Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Sometimes, a nap is the only answer

This is Myrtle, our little cat. Her hobbies include 'helping' us with the herb garden, plus catching mice, birds and frogs. Here she is, taking a break from the dizzy whirl of catdom with a nice nap. Today's so cold, wet, and miserable I rather feel like joining her.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Seeds, plans and mainlining rosemary tea

One of the (many) things I love about herbs is that they are so easy to get free plants from. Half the time you don’t need to do any work - they’ve done it for you.
Evening primrose, borage, alchemilla mollis and marigolds all self seed like mad so most of the work is making sure you can pot them on before they get too big and get grumpy about being transplanted.
Borage, especially, seems to get the hump if you let it get a hold then go and dig it up. It’s best to get it while it’s just putting out its first, bristly leaves, about the size of your thumb. Dig it up and pot it on, give it plenty of water and it will soon romp away.
We’ve left it far too late to do any potting on of the white borage in this border but they are just so pretty when they flower that I can‘t say I mind too much. You can see what I mean about the self-seeding, though (at least, you can if the picture's uploaded properly).
We had flowers on ours in October last year, so you never know. At least the weeds don’t get a chance to get a look-in and if they don’t bloom we will just make a liquid feed out of them.
Elsewhere in the garden, it’s all about harvesting seeds and renovating. I’m fed up with the way our garden looks - it’s too staid, too flat. Need more levels, or focus, or…something. Pity that I'm utterly rubbish at garden design. Hey ho. I’ll have a think. Or leaf through lots of books and steal ideas, more like.
Seeds from our once-stately angelica plant have been harvested and are being dried. Felt guilty about not leaving any for the birds - they love them - so bought a fat feeder to make up for it. Richard’s planning to make candied angelica from the stems. Hmm. Let’s hope it fares better than his yarrow beer, which exploded in the kitchen last year. The place smelled like Everard’s Brewery for a month.
I’m keen to try root cuttings for sweet cicely, it will be interesting to see if they do better than the seeds which I’ve just collected.
Right, back to work. Have taken to drinking shedloads of rosemary tea with honey. It works a treat. Better than pro-plus, I can tell you.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Back to School

September’s here and it is back to school. I’m back studying - and this time (unlike during my teenage years) I’m actually enjoying it. And not just because it’s a fabulous excuse to indulge my borderline obsessive love of stationery, whatever the other half says.
I’m halfway through the RHS Level 2 qualification which has been fascinating. I'm still a confirmed herbophile (if that's a word) but it's been a treat learning new stuff and reading so many inspiring books and learning different ways of doing things, being able to visit a garden and pick out what works and what doesn't, and why.
Now I’ve also just received the first part of my herb course with the Horticultural Correspondence College. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to get started! Am slightly concerned about fitting in two courses, coming up with herbal soaps for our Christmas markets and sowing for next year’s herbs, though. Perhaps I should cheer myself up with some snazzy notebooks....


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