Six on Saturday | Herb Garden

When I moved here there were two rotten raised beds at the end of the garden, overgrown with forget-me-nots, grass and weeds, including common hogweed, although there was also some deep purple Aquilegia, Rhubarb and several strawberry plants. Oh and some bamboo growing alongside the fence. Anyway, family came down for a visit during which the plot was cleared and new raised beds created ready for me to grow veg and herbs. The veg part didn’t quite work as imagined. Sowing direct just gave the S&S new seedlings to chomp on, and even when I raised seeds in trays and then planted them out as youngsters, they got noshed. The rhubarb continues to be successful and I still get half a dozen strawberries each morning if I am quick enough to get to them before the slugs. But that bed is now my ‘White’ border. A WIP still, but isn’t that always the case in a garden?

The second raised bed is my Herb garden. I have managed to grow kale and radishes successfully here too, but this year it is becoming more what I intend it to be. A bed of scent and smells and bees and butterflies. Some herbs I use for culinary purposes, others I just like to pick a leaf and chew or crush between my fingers and take pleasure from the scented oils as I wander around the garden each morning.

  1. Variegated sage (‘Tricolor’) – one I grow mainly for the lovely pink, white and green colours it brings me in spring and which I have featured recently, it also flowers with a beautiful clear blue flower that contrasts with the purple bracts.  Sage is a strongly scented herb that can be used to flavour many vegetable or meat dishes. Fresh or dried leaves are used to make teas.

  2. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) –  Another one in flower this week. This time a pretty pink. I use this herb when making pizza. It is quite strong when picked fresh and almost bitter, but oh, the smell! Best to use the leaves dried, but I never manage to pick them.
    Maybe you should pick the leaves before flowering?
  3. Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora).  This one is my favourite. The leaves smell like sherbet lemon or lemon drops! Absolutely fabulous! You can use the leaves and flower tips to make herbal tea, you can chop the leaves up and add to salads or cakes and it has several health benefits too, including protecting muscles, aiding digestion, calming nerves, helping to alleviate congestion and weight loss! Incorporating it into your diet may help you sleep better at night, too. Maybe I should start drinking it! It  will grow into a strong bushy shrub which you can cut down by half its size in the autumn. Just look at that lovely dark maroon edging on the new leaf tips. (Click to enlarge image)
    lemon-verbena
  4. Borage (Borago officinalis) – also known as starflower, bee bush and bee bread, is one I grow for the bees. The bees love borage and if I want bee photos then this is where I go in the garden. The flowers can be used in drinks and salads, they have a cucumber flavour or frozen in ice cubes to make a decorative addition to a G&T or Pimms. The plant is very hairy and the leaves and stems somewhat scratchy and beware it self-seeds like crazy! I pull out hundreds of seedlings in the summer months! It is a good companion plant for growing alongside spinach, tomatoes and legumes. Leaves and flowers do have some health properties, traditionally to reduce fever.  (Click to enlarge image)
  5. St John’s Wort (Hypericum androsaemum ‘Autumn Blaze’) Commonly known as  Sweet amber and Tutsan (Tutsan from French patois toute saine, all-healthy) – I am not sure this is the right name, but it is a form of creeping St John’s Wort and has distinctive red tinges to the leaves. Medicinal Properties: leaves and berries diuretic. Leaves have antiseptic properties.
  6. Golden Marjoram (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’) – another one for the pizzas, tomato sauces for pasta and can be used to flavour oils and vinegars. Best eaten fresh and added towards the end of the cooking process. Marjoram has a delicate flavour.

If you are going to use any herbs for medicinal purposes then please make sure you check how to use them correctly. Many herbs can also be poisonous if used in the wrong dosage.

Well that’s my six this week. There are other herbs in this bed, so we might come back and have another look at them later. Meanwhile I hope everyone (not only gardeners) is enjoying the continued warm weather – despite several showers here this week the grass on the hills is looking decidedly yellow not at all like the lush green I have become accustomed to!

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday

65 Comments

  1. pommepal says:

    Informative post and I didn’t realise lemon verbena had so many benefits. I think I will have to get one and find somewhere to plant it. We are having a lovely deluge of warm rain the garden is loving it…

    1. Heyjude says:

      Shhh. Everyone here will be soooo envious of your rain, warm or otherwise 🙂

  2. beetleypete says:

    I manage to grow some Rosemary and Mint, but that’s about it. You have a lovely herb garden, Jude.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      Oh, thank you Pete. It is a bit of a mess at the moment as the borage has taken over, then the nasturtiums will appear! My rosemary didn’t flower this year, most unusual, but it looks healthy enough.

  3. Pretty and useful – lovely Six. I am going to buy lemon verbena as soon as possible.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I need to experiment with herbal tea – I find them most insipid, but maybe with a grating of ginger it would work?

  4. Pete Hillman says:

    Beautiful, Jude, and what a transformation!

    1. Heyjude says:

      It’s a bit messy at the moment because of the borage, but I’m not fussy. Soon the nasturtiums will take over!

  5. Beautiful post … and I love lemon verbena, the aroma of the leaves is divine!

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is – I always rub a leaf when I go round the garden!

  6. Sue says:

    I loved the herb garden I had at my last place…now it’s parsley and basil on the windowsill, thyme and rosemary in the freezer! Not the same….

    1. Heyjude says:

      I need to buy more basil and parsley as both have gone to seed this year. Just picked some mint for the potatoes tonight and some rosemary for the chicken tomorrow. I always forget to use thyme!

      1. Sue says:

        Cooking? In this heat? I’ve given up until Tuesday, doing cold stuff….. But then, my flat probably warms up more than your house

        1. Heyjude says:

          I must admit having the oven on is a bit of a bind! But I have the conservatory door open all day and the Velux windows open to let the warm air escape – though I have just closed those as the cattle are on orchestral duties tonight! Ear plugs I think…

        2. Sue says:

          😀😀😀

  7. susurrus says:

    A tasty (and aromatic) post.

    1. Heyjude says:

      If only I could pass on the scent!

  8. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A very informative post, thank you, Jude. I love the borage flowers, so hope my cutting is successful when I plant it out when the weather becomes warmer. Does your oregano spread like wildfire? I found mine to be a nuisance.

    1. Heyjude says:

      My oregano is in a pot Jane. Landed there itself and I have noticed some plants in other places 🙂 But I don’t mind. Borage grows very well from seed – didn’t know you could take cuttings!

  9. These are all so pretty, Jude. Do you find the plants don’t last long before they start to go to seed. I’ve tried basil and parsley and they tend to age quickly and then keel over. Any suggestions?

    1. Heyjude says:

      I grew basil indoors last year and it lasted quite well. I tried growing coriander and chervil and they germinated well, but went to seed in the heat before I could use them. My parsley has gone to seed this year very quickly, so I shall have to sow some more as it is one herb that I do use a lot of.

      1. I think our warm weather could be part of the problem. I need to keep picking and using what I grow.

        1. Heyjude says:

          Yes. A lot of herbs don’t like excessive hear, though the Mediterranean ones ought to cope. Do you have a cool spot anywhere?

        2. Ours isn’t a shady garden at all, except for under the citrus trees. I might try there next time. At the moment while we are enjoying glorious days in Canada, they are having a very cold snap at home. Only got to 5 degrees C yesterday. Brrrr.

        3. Heyjude says:

          Under the trees might be a good place. Or build a shade house 😀

  10. March Picker says:

    Your herbs are beautiful. Borage self seeds along my raspberries and I love its amazing contrast and furriness. I do snip flowers off and mercilessly chop almost all my herbs to keep them going longer, but it’s fun to see some of yours in bloom.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I don’t use many in cooking so happy to see them flower plus the bees like them.

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