The bulletin board has been very quiet over the past few weeks and I've been wondering if it's because we're all busy outside doing new and exciting things with our herbs or just plodding through all the tasks which are crying out to be done at this time of year!
I'm really interested to know what herbs people are growing this year and why. Is this based on past experience or a wish to discover something new or merely keeping on with what you know and love?
I took advantage of the Easter break from work to spend time in my Cotswold herb garden, sharing it with other Herb Society members and those who came to my workshop on Easter Saturday. Good Friday was spent planting out the order received from Poyntzfield herb nursery. I've lost so many plants over the winter, I had to restock with purple sage, white horehound, pink, blue and white hyssop, lemon verbena and two different lavenders. I've also expanded the wood betony bed and planted three new varieties of echincea - purpera, paradoxa and tenneseensis. I've also decided to experiment with some rock samphire and seakale, together with goldenseal and dyers woodruff.
Easter Sunday was spending digging and planting seeds. It was wonderful to rediscover the echinacea augustifolia and eight shoots of solomans seal!. I have been really ruthless this year and have ousted the majority of the motherwort, goats rue and masterwort selfseeded plants. Some have gone to visitors and friends and some will go to a medical herbalist to restock her garden, along with some valarian. At least now I shall have some room for the calendula bed and the black cohosh, weld, agrimony, wood betony, German Chamomile, Dyers chamomile, Viola heartsease, Sacred basil, Clary sage, Mullein and Thyme seedlings my mother is tending for me. (At least I hope they will turn into seedlings!)
Easter Monday I spent in my own garden at home, ousting the woody thyme plants and replacing with a selection of new varieties - lemon, orange, golden, variagated and broadleaf. I also took some patchouli and rosemary heel cuttings in the hope they will turn into new plants. I'm not sure how the new plant troughs and cuttings are faring since it seems to have been raining since I came back to work. Hopefully I shall find out over the weekend.
Yes, Sarah, I was disappointed and a bit bewildered that the Forum was getting fewer posts and views. It could be because it is such a late spring.
I have been keeping a diary, just general things, for many years. This year, I decided to occasionally add a thumbnail photograph using my new digital camera. On March 4th I have a picture of rosemary covered in snow. On March 12th there is a light covering of snow on a planter of crocuses in full bloom. On April 8th there was a very dramatic storm which lasted about half an hour, with a deep covering of hail stones. The soil hasnít warmed up enough to sow seeds and seedlings.
In 2000 I bought a quince tree Cydonia oblonga Vranja. I probably didnít plant it well--- the stake wasnít at an angle and may have damaged the roots. Every year the leaves have been dry, black spotted and then fallen off. I said to a friend, the year that I get a quince is the year that I die. This year the leaves look healthy and the terminal leaves looked like flower buds. They were tightly furled and white. They are now opening, but are leaves. I donít know whether to rejoice, but I am disappointed that it doesnít look like a quince year. Iím feeling rough, but not quite ready to die. The only difference is that I pulled out the fennel and the rue as according to Gardenersí Question Time these are toxic to neighbouring plants, but maybe the cold winter killed off the disease.
I have pulled out the thymes and origanum and added grit to the bed to make it more free draining. I havenít bought new plants yet, but maybe I will get some on a holiday trip. I over-wintered a lemon verbena in the conservatory and it was growing beautifully, then the white fly got it and killed it. Iíve planted it out, but I think Iíve lost it
The lovage and golden hops have appeared from nowhere. Iíve just had my first lovage and saffron kedgeree tonight. Delicious. I notice that the Dicentra spectabilis is in flower (Bleeding Heart). Is that a cheat? I saw it in John Ruskinís garden at Brantwood in the Hortus Inclusus, which is supposed to be British herbs. It is so pretty.
Sarah has given me some ideas. I fancy German chamomile. I have only tasted samphire once and thought it was wonderful. I wonder if it will grow inland. It tasted of the sea. Iíll let Sarah experiment with that. I always plant out some rocket seeds in a trough. It soon grows and is hardy and tasty.
Happy gardening, Audrey
April 24 2006, 5:14 PM
Spring is at least 4 weeks late here. Three weeks ago we had snow but now it's 18 to 20 į C and everything out there is playing catch-up. I think I've lost my old rosemary and a Spanish mint; otherwise most things seem have survived the coldest winter on record. The blackthorn is only now coming into blossom!
Having been abandoned for nearly 7 years, it's rather like having a new garden and I'm planting lots of herbs in among flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetables. My perennial vegetable bed will contain Welsh onions, tree onions, sorrel and comfrey; my wild garden will contain yarrow, burdock, scented violets, blue fenugreek, ramsons and tansy.
I've been planting lots of scented roses as I want enough to make pot pourri and rose wine; I grow German chamomile (said here to be the best chamomile for medicinal puroposes) and find it very easy to grow from seed. One of the few things to survive the abandonment is lemon balm, and I have lots of that and have had to weed a lot of it out - thereby making several gallons of lemon balm wine last summer.
Your quince sounds sick Audrey. Vranja is usually a good tree without problems. Mine is a Rondo and this will be its first year so I hope I'm luckier than you with it. Red and blackcurrants were already here and we've added five apple trees, three elders, a thornless blackberry, 2 tayberry, 2 josta, 2 blueberries, 3 cranberries (latter two plants in an acid bed), more rhubarb (there were two, now there are ten), 50 strawberries and 4 gooseberries. There are lots of chives everywhere, winter savory, tarragon, lovage, lavender, sweet cicely, tricolour and broad-leaved sage, orange, lemon and offic. thymes and I'm adding annuals and biennials such as summer savoury, calendula, nasturtiums, Indian mint (Satureja douglassii), chervil and parsley.
So - starting late but I will get this garden organised this year and be self-sufficient in herbs and fruit before too long.
is the forum of the Herb Society (UK), the place to discuss
all aspects of herbs including their uses, cultivation, history, legislation
and much more. Run by and for the Herb Society (UK) and open to anyone to read, but posts will only appear once approved by a moderator.
Please note that the Forum Host and Moderators reserve the right to delete
any entry which is considered to be inappropriate for this forum, its members and the
Herb Society as a whole. IP's of spammers will be blocked.
The Herb Society is not qualified to provide medicinal advice. Useful contacts for such advice can be found on our contacts page. Officers and Council Members of the Herb Society (UK) accept no liability for any harm, damage, or illness arising from the use of plants mentioned or described on this forum.