Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Herb garden catch up

Well, recently it has actually felt like spring has arrived and our plants should start to feel like bursting forth in to growth. I thought I would do a catch up on the herb garden that I planted last year.

Considering how crazy the weather was last year I don’t think the new garden did too badly, but there have been a few changes to make this year. Some herbs like Sage and Motherwort have done extremely well, a little too well! I think I under estimated how much space they were planning on taking over! So one motherwort plant has been taken out and is moving to another exciting herb garden project – which I will tell you about later. One Sage plant has also been moved to allow the Vervain to get more sunlight and air circulation.
Last year I harvested a lot of Sage and Rosemary which I have made into herbal vinegars. I have used the Sage vinegar as an effective gargle for a sore throat and the Rosemary vinegar has mainly been used as a final rinse for my hair. Both vinegars have been used in salad dressings too.
Last year I put my Marigold and Chamomile seedlings in the ground too late and because of the lousy weather they took their time to flourish. Having said that, I did manage to keep harvesting Chamomile flowers through the late summer enough to dry for a few aromatic brews through autumn. This year I plan to grow much more and aim to be Chamomile self sufficient !
The garden has had a few casualties though. I have lost two thyme plants and one Rosemary. I think this is because of the heavy clay soil, even though I dug plenty of gravel in – it obviously wasn’t enough! Also a bit of over crowding and lack of sunlight may have played a part (that would be my fault then!)
This is what we look like so far in 2013.
Looking a little scruffy around the edges but nice and green!
There is a new Herb garden project happening down at Archway House Natural Health Centre in Market Harborough where I am a Herbal Medicine and Reflexology practitioner, more to follow.

Have fun in your herb garden.
BotanicalBird - Julia


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Daffodils are not the only gold...

Coltsfoot has arrived, which in my book means that spring is definitely just around the corner!

It was during a dog walk on the Bank holiday Monday when I spotted the golden smile of this early flowering herb. Coltsfoot has a fab latin name Tussilago farfara, which is taken from the latin tussis for cough. Coltsfoot has been used traditionally as an effective cough remedy and not so long ago you could buy Coltsfoot rock, a soothing confectionery for coughs and splutters.

The flowers come first, small golden disks that are coaxed open by the warmth of the spring sunshine. They are similar to Dandelion flowers but have a button of florets in their centre. The green leaves appear after the flower with an underside that flashes silver when the wind catches them.

Last year there where two very small patches of Coltsfoot, clinging to quite a steep bank under the hedge line. This year I have counted six so they are hopefully here to stay.