Specific Herb Article


New ‘Eggs and Chips’ Plant Grows Both Eggplants and Potatoes In One Pot  By Samantha Mathewson  Jan 08, 2016 05:00 PM EST

Newly created “Eggs and Chips” plants produce both eggplants and potatoes. Photo:Thompson & Morgan

Gardeners, make room for “Frankenplants.” Horticulturists have created a new plant that grows two vegetables in one pot – aubergines, commonly known as eggplants, from its stem and potatoes from its roots. British seed company Thompson & Morgan have now begun selling the plants, subsequently named “Egg and Chips.”


New research has shown that sniffing fresh Rosemary leaves can improve one’s memory by 75 per cent! Not “just an old wives’ tale”!!










Tea Bags are Talented

What does that mean? As a constant recycler I have used the hot wet unmilked tea bag for many tricky tasks. A cooled chamomile bag is so soothing on a salty, weary eyelid in Summer, or after a spot of vigorous gardening at any time of year. Any cool watery Tea bag is wonderful dabbed or resting on  sunburned skin. That tannin works a treat. While still in high heat any teabag can dissolve sugary smears on the bench after jam or toffee making.  A stubborn sticky or greasy spot on the polished floorboards is removed in a second with that par-boiled bag. The tea bag still in a heated mood is so good at lifting out that little column of dust in the corner of the skirting board, which the vacuum cleaner refuses to budge. Yet another cleaning duty for that keen teacup bag is wiping a few slats of the wooden Venetian blind, especially any such blind in the kitchen.

 It is essential to note that each and every tea bag’s personality is magnetic. Well every single one that I have met is so attractive to the shed hairs of Rusty the Pomeranian Jack Russel Cross that they jump at the chance to gather together again on either a cool Liptons dangler or a hot Tetley All Rounder. Another valuable quality intrinsic in tea bags is their skill as detectives. They detect little islands of fluff which disobey the domestic laws and congregate around the scratches-prevention felt pads under chair legs. Finally it is amazing to relate that English tea bags desire a French connection. They emulate the character of the Scarlet Pimpernel: they seek it here, they seek it there… What is ‘it’ ? you may well ask! They wish to be in a new vigorous life. Their wish is granted. Teabags are rushed into the compost bin to join in the grand revolution. Vive le sac du thé!         



Creating Special Spots in the Garden

This Tamarisk tree is so fine, just like a mist of palest pink.

I saw one similar in Monet’s Garden at Giverny last year in the last days

of April. The Tamarisk was planted behind an irregular patch

of pinkish gravel. This seemed almost to be a reflection of the whispy pink sprays of the Tamarisk flowers. Beautiful! 

 bronzed fennel




It’s Raining, it’s Slugging!

Rain has come back seriously in Melbourne Australia at last after fifteen years of miserliness! Relief and joy turned to amazement, when the rain stopped and the sun shone through the now lacy leaves of Brugmansia, the precious palest pink Angel’s Trumpet Leaves. The criminals? Snails and slugs. The other feast for such hungry beasts are Hostas. Sawdust, copper wire, crushed egg shells, wet snail bait, screenings or sand surrounding the leafy delicacies, often fail as deterrents.

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Brugmansia Angel’s Trumpet

How can one outsmart the slimy enemies? The answer is to plant hairy, felty, thorny, dusty or tough plants which are less likely to be slug fodder. Silver foliage subjects like Lavender, Santolina, Helichrysum, Mullein Verbascum thapsis and Cat Thyme Teucrium marum are rarely devastated by molluscs. When you think about it these tend to have leaves that are aromatic and repellent too. The golden-leaved form Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ offers a lively alternative to the usual silver foliage. Somehow slugs and snails are not so keen on this tough  herb.


Foxglove Digitalis purpurea

Foxgloves are poisonous, so they are usually left untouched by most voracious pests. The wild foxglove, Digitalis purpurea is a biennial, which grows one year, then flowers, sets seed and dies the next. However some foxgloves are short-lived perennials, Digitalis ferruginea for instance. This is an even more desirable garden plant with its upright spikes of tightly-packed coppery flowers; you’ll love it but slugs and snails will hate it.

Euphorbias, the spurges as they are commonly known, have stems and leaves containing a milky, irritant sap which gardeners should avoid on their skin. This makes Spurges repellent to any pests, especially slugs.  The tall Euphorbia characias is a striking plant which seeds on sandy well-drained soils. This euphorbia is an evergreen perennial; more like a shrub in many ways. The lime green “flowers” at the tips of the stems are stunning in late winter and early spring.     

Some evergreen hellebores such as Helleborus x ericsmithii and Helleborus argutifolius have tough foliage and tough flowers carried above the foliage in large clusters. These seem to be unpalatable to molluscs and they are carried well out of harm’s way. They grow well in shade, but still brave those haunts of our slippery enemies.  

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Lungwort Pulmonaria officinalis

Pulmonarias the lungworts resist snails attack and have early flowers and attractively patterned leaves in Spring. The sedums are invaluable for late summer colour and their strong, bold plant forms. Sedum spectabile and its cultivars are the best known and most widely grown. Occasionally slugs may have a nibble at the fleshy growth buds clustered on the soil in early spring, but they don’t seem to do too much damage as the stems grow. If damage does occur, surround the crown of the plant with coarse grit which the slugs won’t like to cross and the plant will enjoy the drier soil surface

Aquilegia or Columbine are good slug-proof plants. The varieties with larger outer petals and long spurs are some of the showiest as their long flower stems and nodding blooms add light height to the garden.This height habit may be a reason for their being out of reach of slugs.

Anything with aromatic foliage is always a good choice as a slug resistant plant. Agastache foeniculum, the giant hyssop, is a popular border perennial. There are a number of excellent varieties with larger, showier flowers than the species. Their appeal is their attraction of bees, butterflies and pollinators. The bonus is their unattractiveness to slugs and snails.

Other perennials which are relatively mollusc resistant include: Knautia, Eryngium and the herbs Cat Thyme Teucrium marum and Cat Mint and Catnip Nepeta mussenii and Nepeta fassenii.

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Cat Thyme Teucrium marum

Winter is the time to appreciate the beauties of several valuable Herbs. Salvia involucrata ‘Bethelli’ with its luscious leaves for possums and its glorious fat pink buds, bursting into bright pink jagged flowers is invaluable for providing nectar for Eastern Spinebills, Honey Eaters and Wattle Birds. Fuchsia even the tiniest flowers give Spinebills, hovering over the slender branches, a nectar treat.

Horehound leaves, crinkly grey-green on white stems are extremely bitter but invaluable as a tea to gargle for a sore throat. Or be more adventurous: Use the strong tea as the water in a toffee recipe to make excellent toffee to ease a cough or painful throat. Place the toffee on the back of the tongue and let its Horehound ingredient ease the pain.

If you have a cold eat Horse Radish sauce. Its pungent vapours will help clear your sinus cavities. Horse Radish  roots are ready to harvest now. Serve it grated on a cheese or beef sandwich, or on stir fry vegetables all very tasty. If you dislike eating Horse Radish, simply breathe in its vapours to ease your blocked nose. Eat Garlic in pasta sauces, soups and stews to keep healthy and of course use the now fashionable black, green and purple Kale leaves for added zest. 

  Horehound                        Image result for Salvia involucrata Bethellii flowers Kale  Image result for kale leaves                           Salvia involucrata

 Horse Radish

Leaves Image result for Horseradish  Root    Image result for horseradish

New Year Traditions


   Bay Leaves Wreath                       Holly                        Mistletoe

 Danish Christmas Traditions

The Nordic traditions, based on the certainty of snow, used the evergreens for winter’s traditional festival. Pines, Pinus radiata, Thuga orientalis and Juniperus communus which remained green and provided the branches for decoration. The dark green leaves of Bay, Laurinus spp., and Box, Buxus sempervirens make a dramatic background for the symbols of Danish Christmas traditions. The Ivy, Hedera helix and the Holly, Ilex aquafolium, with its addition of bright red berries were and are excellent greens for decoration. Mistletoe, Viscum album, known as the Druid’s Herb, has white berries and dates back thousands of years to the tradition of kissing under its branches for fertility rituals. The Houseleek, Sempervivum tectorum, is a succulent plant, a rosette of leaves, planted on the roofs of Danish houses to protect them from lightning strikes. Its Latin name Sempervivum means ‘ever living’.

 The Danish elves for Christmas are always dressed in red, usually made of woven straw and wear red knitted jackets and caps. Carved wooden elves are painted with red cheeks and scarlet clothes. Candlesticks are enamelled red and include the shape of witches’ cauldrons and long piglets which hold white candles.

The food of Danish Christmas uses bacon and Prunes, dried Plums, Prunus spp., as stuffing in roasted Chicken. this is served with gravy and roasted potatoes, ‘cartoffle’ in Danish. Christmas dinner near the illuminated Christmas Tree, ‘Grun Traer’, is served on Christmas Eve. Oddly on the day before, hot boiled rice is cooked and eaten with a dob of butter and a dash of Cinnamon. The extra rice has powdered almonds and sugar are added and then cooled, before cream is mixed through. This cold rich rice is served with a hot Strawberry or Raspberry sauce,  called ‘rul grul mit fleuve’, red sauce with cream, in Danish and is eaten after the roasted chicken on Christmas Eve. 

    Christmas Tree Paper Hearts Danish Flags

      Danish Elves and Candle Sticks

 Fritillaria Passion