Sunday, 4 February 2007

A sensory experience.

Amongst the herbs I grow are sage, lemon verbena, fennel, marjoram, several of the mint family, chives, artemisia, thymes, hyssop and tansy. Each year I like to add new ones to our collection. Sage is one of my favourite herbs and I have grown several different varieties including the purple, golden and an unusual pineapple flavour. They are an excellent addition to various dishes in cooking and also when making stuffing for game-birds. It is such an attractive-looking plant in itself, with its textural foliage, and need not be confined to the herb bed.

Another which I like to see growing around the garden in general, as well as in the herb beds, is the yellow-flowered fragrant fennel, both the golden and the bronze varieties. I love its habit and the ferny foliage marries well among the cottage garden plants. It has a look of filigree when the morning dew is on it and I like the way it moves in the breeze.

Mints are great fun too. I grow eau-de-cologne mint, which echoes its name, and is great in pot-pourri. For refreshing teas I like the varieties of apple, spearmint and peppermint. These all have a delicious flavour, hot or cold, and are aids to digestion. In Summer we enjoy sitting in the garden, having a glass of mint tea with our friends.
Dark-spiked rosemary and myrrh,
Lean-stalked purple lavender,
Hides within her bosom too,
All her sorrows, bitter rue.

Walter De La Mare

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