Herbal Haven Newsletter June 2011

Welcome to the Herbal Haven June newsletter.

It has finally rained here in the Southeast. Yesterday Sunday, it poured over most of the country and though it was particularly miserable standing behind a stall during the downfall, it is still very much welcomed as the ground badly needed some moisture. Watering Zsuzsa’s allotment by watering can whilst she went away on holiday makes you appreciate how dry the ground is. Luckily for us at Herbal Haven all her strawberries ripened during her absence and needed eating.

In the previous newsletter I mentioned we had grown herbs for the Urban Physic Garden – a community project in London. The plants looked great, they had grown really well and we delivered them during the last week of May. The gardens grand opening was the first week of June. There are some great photos at http://londonist.com/2011/06/urban-physic-garden.php or you can log onto their own website at www.physicgarden.org.uk. We got Tony to take a few photos before they left the nursery.

jacobs ladder

salad burnet

foxglove

The sales have of bay have been high this year due to the very cold winter finishing off many plants – mine included. At the beginning of April I took all the old soil from the top of the pot my bay grows in and replaced it with fresh compost and fertiliser as well as chopping the tree right back. It looked very sad indeed. It was very exciting in May though when two shoots started sprouting from the bottom – it might take a while before there is enough for me to use though. Similarly, the myrtle which is growing in the ground was also decimated and I simply left that to its own devices. It is sprouting madly from the bottom now and I have been able to begin using it again. Plants are such amazing things.

 

 

myrtle

We have been growing lady’s mantle (alchemilla vulgaris) for a while, but I only recently realised I hadn’t put it on the our website. Lady’s Mantle (frauenmantle) was given its common name by a German botanist in the sixteenth century. The scalloped edges of the leaves were supposed to resemble a mantle. Alchemilla comes from the Arabic ‘alkemelych’ (alchemy) due to the beads of water collected in the leaves which were thought to be the purest form of water and were used in a quest to turn base metal into gold. Lady’s mantle is a low growing ground cover plant with soft hairy scalloped leaves and clusters of small yellow flowers. As a medicinal herb it is used in the treatment of excessive menstruation and its astringent nature makes it a good herb in the past for drying up sores and helping stem bleeding. It is an excellent herb for softening path edges and for the front of borders and it self seeds quite readily.

 

My sister, a keen cook stayed with me recently and made a very simple tasty aubergine dish. She picked from the garden winter savory, rosemary, sage, orange thyme, oregano and parsley and chopped them up really finely. She then added them to some olive oil, around about four tablespoons and left it to marinate for an hour. The aubergine was sliced into rounds about a centimetre wide and laid them on a silver foil lined grill pan. She took about a teaspoon of the oil mixture and put it on each slice spreading it around the slice with the back of the spoon. She then grilled them until just tinged brown before turning them over and doing the same with the oil but then topping with cheese before grilling again. They were fab.

 

Think that is all for this month. Enjoy the long daylight hours.

Lorraine.