Sunday’s Secret Garden Club afternoon explored the world of herbs and medicinal plants. We looked at how herbs have been used both for culinary and remedial purposes, what herbs can be successfully grown, both indoors and outdoors, how to raise them, harvest them and store them. We also gave a brief historical overview of the use of herbs through the centuries and we were particularly lucky to have Natasha McEnroe, the director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, on hand to give a short talk on the contents of Miss Nightingale’s Medicine Chest, which contained the remedies, mainly herbal which she took to the Crimea with her and which now resides in the Florence Nightingale Museum itself.
- Buckfast Abbey in Devon
- Norton Priory near Runcorn
- Gloucester Cathedral
- Dwarf comfrey
- French marjoram
- French tarragon
- Golden thyme
- Japanese parsley
- Lemon balm
- Moroccan mint
- Oregano, also Golden Oregano
- Parsley, both flat-leaved and curly
- Pineapple mint
- Rosemary, both Rosemary ‘Gorzia’ and ‘Miss Jessopps Upright’
- Harvest herbs by cutting little and often. Don’t cut the plant right back to a bare stem, or it won’t recover.
- Harvest before the herb flowers – the leaves will be less flavoursome after the plant has flowered.
- Always cut the leaves rather than pulling at them – you may weaken the plant.
- The best time of day to harvest herbs is the late morning – the dew will have dried off the leaves and the sun (hopefully there will be sun) will have warmed them enough to intensify the flavour of the volatile oils, but not enough to dry them out.
- If your herbs do flower, let them go on to set seed, which you can then save for the next year.
As I missed the actual workshop, great to read the notes! Wouldn't it be fantastic to recreate the hanging gardens of Babylon…
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