Nurtured from seed to teapot
We use different propagation methods to raise our herbs, mainly sowing seeds and taking cuttings in spring and dividing established plants in the winter. We allow plants to self-seed and grow themselves whilst also collecting seeds to pass on to other growers. Over the years we have collected quite a wide variety of both common and lesser known herbs. We are always on the look out for interesting varieties to extend our stock and like all garden enthusiasts, we love to experiment with rare and unusual plants. Our herbs grow in a mix of pots, raised beds and wooden planters and are nurtured with natural fertilizers made of nettle and comfrey.
We try to always harvest herbs in the morning when they are at their best and avoid harvesting anything when its rainy. We take care to harvest without damaging the plants and aim to never take more than one third of the aerial (top) growth so it can keep growing. With flowers, the more you pick, the more the plant makes so we keep picking whilst also leaving some for wildlife to enjoy. We allow wild herbs to grow abundantly at our sites and also forage for wild plants such as elderflowers and nettle in the surrounding area.
We use a range of methods for drying out the herbs depending on the part of the plant harvested. Flowers (eg. marigolds, chamomile and rose petals) are laid out on well ventilated drying racks lined with breathable fabric whilst bunches of herbs (eg. mint, lemon balm and rosemary) are bundled up with string and hung up. Herbs are covered with muslin fabric to protect them and are always dried away from direct sunlight. Depending on the season herbs are left for one to two weeks to dry out before blending.
Once the herbs have been fully dried they are stored in paper bags, jars and sealed containers ready to be blended. Before blending we cut or crumble large leaves and remove any large woody stems. To make up the blends we do a series of tastings to try out different ratios of herbs as some have stronger flavours then others. For our blends we consider not only the flavours of combined herbs but also the actions that they have. We have a set of tried and tested mixes but we are forever experimenting with new herbs to create a wider catalogue of blends.