Herbs in May

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HARVEST

So much going on at the moment! Plenty of Hawthorn blossom still around, and Elderflower now also in full bloom.

In the garden, leafy herbs like Mint, Sage, Oregano, and Lemon Balm are plentiful.

Chives have started flowering. The beautiful purple flowers make a gorgeous pink vinegar (simply infuse them in vinegar for a couple of weeks), and are also great added to salads, soups and other dishes. Thyme is also is blossom and the flowering stems are particularly nice in teas.

Also in flower are Valerian, Rose, Catnip, Common Mallow, Scented geraniums and Calendula. Chamomile buds are also starting to appear.

MAKE

Transform some of the springtime abundance into herbal treats to last all year around:

  • Make elderflower cordial or maybe get some elderflower wine going;

  • Make your own rose syrup;

  • Dry herbs to use in teas;

  • Make delicious oils by infusing pouring some into a jar with culinary herbs and letting it infuse for a few weeks.

IN THE GARDEN

You can start taking softwood cuttings of both shrubby herbs such as sage and lemon verbena, and herbaceous ones like mint and lemon balm.

If you haven’t yet, trim lavender plants, removing all of last year’s flower heads.

Keep an eye out for signs of pests and diseases. Early prevention is much easier than having to deal with an infestation later in the year.

Ensure plants, especially those growing in containers, are well watered. The best time for watering is either early in the morning or after sundown.

Visitors to the garden need water too. Deep dishes or bowls filled with water make a great bird bath, and will certainly be appreciated in these hot spring days.

SOW

May is a good time to sow almost any herbs you could think of. It's now warm enough for plants that need a little extra warmth to germinate, and it's not too late to start those that need a while to get established over the growing season.

Warmth-loving herbs like basil, rosemary, sage and thyme and are best sown indoors and transplanted when established, but others like coriander, dill, parsley, chives and spring onions can be sown directly into the ground or in containers outdoors.

Flowers like borage, sunflowers, nasturtiums, poppies, calendula and nigella can also be directly sown.

// Words Camila B //

Herbs in March

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March marks the beginning of a new growing season. It’s a very exciting and joyful time in a garden, with seeds germinating, new plantlets coming up all around, early buds turning into blossoms, bees starting to come out, and all that glorious early spring sunshine!

HARVEST

The early Spring herbs (nettles, chickweed, cleavers, plantain, dandelion greens, etc) are very abundant now, and most other plants have popped up as well. This is the perfect time to enjoy them in salads, when the young shoots are tender, fresh and full of energy.

Spring is barely here, but there are a lot of flowers out as well - Magnolias, Primroses, Calendulas, Dandelions, Daisies and Violets are only some of the wonderful edible and medicinal flowers out at the moment.

MAKE

Enjoy the gorgeous flowers of early Spring:

  • Pickle Magnolia blossoms;

  • Infuse Primrose flowers (either wild or garden varieties) into a lovely tea that has relaxing and pain-relieving properties;

  • Explore the many ways in which dandelion flowers can be consumed - Use the petals in teas, salads or baked goods. Pickle them, ferment them (into wine), or even fry them!

IN THE GARDEN

  • Give Lemon Verbenas a good pruning.

  • Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials.

  • Pot up container-grown plants.

  • Top dress your pots and herb plots with some fresh compost.

  • Keep on top of weeds that might be competing (for space, sunlight and nutrients) with herbaceous plants that have started coming up, like marjoram, valerian, marshmallow, etc

SOW

As spring arrives, so does the sowing season! Now it is the perfect time to be starting new plants. For a higher success rate, start your plants indoors and transplant them to in a month or two once the weather is warmer.

INNER GARDENING

As we begin a new cycle once again, it is a wonderful time to acknowledge the seasonal shift into Spring and, having probably spent a large part of Winter indoors, reconnect with nature. As the Spring tonics like cleavers and nettle come through, they remind us that Spring is a time of cleansing, cleaning out and renewal.

When drinking some cleansing nettle tea or cleaver infused water this month, perhaps you could think about what else could be cleansed that is no longer serving you. An app on your phone you could do without? A judgement you could let go of? Maybe 5 items of clothing that no longer ‘spark joy’ to make way for something new?

It’s also a wonderful time to watch out for signs of Spring... observe the daffodils as they begin to make way for the opening of bluebells, begin to look out for and smell the blossom all over our streets or notice the change in brightness of the sunlight.

// Words Camila B and Amy B//