Sunday, 28 March 2010

Four days to go...

Our debut at Leicester farmers' market is looming. We are there on Thursday, April 1 and then again on the first Thursday in each month.
Sian is frantically sewing our latest invention - sleep pillows for children in the shape of hares. Hoppy and Lavender we are calling them. Guess what's in them?
They smell fantastic.
Hopefully, they will go down very well for Easter. That's them.

Myrtle - that's our cat - has been helping us pot on plants, in her own way. She has also been eating anything she can catch in the garden. So far, that means a couple of very early red admirals and some spiders.
With luck, we can teach her to distinguish useful invertebrates from bad and chooses her diet accordingly.
Here she is, taking a rest from her frantic exertions.

The plants have shot up. It's amazing how quickly we have gone from seedlings to decent-sized pot herbs. We also have a great many more plants coming along nicely in our bedroom converted into indoor nursery. Dill is coming along nicely, stevia, cardoon, hyssop, weld and selfheal are doing well and we are already drowning in sorrel. Woad is showing in the outdoor seed beds as well.
Lastly, here's a recipe from Sophie Grigson for lovage soup:
Ingredients: 1 chopped onion, 4 large carrots, 2 large potatoes, 4 garlic cloves, 4 tbsp chopped lovage leaf, 1 tomato, zest and juice of half a lemon, 30g butter, 1.25 litres of stock. Sweat onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic and lovage in a pan and sweat for 15 - 20 minutes. Add stock and tomato. Season. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Liquidize. Add lemon juice. (Sophie Grigson's Herbs, BBC, 1999). Buy the book. It's excellent.
Lovage is one of those herbs you should probably avoid if you are pregnant.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spring has arrived in our garden. Signs of life everywhere, even though the witchhazel is only now attempting to flower.

The mints are coming back, yarrow is springing up everywhere, the cat is getting very excited about all the insect life.

Surprisingly encouraging signs indoors as well, where half a dozen mandrake shoots have appeared in the past couple of days. It is the first time we have tried to grow mandrake and all the advice was that it was very tricky to get to germinate from seed. It is going to be very interesting to see how the plants develop.

All this sudden growth is very handy as our debut at Leicester farmers' market is coming up soon. I might yet have need of the following recipe found on the internet (I'm afraid I don't have the source to attribute it - if it's yours, please let me know and I will give credit):

Tea for nervous tension:

1.3oz St John's wort
1oz lemon balm
1oz valerian

Mix. Use a teaspoon per cup and steep for 10 minutes. Good for insomnia, too, it claims.

Monday, 15 March 2010

A day out at Launde Abbey

We made our first visit to Launde Abbey as volunteers gardeners today. We are creating a herb garden there using typical Victorian plants, although today was more about sizing up the scale of the exercise (considerable) and putting in a few basic planst such as mint, rosemary and thyme.

Pictures posted when I have had time to upload them.

They are looking for more volunteers to help out while the gardener is on long-term sick leave - and there is plenty of garden to look after. So anyone interested should get in touch with Launde Abbey directly.

It is a fantastic setting and it is going to be great fun to pop over, add plants and create a herb garden on a scale that is simply not available anywhere else.

If you are there for a retreat or one of their open days, please go and have a look at our work. But maybe not yet - there is a long way to go before it starts to look like a proper hareb garden.

Monday, 8 March 2010


Welcome to Cooks Lane Herbs' blog. We are a small herb nursery in Wigston, Leicestershire, set up by Sian and Richard in 2009, growing a wide range of herbs, including some unusual and historic varieties.

We sell at farmers markets, fairs and events across Leicestershire and Rutland.

We also produce a range of lovely things with our surplus, including soaps using chamomile and calendula (marigold) flowers, lavender bags and lavender and hop sleep pillows.

On this page, we will be keeping you up to date with what we are up to and, hopefully, sharing our fascination with all things herbal. Look out for recipes, traditional remedies (though we make no guarantees that they work!) and historical snippets of herb lore, such as this one from Culpepper about burnet (common or great - Sanguisorba officinalis):

Two or three of the stalks with leaves put into a cup of wine, especially claret, are known to quicken the spirits, refresh and clear the heart and drive away melancholy. (Culpepper, 1653)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...