Archive for the 'Herbs' Category

03
Oct
07

Purple Mallows

malve2.JPG

As they were suffering from fungus (is there such a fungus as rust in English?)

I had to cut down the mallows in early summer only to find them flourishing right now. Hopefully the seeds will ripen so that I’ll have some new ones next year.

 

The dried flowers are supposed to be good against colds and coughs when used as herbal tea, though I usually dry them for decoration. For this I simply leave the petals in a large bowl on my window sill (south side, of course) so that after a few days they are as brittle as paper. Together with dried rose petals they look really good in glass bowls, and if you sprinkle some scented oil on them every once in a while, they help to overcome the long, dreary winter by reminding you of the promises the rest of the year has in store ….

 

10
Aug
07

Lavender

Lavender is one of my favorite plants. The blossoms smell deliciously, attracting bees and butterflies throughout the summer. Thus it fills gaps between roses and other bright flowers, underlining their beauty. Even in winter the silvery leaves of the small bushes enlighten the otherwise drab and dull garden. The essential oils it contains are said to keep aphids off roses, however the aphids in my garden unfortunately don’t believe in this tale. To keep those little (plant) bloodsuckers under control, I have to rely on ladybirds.

Lavender needs to be cut regularly, otherwise only the bare wooden branches will remain with hardly any flowers. Usually I cut the plants twice a year, first in early spring when there is no danger of hard frosts anymore, and second in midsummer, after the first bloom has worn off. To encourage fresh growth, I cut as far into the wood as possible, however there should always be at least one fresh bud. If you cut too deeply, the branch may die off, which can eventually lead to the end of the complete plant. In order to grow fresh plants, I simply stick the cut-off stubs into a bit of moist soil and forget about them until they have grown roots. If the weather is not too dry, about half of these cutlings make it. Actually I enjoy pruning lavender. The scent sticks on hands and arms for quite some time, and you don’t really want to lose it by taking a shower ….

In fact, there is another — easy — way of saving some of the scent for all the long lavenderless months: drying. For this I cut the buds (late morning is the best time), bind them together, hang them up and let them dry in an airy place. These can be used in dried flowers bouquets, for decorating greeting cards or presents or for little lavender pillows that are placed in the wardrobe to give a fresh scent to your clothes.