June Newsletter 2007

Hello and welcome to the June newsletter.

The most exciting news is that our mail order site is finally up and running, and we have sent out some plants already. As well as plants you can also order some lovely herbal products which are handmade by three herbalist friends.

Double Flowering Feverfew

June has got to be one of my favourite months of the year. There is the bonus of the long daylight hours of course, but it is the month when everything really begins to flower. I can look out at my garden now and see the motherwort, feverfew and valerian just about to burst into bloom. The green sage has been in flower for a while and is still buzzing with bees. The catmint has finally managed to outgrow the onslaught of next doors cat and is also in flower, along with the heartsease, blackcurrant sage, vipers bugloss, jacobs ladder and nasturtiums. The red and white flowers on the runner beans are spectacular. We grow a dwarf variety called Hestia, which needs no staking, and is perfect for planting into a large container on the patio. This season they have been really popular and we have completely sold out now. I have to tell you that the plants aren’t the only thing to be blossoming on the nursery this season either. Zsuzsa, who takes all our cuttings and looks after everything at the weekends whilst we are away at shows, amongst other things, is five months pregnant and blooming.

Heartsease

Vipers Bugloss

Runner Beans

Last month we had a bit of a problem with thrips. They are tiny little flies that damage the plants, causing the leaves to turn brown and wither. Left unchecked they lay eggs, producing more and more flies. After getting a bit of professional advice we used a biological control. These were sachets containing tiny mites, too small to see with the naked eye but with a big appetite for thrips. It was a bit of a bind putting them all out as the ratio was a sachet to a square metre, and they had to be in the crop as the mites only have little legs and can’t travel huge distances. Touch wood, though, it seems to have worked so it was worth all the effort.

Banana Mint Tea

Last year we did a tea tasting session with all the mints and put the results in one of the newsletters. Since we have a new mint this year, banana mint, we gave it the same treatment one tea break. The general consensus from all who tried it, except Geoff who only seems to drink strong coffee, was a thumbs up. Although it gave no colour to the water whatsoever, the flavour was sweet and caramel and, dare I say it, with a hint of banana.

Zsuzsa has been busy making cordials. The Moroccan mint one was delicious. She had diluted some with water and then frozen it in a water bottle, so it was ice cold when I drank it. Really refreshing. The recipe will be at the end of the newsletter.

Moroccan Mint

I have another recipe this month, for borage. It comes from Noam’s friend, Carmen, and is a traditional Belgian soup as made by her mum.

I Think that’s it for this month. Have a great Midsummer and, as always, please feel free to email us with any comments and suggestions. Oh, and if anyone has a spare high top roof for a Volkswagen LT35D van hanging about, we would be interested in buying it, as it has been converted into an open top with the aid of a low bridge, by whom I cannot say!

Lorraine.

Zsuzsa's Moroccan Mint Cordial

1.5l Water
500g Sugar
1 Lemon - sliced
1 Orange - sliced
5 Handfuls Moroccan Mint

Bring the water, sugar and sliced fruit to the boil then leave to cool. Add the mint putting the lemon juice on to to help stop the mint from discolouring. Leave in a cool place for two days (NOT in the fridge!) then strain and bottle.

Carmen's Mother's Soup
(inspired by French Julliene) from Belgium

Serves 8 people and uses herbs such as Borage + Flowers, Chives, Curly Parsly, Bay & Thyme.

Ingredients:

3 carrots - chopped
2 leeks - chopped
1 cube of vegetable stock
1 potato - chopped
1 courgette - chopped
2 sticks of celery - chopped (optional)
4-5 sprigs of Chives
a few stems of Curly Parsely
10 leaves of Borage,
1-2 Bay leaves
1 sprig of Thyme
butter
sea salt
black pepper

Melt a little butter in a saucepan, add all the vegetables and the parsely and fry for a few minutes.
Add 2.5L of water. Blend the mixture adding the vegetable stock cube, a little salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil for a few minutes.
Add the Borage, Chives, Bay, Thyme.

Garnish with Flowers of Borage and serve.