Salad burnet

The dainty unusual flower of salad burnet

The unusual flowers of this cucumber flavoured herb.

At this time of year salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) is thriving in the garden. It is a useful small salad herb that although not well known or often used today, was highly regarded by many early herbalists and housewives. One writer suggested that “the leaves stripped into wine and droken, doth comfort and rejoice thee hart and are good against the trembling and the shaking of the same”, while another claimed that it was “a capital wound herb for all sorts of wounds both inward and outward”. King Chaba of Hungary was supposed to have cured the wounds of 15,000 of his soldiers by the application of the juice of burnet. Thought to have originated in the Mediterranean, salad burnet is now naturalised over much of southern England and in parts of the USA although it is only seen in gardens in Australia. It is a perennial that grows in an attractive fountain-shaped clump. This growth habit makes it a perfect candidate for a border to edge a flower or vegie bed, it also looks attractive when grown in groups of three of more to form a larger dense clump. Gardeners in Tudor times used it to edge knot gardens and Francis Bacon recommended that it should be grown along pathways with wild thyme and water mint “to perfume the air most delightfully, being trodden on and crushed”. Read more

Coriander, Plant it in Autumn

Herb coriander

A fine leafed form of coriander

Coriander, also known as cilantro and Chinese parsley, is one of the most ancient herbs still in use today. It is also claimed by some to be the world’s most widely used herb. Whether this is true or not, coriander leaves and seeds are essential to the cuisine of central and southern America, South-East and northern Asia as well as India and the Middle East.
History
Coriander comes originally from southern Europe where the seeds have been used for centuries, but the leaves were not usually used. Coriander seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating from more than 3000 years ago. The Egyptians cultivated coriander in their gardens and offered it at funeral ceremonies. It was used by Hippocrates and other Greek physicians as early as the fifth century B. C., while the Chinese considered that coriander had the ability to bestow immortality. This plant has the distinction of being one of the few herbs mentioned in the Old Testament Num. 11:7
“Now the manna was like coriander seed.”
The botanical and common name, coriander, comes from the Greek word koris which means ‘bug’. This presumably relates to the fact that the smell and flavour of coriander has been unfavourably compared with that of stink bugs. Read more

Garlic, plant it now!

Freshly harvested hard neck garlic 'New Zealand Purple'

Garlic 'New Zealand Purple' is a more cold tolerant variety

Now is the time to plant garlic. Don’ t wait until the shortest day as this is generally too late. Anytime from now until the end of May is fine.
I am planting some early garlic now, and in another month some of my home-grown from last year and a month after that some more. I want to make sure that I have my own fresh garlic available all year round.

Why grow your own?
β€” We are all used to the idea that tomatoes eaten straight from the garden taste so much better than the supermarket variety. Well the same is true for garlic.
β€” Garlic is easy to grow and takes up very little space.
β€” All imported garlic is sprayed with methyl bromide when it comes into Australia, not only does methyl bromide deplete ozone, but it is also harmful to humans. As well as this, much of our imported garlic comes from China where pesticides are routinely used, and only 5% of vegetables imported from China are checked for chemical residue. Read more

  • All words and images © Copyright Penny Woodward 2017.
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