Don’t make tea from this Chamomile! Anthemis tinctoriais a traditional dye plant. If you want to get more from your garden than just a bunch of cheerful flowers, check out this article on planning a dye garden.
Even while on holidays it seems I am surrounded by herbs ! This Fennel is growing wild along the edge of small harbor called Deep Bay on the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island. While sipping coffee on the dock a local sports fisherman told me that there is an excellent Coho Salmon run this year. Luckily they have lots of Fennel for seasoning that delicious fresh salmon close at hand !
If you were thinking of visiting Hazelwood Herb Farm this summer, this week would be the time to do it ! The Thymes, Lavenders, Bee Balm and many other plants are in full bloom.
Bees are everywhere and the Mulberry tree is full of birds feasting on the ripening fruit. The farm is open from 11AM – 5PM and admission to the garden is FREE.
It is too bad that WordPress doesn’t have an olfactory technology widget….. yet, because if I could send the soft fresh cool calming minty aroma of Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii) through the internet to you, I think you would really enjoy it ! The smallest member of the mint family, Corsican Mint makes an excellent aromatic ground cover and is also used as an insect repelling companion plant for brassicas ( broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.)
For more information on the current status of sending scents digitally check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_scent_technology#Today.
This is a new plant we are growing this season and so far it seems to enjoy living on Southern Vancouver Island. A common plant in the Swiss Alps Sweet Treefoil ( Trigonella caerulea ) is another nitrogen fixing member of the Fabaceae (Pea) plant family. This week I found another amazing on-line database, this time on spice plants and uses. One strength of the Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages is he has indexed the information in several different ways. A “regular” index in English and German, but also the spices are indexed by Spice Mixtures they are used in, Geographic location they are grown in, a Botanical index, and a Morphological index which sorts the plants by the part used in cooking. Best of all there is an index of herbs and spices listed in several different foreign languages. This would of been very useful for me last week when I was trying to help a Turkish couple purchase herb plants, but they only new the plant names in Turkish !
Monarda sp. plants go by the common names Bee Balm, Oswego Tea or Bergamot and they are often used as ingredients in herbal teas. Many people think it is the flavoring used in Earl Grey Tea, but it is not. The popular black tea blend Earl Grey also uses an ingredient called Bergamot but it comes from a completely different plant the Bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia). Bergamot orange oil is also used in many aromatherapy and cosmetic products. ( ref. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4883068.stm )
To explore this subject further check out http://kitchencounterculture121.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/teas/