May Newsletter 2009

Hi and welcome to the May Newsletter.

Bit late this month, so apologies, but it’s the busiest time of the year for us.

Our new team at the nursery are settling in well and working hard. They have kept us entertained over the last few weeks with their escapades. Helard has ignored the orange fuel light on his dash board, convinced the needle had further to fall and was surprised a mile before he reached the third petrol station on his journey home when he ground to a halt on a hill. He cancelled the breakdown recovery when he realized it might be a whole lot quicker to just walk. Tony has been having problems with Angelina Jolie who, he insists, is stalking him and turning up at all the shows he attends. We have been smiling kindly at him. Stu has taken to throwing the herbs off the top shelf of his van with his erratic driving. He claims it is the suspension that isn’t very good but he is the only person who has had trouble with that particular vehicle. Claire has taken to driving over at least one tray of herbs a week – not being content with ramming posts in Tesco’s.


It has been a lovely spring so far, such a change from last year when it seemed to rain every weekend. The herbs are lapping it up; Zsuzsa has to spend lots of time on the end of a watering lance. We haven’t got an automatic watering system – yet. It is something we need to investigate as watering by hand can take up to four hours a day. The problem we have is water pressure, or lack of it. We are right on the end of the line and sometimes the pressure can be very low. (need a pump? - ed) There is a large barn on sight and the plan would be to catch the run off in tanks and then pump it up to the nursery area. In the summer the tanks could be filled by the mains supply. The good thing about hand watering is that it forces you to look closely at the plants every day so potential problems are quickly spotted. I think there is always the temptation with an automated system to get on with other work instead of inspecting the herbs especially when we are really busy.


This is the month when sage ( salvia officinalis ) starts coming into flower, particularly the green variety. Those of you with big old woody sages in your garden will know that, for the winter months, it looks absolutely awful – practically dead until it warms up in spring, when it sends up loads of leaves and then flowers. A flourishing sage is supposed to indicate a strong woman ruling the home. Common sage is a warm and strong flavoured herb, which tastes much better fresh than dried. It is traditionally used with fatty meats, as in sage and onion stuffing or saltimbocca as it aids digestion and soothes the stomach. Internally it can be used to ease indigestion, wind and anxiety. It makes a quite pleasant tasting tea using three or four leaves to a cup of boiling water, cooled, this can also be used as a gargle for sore throats. I have read that the medicinal properties of purple sage are more highly regarded than the common green variety. Taken in excess or for prolonged periods sage can be toxic.

Sage Tea

Think that’s going to be all for May – enjoy the early summer sunshine and your garden.