Herbs

Plant Now: Sage, Rosemary & Thyme


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Missing your fresh, summer annual herbs? No problem. Plant some winter-hardy perennial stalwarts instead. Thyme, sage and rosemary are all tough herbs that will survive the winter gloom. And they’re not only delicious sprinkled onto winter roast meats or as the star ingredient in recipes such as sage gnocchi (make your favourite parmesan gnocchi recipe and add copious amounts of chopped sage – yum!), they look fab in a vase too. And they’re medicinal!

The gorgeous bouquet immediately above (fourth from the top) features thyme, rosemary, lavender and Geraldton wax flower, among other flowers, but it’s the herbs that give it its delicious perfume. The second image from the top features sage and lavender, and the third photo has sprigs of rosemary. Pick herbs and mingle them with flowers for an aromatic display indoors.

Medicinally, thyme and sage are excellent herbs to have on hand for combating colds. Both have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help soothe sore throats. A simple herb tea can be drunk throughout the day or gargled with at the first sign of a sore throat. Infuse a handful of fresh sage and/or thyme leaves in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. (Note: sage should not be taken if pregnant or breast-feeding.)

Or make a thyme syrup.

  • Steep ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves in 300ml boiled water, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain out the leaves and add ¼ cup honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Store in the fridge and keep no longer than a week.
  • For children 1 year or older, give 1-2 teaspoons every 2-3 hours. Teens and adults can take 1-2 tablespoons at a time.

Growing thyme
Thyme likes a sunny spot in free-draining soil. It doesn’t like wet feet, so add pumice or horticultural grit to improve drainage if required. If planting in pots, use a potting mix that’s low in nutrients. Rich soil encourages softer growth and diminishes flavour. Plants in the garden also have low fertiliser requirements. Drought and cold hardy.

Growing sage
Sage likes full sun and a limey soil (add some lime to your soil if necessary) that’s on the dry side. Soil does not need to be highly fertile. This plant is drought and frost resistant.

Photo credit: Second photo from top is from Real Maine Weddings.

Plant now: Thyme


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Ever wanted to plant a thyme lawn? Get a load of these gorgeous examples to inspire you. Thyme flowers come in all shapes and sizes and the different species and their hybrids flower at different times. Which means you can achieve a patchwork effect, and extend the flowering season, by planting several different varieties. In the bottom four images, you can see just how different the flower heads of different species are.

In small gardens, thyme can be planted in between pavers, or even in pots. In large gardens, the world’s your oyster.

Plant in a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Add pumice or horticultural grit to your soil if necessary, because thyme won’t tolerate wet feet.

Read more about planting a thyme lawn here.

The second photo from the top is from Zest Your Garden; the third photo is from Lankford Associates Landscape Design.

Online Herbal Workshop


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Want to learn about herbs? Don’t know where to start? Take an online class.

Online Herbal Workshop – Do it in your own time.

Learn about herbs for STRESS and SLEEP; herbs for BEAUTY (how to make lip balms, creams, lotions); herbs for COMMON AILMENTS (make your own salves, tinctures, etc); and herbs for GREEN CLEANING. Learn more over on my sister website, Sweet Living HERE.

 

You’ll learn about:

  • Herbs for stress and sleep (which herbs work and which don’t)
  • Herbs for beauty (make your own face and body creams, oils, perfumes, etc)
  • Herbs for common ailments (make salves, tinctures, etc)
  • Herbs for cleaning (make your own natural cleaners)
  • Cooking with herbs (plus make herb mixes, and preserve your herbs)
  • How to grow and propagate your own herbs

Includes information on stevia (the ‘sugar herb’ to use in place of sugar) plus recipes using stevia.

You can learn more about my online herb course here

Learn all you need to know about herbs

 

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I’m offering my ONLINE HERB WORKSHOP again. And the good thing is, you can do it in your own time. There are no time pressures. No restraints. And you have total access to me throughout the course. You’ll learn:

  • Which herbs are best for stress, anxiety and sleep problems (and which don’t work at all)
  • How to make your own natural herbal beauty products, cleaning products and perfumes.
  • The effect of cooking with herbs – and what vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are lost during cooking.
  • How to grow, propagate, harvest and preserve your own herbs.
  • How to grow herbs for flowers

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COURSE HERE

What people have said about the course:

Hi Jane!

I had to drop a line and tell you how much I love this magazine!  It’s the most beautiful and inspiring read I’ve had for a while! The content is very high standard and the recipes!…can’t wait to try those magnificent cakes! Thanks as well for the first module of the Herb Course – I’m just going through it again and revising now – so well written and referenced – what a great way to start learning – fabulous value!
– Poppy

I thoroughly enjoyed Module 4 and can see I will this one too. Thank you so much for making these available online.
– Bev

Module 6 is brilliant! Very informative and helpful – and the table of 25 Herbs to Propagate is just what I’ve been looking for. I’ve started planning a herb collection so this is so useful in terms of choosing what I’ll be planting. I also never thought of planting cumin or cardamom, but I will now, as I use those spices all the time! Keep up the great work, Jane – and thanks again!
– P

I’m really enjoying the modules. They’re really interesting and easy to read.
– Stef

There are six modules to this course, and one module is sent once a week. But you do not have to complete the module in a week. You can read it any time you like. If you don’t want to read it until next year, that’s fine!

Curious?

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COURSE HERE

Plant Now: Borage


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Borage (Borago officinalis) seeds can still be sown for their small intense blue flowers. Bees go potty for the flowers, so keep it close to plants that need pollinating. Sow seeds directly in the ground, in sun or part shade.

Borage is great for the vase – a star on its own or for setting off the other flowers.

Image from Valdirose blog.

Online herb workshop


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Love herbs? Expand your herbal knowledge. Learn about herbs for culinary, medicinal and cosmetic purposes. 

After I launched my herb lecture series earlier this year, I’ve had numerous folk from around the country and overseas asking for an online herbal workshop.

So… here it is!

Online herb workshop

You’ll learn about:

  • Herbs for stress and sleep (which herbs work and which don’t – read about herbs and sleep here)
  • Herbs for beauty (make your own face and body creams, oils, perfumes, etc)
  • Herbs for common ailments (make salves, tinctures, etc)
  • Herbs for cleaning (make your own natural cleaners)
  • Cooking with herbs (plus make herb mixes, and preserve your herbs)
  • How to grow and propagate your own herbs

Includes information on stevia (the ‘sugar herb’ to use in place of sugar) plus recipes using stevia.

The details

This is a 6-week online herb workshop. But here’s the thing. You can do it at your own pace at any time – you don’t have to complete it within the 6 weeks. And don’t worry. There’s no exam. It’s just a whole lot of darn fine information on everything herbal.

Who am I?

I am Editor of Sweet Living magazine; Editor of HerbNews (the quarterly magazine for the NZ Herb Federation); Herb columnist for NZ Gardener magazine; and Weekly gardening columnist for Waikato Times, Southland Times, Manawatu Standard, Taranaki Daily News, Nelson Mail, Marlborough Express and Timaru Herald. And I frequently give talks and run workshops across the country.

Do you want in?

 

Read more here 

 

Plant Now: Chamomile


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Who’s for a chamomile tea? Yes? You’re in good company, because chamomile is one of the most popular medicinal herbs worldwide. It’s well known for its gentle healing properties; our ancestors used it to treat everything from fevers and feebleness to headaches and humbugs. In between they employed chamomile’s curative properties for colds, menstrual cramps, mild infections, digestive disorders, liver and gallbladder complaints, and inflammation of the skin.

Chamomile has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, but it’s best known for its use as a mild sedative. For frazzled nerves, a cup of chamomile tea is just the thing.

The flowers are pretty too. They look equally lovely in a modern garden as they do a cottage garden. Mine are positioned in my white garden at the front of the house (a cottage) by the picket fence (white). Yep, I’m a bit cliche like that.

If you’re planting chamomile (German chamomile, Matricaria recutita – an annual) this season, position it in full sun in well-drained soil. And then you can snip off the flowerheads and dry them to make your own chamomile tea.

Come hear me talk about herbs


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Do you want to learn how to make your own herbal face creams and lotions, or perfumes? Do you want to make your own simple herbal remedies for health problems? Do you want recipes for using stevia, the sugar herb (use it in place of sugar)? Want to make your own natural cleaners?

Come listen to me speak! 

Learn how to grow herbs year round for culinarymedicinal and cosmetic purposes. Whether you have a large garden or a tiny potted one, find out how simple it is to grow herbs year round.

All attendants receive a FREE handout with food recipes, recipes for cleaning solutions, DIY perfumes, and herbal creams and lotions.

Click here for more information and to book your space

Herbs in bouquets


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Don’t you love herbs in bouquets? Aside from the pretty flowers and textured foliage, the scent they emit is scrumdiddlyumptious (now there’s a grand word). The wedding bouquet above features rosemary and sage leaves (yummy fragrance), hypericum berries (from the St John’s wort plant) and a white lily of sorts. I can imagine prancing down the aisle with this, leaving a delicious scent in my wake.

Then there’s lavender. What can you say about lavender? It’s divine. Plant it in the garden, pick it for the vase and use it in cooking. Try lavender scones. Then serve a fresh pot of mint tea to go with them.

More on how to grow lavender

 

Winter herb bouquet


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While traditional flowery things are fairly scarce during winter, perennial herbs and early narcissus are there for the picking. Bay, rosemary, parsley, sage and wispy dill (although the latter is an annual) make up this aromatic bouquet, as well as sweetly scented narcissus. These are paperwhites, but you can use Erlicheer, which are in full bloom now. Check out that natural ‘bracelet’ too. See more photos of this lovely fresh-smelling bouquet over at Design Sponge.