Saturday, 3 February 2007

A soupcon of flavour.

There’s nothing worse than traipsing through a muddy garden on a wet day to gather some herbs. Bearing this in mind, two of the first areas I planted up were the herb beds, one in close proximity to the back door and kitchen for ease of access, the other in a sheltered area along a paved path. Since herbs are mostly pale in colour I have planted a variety of allium bulbs in one of the beds, and, from time to time, Scotch marigolds or pretty violas in the other one.

Herbs are not only pretty to look at. Their individual smells are mouth-watering, and cooking with them adds that extra flavour and piquancy that makes all the difference to an otherwise mundane dish. When dried, they make excellent pot-pourri, and can be filled in little bags to perfume rooms, as well as wardrobes and clothes’ drawers.

In the herb bed originally, but now growing as specimen plants throughout the garden, are tall angelicas, which add an architectural dimension to the garden. Their stems can be dried and used in cake decoration. After flowering, they have a superabundance of seeds, which I store in little brown envelopes to distribute to family and friends.
Speak not, whisper not,
Here bloweth thyme and bergamot.
Softly on the evening hour,
All their secret spices shower.
Walter De La Mare.

No comments: