this week in the herb garden is time to harvest St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St John’s Wort can be found growing in sunny fields and hedgerows as well as in partial shade. It has oval shaped leaves and golden yellow, five petalled flowers. When held up to the light the translucent leaf glands appear to be perforations. An infused oil of the flowering tops is both healing and anti inflammatory. I make a beautiful dark red oil which can be used directly on the skin, or added to healing salves and lotions to treat bruises, burns and insect bites. All that is required is a clean, dry jar with a lid and some good quality light olive oil or sweet almond oil. I gather the flowers on a dry day, when in bloom, and put them into the oil to infuse for 4 - 6 weeks. After this time it is strained through cheesecloth and stored in a cool place to be used as required.

this week in the herb garden


wild garlic or ramsons

Wild garlic Allium ursinum - also known as Ramsons is a springtime herb growing in woodland and on shady banks. It is a lover of moist soil. It is a fairly new plant in the herb garden, and although I have been using the leaves for a number of weeks now, it has only just flowered. Flowers, leaves and bulbs are all edible, but I leave the bulbs to grow again next year. I pick the leaves and flowers to add to omelettes, stir fries and pasta dishes, but as it quickly loses its flavour in cooking it is best added just before a dish is ready. It is time now to make use of the last of it before it disappears back underground, so the decision is to make a wild garlic pesto