Plan A Herb Garden
Installing a selection of herbs can transform your meals, save money, and have medicinal benefits. Transform a small patch of land in your backyard or balcony or go to town with a larger, impressive traditional herb garden in the form of a medieval knot. And if you don’t have a garden, you can still grow herbs in window boxes, patio pots or tubs by your front door. They’re easy to cultivate and look attractive, too.
Benefits of growing your own herbs
- Fresh flavours are always available to liven salads, pasta, pizzas and meats.
- Save money all year round – even small bags of herbs are expensive to buy fresh out of season.
- Improve the curb appeal of your home – a well-tended kitchen herb patch looks attractive (especially if you’re looking to sell your home)
- Homemade gifts are always available – lavender sachets, fresh posies or dried bouquet garni mixes.
- Relieve the stresses and strains of daily life – tending your home-grown herbs and inhaling their wonderful scent will both relax and revitalise you at the end of a long working day.
Lavender acts as a soothing, calming sedative to relax the mind, promote sleep and ward off headaches.
German chamomile flowers and leaves are used to make a medicinal tea that can improve indigestion, wind and promote a good night’s sleep. Soak cotton pads in cooled chamomile tea to bathe tired, strained eyes.
Lemon Balm was a popular remedy for stress in medieval times, when scholars facing exams chewed its leaves. Also helps indigestion, flatulence and anxiety.
Sage is one of the most versatile medicinal herbs. As well as making sage and onion stuffing, you can rub fresh sage leaves onto insect stings and bites, or make an infusion to gargle away a sore throat or ease menopausal hot flushes. Freezing sage leaves retains their medicinal benefits better than drying.
Mint is one of the most popular garden herbs, and is often grown in pots to curtail its invasive nature. Its leaves contain essential oils with antiseptic and painkilling properties, and it makes the most wonderful herbal tisane. It’s perfect for improving digestion – just add 1-tablespoon mint leaves to a cup of boiling water and infuse for 20 minutes before drinking.