Herbs are working plants–weeds that have gained respectability because they have been found to be useful for something. Common categories are cooking herbs, fragrant herbs, medicinal herbs, and household herbs. Currently, I raise 45 different herbs in all of the above categories, not counting the wild herbs harvested from the fields around us.
I also love the history of herbs. Many have a long and impressive pedigree, having been beneficial to mankind for centuries. Others have a story to tell steeped in folklore–but what fun to tell the story! For example, the velvet-leaved Lady’s Mantle above was revered as a medicinal herb for “ladies’ complaints.” In the morning, I enjoy seeing the dew stand out like beaded diamonds on the velvet leaves. The ladies of the court in the Middle Ages would collect the dew by cupping the leaves and draining the moisture to use as a facial wash, thinking it would give them a “dewy” complexion.
Besides the lovely shape and large velvet leaves, this midevil plant produces a fluffy chartreuse flower head that can be dried and used in arrangements and wreaths. It adds a delightful note to cut flower bouquets and is quite long-lasting. Plant this hardy perennial in partial shade for the best results. It is one of the few herbs that doesn’t like full sun.
If you would enjoy more herbal anecdotes, post your comment or questions.
From the garden,