We have been enjoying glorious sunshine in the Jekka's Herb Garden over the past couple of weeks. The garden is evolving every day and it has been so inspiring to watch it take shape. Despite only being planted in February the herbs have really started to flourish in their new location.
You can read more about the garden and the plants in the different herb petals in the blog found here.
Jekka’s top 10 herbs for summer 2023 are:
- Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
- Borage (Borago officinalis)
- Amomyrtus (Amomyrtus luma)
- Greek Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Greek’)
- Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
- Portuguese Angelica (Angelica pachycarpa)
- Sea Kale (Crambe maritima)
- Porlock Thyme (Thymus 'Porlock')
- Oysterleaf (Mertensia maritima)
Jekka’s Herb Garden Petals
Here are Jekka’s top 10 herbs looking good this month that you can come and see for yourself at Jekka’s Open Days or at Jekka’s HerbFest 2023.
1. Annual herb petal: Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Chervil is a wonderful addition to your herb garden. It is a member of the carrot family and is one of the 4 herbs found in the French ‘fine herbes’. It has a light anise flavour which indicates that it is good for the digestive system. The leaf can be added to a variety of salads from Carrot to Tabbouleh. When it runs to flower in hot weather or mid-season it, like its cousin Cow Parsley, adds a delightful white mass of flowers to the garden.
2. Culinary herb petal: Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
A culinary herb bed would not be complete without Chives. The leaves, with their onion flavour, are most commonly used in dishes, however, we also love adding the flowers. Break the flower heads into lots of tiny florets and scatter them in salads and on baked potatoes. The flowers have a wonderful sweet onion flavour that is often more intense than the leaf.
3. Edible flowers herb petal: Borage (Borago officinalis)
A favourite in Jekka’s Herb Garden is Borage. Everyone will be familiar to adding these flowers to ice cubes for your summer Pimm’s but did you know that Borage is one of the best plants for bees. The flowers of Borage replenish their nectaries regularly providing a wonderful supply of nectar and pollen. Bees also go to the colour blue first, therefore adding blue flowering plants to your garden will attract more pollinators.
4. Evergreen herb petal: Amomyrtus (Amomyrtus luma)
Amomyrtus is a beautiful evergreen Luma. In spring all the new growth is a lovely copper colour, and it is one of the first Luma’s to flower in early summer. These flowers have a wonderful scent reminiscent of Earl Grey Tea. They are followed by black berries, which in Chile are used to make a jelly.
5. Herbal Infusion herb petal: Greek Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Greek’)
There is lot of research being carried out on the benefits of Sage, especially with brain function. Ironically, the Latin salvia translated means wisdom. This herb has anti-bacterial properties and many uses. For example, a herbal infusion of Sage can both help your memory and also the menopause. Also, gargling with Sage has been known to help with both sore throats and gum disease.
6. Medicinal herb petal: Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Meadowsweet is one of our hedgerow herbs. In the 19th century, it used to be one of the main ingredients in aspirin and its name can also be traced back to the anglo-saxons who referred to it as ‘medesweete’ as they used the herb to flavour mead.
7. Pollinator herb petal: Portuguese Angelica (Angelica pachycarpa)
This miniature Angelica is wonderful for pollinators. The umbelliferous flowers are high in pollen and have been a haven for our honey bees, we cannot wait to taste their honey! It was also featured recently in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Savills Garden designed by Mark Gregory.
8. UK Native Herb Bed: Sea Kale (Crambe maritima)
At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year there has been a lot of discussion about ‘Edimentals’ that stands for “edible ornamental plants”. We would classify all herbs in this category, however, Sea Kale is a perfect example. A beautiful plant with interesting foliage and delightful flowers that both look good and taste great!
9. Jekka’s gravel herb beds: Porlock Thyme (Thymus 'Porlock')
Jekka’s gravel garden is planted with several of the varieties of Thyme that we grow, and they are loving their new location! Due to the changing climate, we now get downpours of rain during August and have found that our Thymes really suffer. By growing them in gravel it keeps their arms and heads out of the puddles, as it provides well needed drainage. This means that they will not go brown and damp-off.
10. Jekka’s gravel herb beds: Oysterleaf (Mertensia maritima)
Oysterleaf is one of the herbs that was featured at the RHS Chelsea Flower show this week. Originally from the coasts of Scotland the oyster leaf is a member of the Borage family with a curious oyster taste to the leaves. You may find that many designer chefs have started adding this as a garnish on their dishes.
Want to know more?
For advice on growing and maintaining herbs, check out ‘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.
Please also see Jekka's herbs of the month blogs: Bay (January), Rosemary (February), Salad Burnet (March), French Tarragon (April), Angelica (May), Alliums (June), Lavender (July), Basil (August), Mint (September), Szechuan Pepper (October), Thyme (November) and Curry Tree (December)
Herb plants are available and you can organise a collection from our herb farm in South Gloucestershire or at one of our Open Days. Please see our 'Looking Good List' for availability and use our webform or email your list directly to us (email@example.com). We no longer offer a general mail order service for our plants but we do offer an occasional limited selection of Jekka's Culinary Herb Boxes.