Lovely Lemon Verbena

Herbal tea is really popular in Germany, but there is one sort I will not buy from a store or market. Lemon Verbena. Or Vervain. It simply does not have that gentle rounded flavour you get when you grow your own. So some years ago I started growing my own.

Lemon Verbena, also know as Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla, is sadly not hardy enough for our climate, so I grow it in pots. In a sunny and sheltered spot, with some shade from the strong afternoon sun, it thrives. I have managed to harvest enough to last me through the winter already this year. (I drink one cup a day). So my next harvest will be for gifts, especially for my niece who also appreciates this lovely tea.

Harvesting is simple. Just snip fresh growth, shaping the shrub as you go, and taking care not to shorten it by too much as to weaken the plant. I cut mine by about a third (in autumn by about half). In spring and summer it will start producing new stems and leaves immediately.

Drying the leaves thoroughly is very important if you want to store them. I strip them from the stems, spread them out on a baking sheet and leave them in an airy place, out of direct sunlight, turning them every day. Within a few days they have withered completely and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year. (I always add a piece of pasta to absorb any possible remaining bit of moisture).

If I have some strong healthy plants in autumn I will overwinter them in my stairwell, which is very light but not heated. I will water very very sparsely and most of the leaves will turn yellow and drop. But as soon as the plants are given some warmth and water in spring, they start regenerating. By the middle of May they can go back outside and be gently acclimatised to sunny conditions. From my experience night-time temperatures shouldn’t be below about 10°C. However, I always order new organic plants for the Spring in case mine don‘t revive. I can never have too many! 😉

Do you grow Lemon Verbena? Perhaps you have some tips I haven‘t mentioned?

Here are a couple of links to some recipes using this herb that I have posted in the past.

Lemon Verbena/Lemon Verbena Sorbet (vegan)

Lemon Cake (not vegan)

Or simply add a couple of leaves to an iced drink.

They smell wonderful. 😃

Now, talking of iced drinks…

Stay cool! 😉😎☀️

In Vase on Monday: Dazzlers

The sunlight has been quite dazzling recently, as have the white flowers in and around my garden. I decided to combine them in a vase, joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme.

I had forgotten how prickly Cleome can be, and the strong smell of the Feverfew Fleabane surprised me too… maybe because it was cut early in the day?

The Gaura were smothered in bees and other small pollinators when I cut them, which was pleasing to see.

Cosmos Purity needs a bit longer to get going as usual, producing loads of (pretty) foliage but few flowers. Still, I cut a couple.

The Echinacea is Baby Swan White, which is possibly actually E. White Swan as it has turned out to be much taller and larger than it should be!

A Scabiosa ochroleuca was permitted to join the rest, despite not being really white but more cream. A sprig of Queen Ann’s Lace was added and finally a couple of sprigs of Artemisia Silver Queen, which I should use more often as a filler as it is such a thug it needs cutting back constantly!

We had another fantastic blue sky to the north this morning, but it is getting very warm again. This vase is nice and refreshing to look at indoors. 😃

Wishing you all blue skies and sunshine (and some kind of refreshment too 😉) this last week of July!

 

In a Vase on Monday: The Sunhat Party 😃

I’m joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again today for her Monday meme and have put together a collection of Echinacea, or cone flowers, known by the delightful name of ‘Sunhats’ (Sonnenhut) in German. 😃

I now have quite a collection of different sorts of Echinacea, with a couple yet to flower.

Left: Pica Bella, Centre top: Baby Swan White, Right: Sunseekers Yellow, Centre bottom: Green Envy

Today I picked:

  • Baby Swan White (about 60 cm tall!)
  • Green Envy: a new one and I am in love with those green petals which are tinged with pink from the inside outwards as they develop 💕
  • Pica Bella (deep pink)
  • Flamethrower (hot orange)
  • Sunseekers Yellow

Green Envy

Flamethrower

They are partying with some Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’, some pink Gypsophilia, a bit of Verbena bonariensis and a red Snapdragon, some Euphorbia, Artemisia and a yellow Zinnia which I think is supposed to be a giant one but isn‘t.

This year I grew some Everlasting Flowers for the first time and snipped a couple as decoration for my sunhat. If any of you have grown them before I would love to know how to harvest them best, so any tips are welcome!

Do you have any sunhats? Flowery or otherwise?! 😉

Have a lovely week!

😃

In a Vase on Monday: Colour!

Monday has come round once more and I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme. And this week I was spoilt for choice. There is so much colour in the garden now!😃

 

The backdrop for my collection of flowers is my amazing butternut squash plants, which already have tiny pale green fruit forming. And the giant zucchini is one I missed somehow, hiding under some neighbouring tomato foliage. I have been keeping a tab on how many zucchini I have picked so far and in July alone this is the seventeenth. I think I will be making soup again soon… 😉

Back to the vases… first a tiny vase crammed full of blue borage flowers, and then my main vase, where my lovely orange Snapdragons ‘Orange Wonder’ were the starting point.

They have a peachy tinge which combines two of my favourite colours, pink and orange. 😃 I added some golden Euphorbia and some bright yellow Hypericum, as well as some of the dark-leafed Hypericum ‘Miracle Night’. And the first Echinacea ‘Flamethrower’ to open…

There is also a spike of purple Buddleia (‘Royal Red’ – not really red at all, but maroon at the nearest)…


… and a stem of Salvia pratensis in a rich shade of blue…

I was, however, also tempted to pick a stem of the the Sanguisorba ‘Weihanstephan’ with its amazing pink fluffy flowers.

Aren’t they gorgeous? Or perhaps a matter of taste?

So that meant I needed another vase and more pink!

The Cosmos are just beginning to flower – on the left is one ‘Antiquity’ and on the right ‘Daydream’. A big spike of the pink buddleia ‘Pink Delight’ complemented these rosy hues well, and then a little creamy white for highlights seemed right, in the form of Cephalaria gigantea and Scabiosa ochroleuca. They look strikingly similar except for their size. I‘m afraid the Scabiosa is hiding on this photo but was on the left in the first picture of the Sanguisorba.

(I think I actually prefer the Sanguisorba in the flower bed than in a vase 😉)

I do hope you have lots of lovely colour in your gardens this week. Why not share and make a vase for Cathy’s meme too?

Have a wonderful week! 🌻😎🦋