A pot of Oregano on the garden table is scenting the air thanks to a bee disturbing the leaves and flowers whilst rummaging around for pollen. It’s a great herb to add to pizza or Greek salads and will be divided up in Autumn to spread the joy next summer.
The hardy perennial fennel Foeniculum vulgare can be sown from seed late summer to over-winter in the ground with some protection. I’ve sown seeds in a seed tray to plant in full sun when I’ve cleared the climbing beans. The seedlings should be watered regularly-it’s a plant that hates to dry out.
Sage is a pretty herb with antibacterial properties which is why it’s been used for centuries as a gargle for sore throats. Young leaves chopped and added to butter to stir into hot pasta is a refreshing alternative to thyme. And it’s easy to propagate by taking material from the shoot tip with a sharp knife or secateurs. Trim each cutting just below a leaf and carefully cut or pinch off all the leaves from the lower half. Each cutting should be around 5-8 cm in length and cut from several non-flowering shoots. Collect material in the morning when it is at its most hydrated and drop the cuttings into a plastic bag.
The pineapple sage (above) was propagated in this way-the ends dipped into hormone rooting powder and placed round the edge of a 9 cm pot of damp compost. The whole pot was placed in a plastic bag and put on a shelf in the light to take root. Several plants were propagated last year and it makes a great gift to give away.
Mint on the allotment has started flowering and the leaves appear to have rust. I forked it all up and pulled apart three roots to propagate. The roots were trimmed and the stems cut to 30 cm stripping off all the leaves. It’s now re-planted with the attached leafless stems spread out in different directions and the soil firmly packed in over the lot and well-watered. Fresh new leaves will emerge on all the leaf joints in a month or so. Oh dear is this a convincing image?
Masses of summer crops are peaking this week with the first tomatoes now ripening every few days.
The cut flowers this week are white Japanese anemones ‘Honorine Jobert’, pineapple sage, mint, Alchemilla mollis and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.