Jekka's ever evolving collection of medicinal and culinary herbs has grown again.
These are new plants on the herb farm and as such are available only in limited numbers as we will have to reserve some either to propagate for subsequent years or to harvest seeds.
However, we think this collection of new herbs are rather special and so have listed them here for you to read about and enjoy.
Jekka's New Culinary & Medicinal Herbs for 2021
American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
American pokeweed, also known as Poke berry and Red ink plant, is a stunning herbaceous perennial that makes a wonderful structural plant in the herb garden. The flowers are shallow, cup shaped, sometimes pink, flushed white and green which are followed by round black/purple berries with poisonous seeds. The mid-green oval or lanced-shaped leaves have lovely autumn colours. The stem is florescent pink. It is a medicinal herb.
Common dog violet (Viola riviniana Purpurea Group)
Common dog violet, also known as Blue Mice and Hedging violet, is a charming hardy perennial herb that has been much loved for over 2,000 years. The flowers are pale blue/lilac in early summer. The mid-green leaves are heart shaped. This violet does not grow runners. A culinary herb with edible flowers that can be added to sweet or savory salads.
Common honeysuckle fairy trumpets (Lonicera periclymenum)
Common honeysuckle fairy trumpets is a hardy deciduous perennial climber with oval dark grey leaves with a blush underside. To catch the scent of the fragrant yellow flowers on a country walk is quite magical. The flowers can often be tinted with orange that fade to white. They are followed by clusters of glossy, red berries. As a culinary herb the flowers are lovely in sweet and savory dishes, they also can be infused as a tea, which is very beneficial if one has a summer cold.
Jekka's Purple Paeony Poppy (Papaver (Paeoniiflorum Group) 'Jekka's Purple')
Jekka's Purple Paeony Poppy is a stunning, double flowered poppy that resembles a Paeony. This annual poppy has large double dark purple/mauve flowers, which are followed by very attractive large pepper pot shaped seed heads. The leaf is long with toothed margins and bluish grey in colour. The seeds are toxic when green and should not to be confused with our wild poppy, Papaver rhoeas.
Jekka's Purple Haze Thyme (Thymus 'Jekka's Purple Haze’)
Jekka's Purple Haze Thyme is a new Jekka’s variety of Thyme that is a lovely spreading perennial evergreen Thyme. It first appeared in the gravel by our lower tunnels and Jekka has been able to propagate off it. It has clusters of small dark purple/crimson flowers that appear in early summer. The small dark green leaves grow in a tight mat which means it provides good ground cover or can be used as rockery Thyme. As with all Thymes, it is culinary and has edible flowers.
Jekka's Rose Thyme (Thymus ‘Jekka’s Rose’)
Jekka's Rose Thyme is another new Jekka’s variety of Thyme. It is a mound forming, perennial and evergreen Thyme. It gets covered in terminal clusters of small pink flowers that have a hint of crimson and appear in late summer. The small mid green leaves have a magenta edge in autumn making this an incredibly attractive Thyme. As with all Thymes, it is culinary and has edible flowers.
Lavender Cedar Blue (Lavandula angustifolia 'Cedar Blue')
Lavender Cedar Blue is a compact, neat growing Lavender that has dense spikes of pale purple, fragrant flowers in summer with long narrow pale greenish grey, aromatic leaves. It is a culinary Lavender and you can use the flowers and leaves to flavour sugar for use in puddings and baking.
Oysterleaf (Mertensia maritima)
Probably our favourite new herb, the Oysterleaf is such a stunning plant, it looks good and tastes good. It is a hardy perennial native to Greenland. It has a prostrate habit, with fleshy, blue-grey-green leaves that grow up to 10cm long. The branched clusters of bright blue, bell-shaped flowers are typical of the Borage family. They start of pink and turn blue as they flower in early summer. The leaves are deliciously edible.
Rooiwortel (Bulbine natalensis)
Rooiwortel is an attractive medicinal herb that resembles an aloe in form but has smooth leaves. It has attractive rosettes of thick, broad succulent light-green leaves and produces colourful, tall spikes of fluffy yellow flowers intermittently all year. The leaf, root and stem are all used medicinally.
Virginian Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Virginian Skullcap, also known as Blue Skullcap, is a hardy herbaceous perennial that has pretty tiny, tubular blue flowers. The mid-green leaves are oval, lanced shaped with shallow rounded teeth. It is a medicinal herb that should only be dispensed by a trained herbalist.
Want to know more?
Herb plants are available and you can organise a collection from our herb farm in South Gloucestershire or at one of our Open Days or Herb Experiences (see our events calendar). Please see our 'Looking Good List' for availability and use our webform or email your list directly to us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We no longer offer a general mail order service for our plants but we do offer a limited selection of Jekka's Culinary Herb Boxes.
For advice on growing and maintaining herbs, check out Jekka's How to Grow Herbs videos and ‘Jekka’s Seasonal Tips’ blog series, which includes what to do in your herb garden in early spring, late spring, summer and autumn & winter. Together they form the basis of Jekka’s guide on how to grow herbs.