hard to find because the seeds it produces are sterile so the only way to get a plant is to get a hunk of someone else's plant. So when TOG and I were shopping for patio pots Sunday, he yells "Tarragon!" and I came running. Texas Tarragon! Victory! I bought two plants. Quite a deal. Only 3.25 each so it's not going to bankrupt us when they die. (I'm hoping for a good outcome, but resigned that ultimately they may give their lives for a couple of potato salads and some chicken!)
But these plants looked "different". Check out the wiiiiide, shiny leaves. They're just wrong. So I did a search. Texas Tarragon is actually Mexican Mint Marigold... Imposters!
The website notes "Growing to 30 inches, the shapely clump becomes ablaze in fall with golden marigold-like blossoms. When planted next to a purple flowering Salvia leucantha the effect is breathtaking.As if beauty weren’t enough, the plant’s delightful anise flavor can be used in place of tarragon (but it is not an identical substitute, the taste of mexican mint marigold is milder and more anise-like)."
Now I'm really bummed. It's not going to taste like Tarragon? There goes my potato salad! And my grilled chicken.... Definetely handing it over to TOG to do with as he wishes.
Now I'm scouring the internets to find French Tarragon which is apparently what I was looking for in the first place. I find a place that will ship it to me (live plant) from New York. Sigh... for $8 a plant plus postage. It'll be dead before I ever get my hands on it.
Today I was sweating walking into the local "everything under one roof" store in the small (tiny) town where I work. They have their plants out front. I've already looked at their plants and there's nothing I want. And these are wilting in the 93 degree heat, so they're half dead anyway. Pfffft!
I move to step out of the way of a little old lady, her charming husband and their wayward cart and I bump up against the plant rack... Glance down... Double take... Holy Moley! FRENCH TARRAGON!!!
Hello my little ones! I carressed their long slender leaves and the scent that rose to greet me was amazing. I rescued 3 of them ($2 each) and set them in the shade at work with a good watering. On the way home we stopped and bought them some miracle gro soil and the very best high octane compost. I'm pretty sure I hear singing when I bend down to talk to them...
Don't they look happy to you?
Now I just have to explain to TOG why I needed two kinds of Tarragon... "What do you mean you're not going to cook with those first ones...!?"