With the Spring Equinox now having just past in the last few days, and with Lincoln being bathed in beautiful warm sunlight, I’ve just taken the opportunity to step out into my little urban herb garden for the first time this year, and my word, what a wonderful afternoon!
This is probably the latest time that I’ve set to work on my garden in recent years, but with every ‘gardening day’ that I’d set aside in recent week being put paid to by rainy or very windy weather, it’s not been that easy to get out there and get my hands into the soil. But as always, the end result is always most pleasing, and as a herbalist, I feel that growing your own herbs bring such a great insight into the plants themselves, watching them develop, change and flourish as the months pass by.
Whilst only having a very small garden, it’s surprising how many different plants you can cram into such a small place, and still have room for a small patch of lawn too (as after all, what’s more enjoyable than spending time out in the garden on sunny days, enjoying the sights around you and listening to the birds singing).
After clearing and cutting away a plethora of brown leaves and tall stalks of last years growth, I always find it a great pleasure seeing what’s hiding and sprouting underneath it all. Especially as all the herbs that I grow, I also use medicinally in tincture or tea form, or both.
One of my favourite herbs that I both grow and use medicinally is Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort), is already over a foot high, with its broad fluffy leaves sprouting happily, as one of the tallest herbs that I grow, it’s always a great pleasure to watch this grow every year, as it reaches its peak of around 2 metres, with its gorgeous purple florets of tiny flowers that the bees flock to every year, working their way around each floret, spiralling up to the top of each stalk before buzzing across to the next stalk.
Salvia officinalis (Sage) is already growing wider and stronger than last year (it seems to grow wider by the year), and the delicate feathery stalks of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) and Angelica archangelica (Angelica) are making quite an impression already.
Some herbs, like Echinacea purpurea (Echinacea), Lovage, and Symphytum officinale (Comfrey) are only just starting to poke through the soil, but knowing what gorgeous herbs they develop into, it’s still quite exciting to see them starting to grow.
Sadly the harsh, intermittant coldness of last winter seems to have put paid to my Thymus vulgaris (Common Thyme), I’ve had to dig up the remnants of this completely and buy another plant, and there’s no sign of Borago officinalis (Borage) yet, but there’s still plenty of time for it to grow yet – if you’ve never grown Borage, it is a delight to have in the garden, with its unusual, delicate 5-leaved deep purple flowers.
So here’s to Spring, lengthening days (meaning I can garden later!), sunnier days and all the joys that growing your own herbs brings!
I’ll be posting more blogs here about my urban herb garden, the new herb garden that I’m creating within the garden at the Ch’ien Clinic and general herb gardening advice as the year progresses, and if you’re interested in creating your own herb garden, why not get in touch, as I can source many herbs and plants that aren’t available in your average garden centre.