Tisane anyone?


Lemon balm has a delicious sweet lemon flavour.

Tisanes or herb teas have been in vogue in southern Europe since Roman times. The fictional detective Hercule Poirot often needed  a tisane after a particularly trying day. Today herb teas are increasing in popularity with the recognition of the harmful effects of too much coffee and ordinary tea. But aren’t herb teas expensive and don’t they taste awful? Not true! Especially if you grow your own, and can experiment with different combinations. Fresh or freshly dried leaves and flowers taste much better than the often musty plant material of questionable content and origin found in shops. Recent research by New York City high school students using simple DNA techniques, found that several herbal teas contain ingredients not listed on the pack. So if you grow and use your own, at least you can be certain about what you are drinking. Read more

Growing tough herbs

By Penny Woodward

Bee and thyme

Bees love thymes including Lemon thyme, Thymus citriodorus.

As global warming bites, water becomes more precious and the heat increases it would be easy to just stop gardening. But I think it is even more important now that we grow as much of our own food and medicine as possible. Herbs are an integral part of this.  Herbs are used to control pests, to provide essential vitamins and minerals, to give flavour to food and to enhance the quality of our lives by adding perfume and pleasure. They can be beautiful as well as practical. My current strategy is to grow the essential but more water hungry herbs in pots near the kitchen, or in the vegetable garden. This gives me only a couple of spots that need regular water. The other tougher herbs go out in the general garden and rely on rainfall with the occasional top up with tank water. Read more

Cretan thyme

By Penny Woodward

Pink flowered ground cover thyme

Cretan thyme

Cretan thyme (Thymus longicaulis subsp. chaubardii) and other ground cover thymes will grow from sub-tropical to cold temperate regions. They need full sun and very well drained soil. Ground cover thymes are very useful to cover bare patches, while providing little competition for nearby plants. They are also wonderful for attracting bees, so plant them near fruit trees and vegetables that need bees for pollination. Read more

  • All words and images © Copyright Penny Woodward 2018.
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