July Newsletter 2006

July Newsletter 2006      

There has been plenty of sun here in Northwest Essex and everyone here at Herbal Haven are now sporting quite impressive tans. A holiday somewhere warm at the end of the season would be perfect for finishing off all the white bits. The weather has meant lots of watering and its well to remember, for those who have herbs in pots, that this should be done either in the morning before the sun gets too hot, in the evening when its cooler, or both. Water applied during the hot parts of the day will simply evaporate off before it is used by the plants. Any plants that are bought and put into the ground now should be watered daily (unless it rains) until it has established itself.

July is one of the best months in the herb garden. All the lavenders, thymes, hyssop, marjorams, sages, and mints are in flower or soon will be.

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Varigated Lemon Thyme

 

 

 

   

All of these are attractive to bees and butterflies and if you have fennel flowering in your garden’ I don’t need to tell you how much the hoverflies love it - all beneficial insects for your garden.

 

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Marjoram

 

 

As soon as the flowers have died on the thymes and the lavenders give them a good hard prune and they will put on a fresh flush of growth before the winter. Make sure you don’t cut back into the old wood though as they tend not to regenerate from this.

Basils should be growing with (gay?) abandon now and it is the perfect time for making lots of pesto. This can be put into small jars and placed in the freezer ready for use later in the year. Another good way to preserve your basil is to chop it finely and put into ice cube trays with a bit of water, these can then be dropped into sauces when needed.
 

Dyeing seems to be in vogue on the nursery this month.

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Zsuzsa has started experimenting with various plants on her old t-shirts and we have been quite impressed with the yellow produced from the dyers chamomile flowers. She tried with the leaves as well but this gave a cream colour rather than green.

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The woad didn’t do too well but there are many different recipes for this and I think it is just a case of choosing the right one. Not to be outdone, Claire has been experimenting with dyes too, and we were all rather surprised to see her emerge  one morning with bright pink hair.

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Whether this was to disguise a plant based one applied by Zsuzsa we have yet to establish……

I Think that is all for this month, it takes a lot of time and effort at the moment keeping all the herbs looking fresh for the shows as they are growing so fast. The fact that many of them are tall makes loading the vans more difficult too! Enough moaning….

Happy herbing,

Lorraine.
 

Recipe for Dyers Chamomile Flowers

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Gives a pleasing ‘summer’ yellow colour.
 

Pick the flowers in full bloom. Simmer in boiling water for half an hour. Remove flowers and soak material simmering for a futher 30-60 minutes (depending on the strength of colour required).

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Immerse in cold water and dry out of sunlight. We didn’t use any mordant to increase the colour. Dyers Chamomile is easy to use. You can even use dried flowers with equal success.