Author: Michael - page 2

STEVIA- Stevia rebaudiana

Fertilise

A perennial with very sweet foliage which grows to a height of 45cm. Needs to be protected from heavy frosts, although does die back in autumn. The leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar and have no calories. It can be used in hot or cold drinks or as a sugar substitute in sweet dishes. A syrup can also be made by simmering 2 teaspoons of the dried leaves in a litre of water for 10 minutes. Refrigerate and use as needed.

SPINACH PERPETUAL – Beta vulgaris

Fertilise

A short-lived perennial leafy plant growing to a height of 45cm. Frost hardy. Young leaves can be used in salads, stir fries and as steamed greens. Do not overcook. Harvest regularly to keep your plant growing strongly. High in Iron.

SORREL- Rumex scutatus

Wet

A short-lived perennial reaching a height of 60cm. Frost hardy. It prefers moist, warm climates but grows in cooler regions and tolerates some dryness. Prefers a sun or semi-shade position in well-composted soil. Use the fresh young leaves, which have a lemony flavour, in salads, soups or with fish. The leaves do contain oxalic acid which is fine in small amounts, but avoid if you have a history of kidney stones.

SAVORY – Satureja sp

Dry

There are several types of savory including Winter and Summer. The Winter Savory is perennial but the Summer type is an annual plant which will die off at the end of summer. They prefer to be grown in the full sun in well-drained alkaline soil. Frost hardy. The Winter Savory grows to a height of 25cm and the Summer Savory reaches 30cm. Fresh leaves can be picked at any time for immediate use or for drying. Both have a peppery flavour, but the winter savory is more pungent. Use in casseroles, marinades and dressings. It is also used in herb vinegars and butters.

SANTOLINA – Santolina chamaecyparis

Dry

Non-edible, perennial plant which grows to a height of 40cm. Frost hardy. It has highly reflective aromatic silver foliage which makes it a great contrast plant in the garden. Enjoys a sunny position in well-drained soil. Trim regularly to keep tidy. The leaves can be added to sachets to repel clothes moths.

SAGE PINEAPPLE – Salvia elegans

Dry

Evergreen frost tender shrub with pineapple scented leaves growing to a height of 1.3m. Masses of red flowers from summer to winter. Planting in a raised bed is advisable as this plant doesn’t like wet feet. A well-drained, sunny position in the garden is preferred. Pineapple sage has a fruity flavour which complements fruit salad and cold drinks. Fresh or dried leaves can be used to make a refreshing tea.

SAGE COMMON – Salvia officinalis

Dry

Sage is a small, frost hardy, woody perennial shrub growing to about 90cm. The long, oval, grey-green leaves, velvety in texture, have a slightly bitter, camphor-like taste, while the flowers are purple-blue in colour. Full sun and good drainage are essential for sage as it does not like wet feet. Goes well with other strong herbs such as garlic, rosemary and thyme. Fresh or dried leaves are used extensively as flavouring in stuffing, marinades in vinegars and herb butters.

Medicinal uses: Gargling sage tea is said to give some relief to sore throats.

RUE – Ruta graveolens

Dry

A non-edible rounded shrubby perennial which can reach about 60cms tall with beautiful silver blue foliage and contrasting yellow flowers in summer and autumn. Frost hardy. In cooler areas where summers are mild, full sun is essential however in warmer areas rue will tolerate some but not full shade. The foliage may cause skin rash on sensitive skin. An insect repellent for use on ornamental plants can be made from the leaves, or used in potpourri to put in cupboards and drawers. Rue has a herbal aroma which will drift through the garden on hot days and is said to be disliked by cats.

ROSEMARY – Rosmarinus officinalis

Dry

A frost hardy perennial. There are several varieties of this woody shrub with thin needle-like leaves and pink, white, light or dark blue flowers. They range in habit from upright, dwarf and semi-prostrate, with heights varying from 50cms to 2ms. Rosemary prefers full sun and a reasonably dry position with well-drained soil to lessen the risk of root rot. It is a good plant to grow in seaside positions as it will tolerate salt and wind. Fresh, dried or frozen leaves are used in cooking, marinades and salad dressings. Leaves are used in vinegars, oils, teas and butters. Goes particularly well with lamb and goat. Fresh flowers are good in salads or as decorations for puddings and desserts. It is used in potpourris and herb wreaths. Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance.

Medicinal uses: High in antioxidants, vitamin E, aids digestion and relaxation.

ROCKET SALAD – Eruca sativa

Fertilise

An annual plant growing to a height of 40cm. Grows in full sun to partly shaded position in summer. Likes a fertile, well-drained soil enriched with rotted manure or compost. Start picking young leaves about five weeks after seedlings have emerged, sooner in summer when growth is faster. Young leaves give green salads an appealing piquancy or add them late to stir fries. Flowers and ripe seed pods are also edible.

RADICCHIO – Cichorium intybus

Fertilise

A frost hardy perennial leafy plant which reaches 30cm in height. Harvest year round leaf by leaf. The leaves are bitter flavoured and are mainly used in salads. They provide some colour contrast in salads as they have bronze colouring.

PARSLEY CURLY – Petroselinum crispum var crispum

Fertilise

A biennial plant which grows to a height of 30cm. Frost hardy. Prefers a rich, moist soil in full to partial sun. To promote more leaf growth fertilize with a nitrogen rich liquid fertilizer. Parsley can be kept productive by frequent pruning and removal of flower stems. Can be grown in a pot. Parsley can be used in salads, as a garnish and in cooking in general. It can be frozen for up to 6 months.

OREGANO COMMON – Origanum vulgare

Dry

A spreading perennial which grows to a height of 45cm.Often referred to as common or wild oregano it is very closely related to marjoram. It has pink flowers in summer. Prefers full sun or partial shade. Frost hardy. Can be used as a tough ground cover. Widely used as a flavouring, especially in Mediterranean style cooking. Use in sauces, soups and casseroles, as well as in vinegars and butters.

ONION SPRING – Allium cepa

Fertilise

Spreading frost hardy perennial with slender stems reaching 45cm high. Sunny position with summer watering. Can be grown in pots. The slender green stems are similar to onions but with a milder flavour.
Use in a wide range of dishes from stir fries, sauces, salad dressings, pasta and Asian dishes.

NASTURTIUM ALASKA – Tropaeolum majus ‘Alaska’

Fertilise

A self-seeding annual with a non-trailing habit to 35cms. This variety has variegated leaves and a range of flower colours from yellow to red. Frost hardy. All parts of this herb are edible. Fresh flowers and leaves are used in salads, vinaigrettes, oils or the flowers alone can be used as a garnish. They have a warm peppery flavour similar to water cress.

MINT VIETNAMESE/LAKSA – Persicaria odorata

Wet

A perennial herb up to 30cms which prefers warm moist conditions. It is not related to Mint, but is in fact in an entirely different family. The leaf is commonly associated with Vietnamese food, especially salads, soups and cold rolls. Needs to be kept drier during the cooler months.

MINT SPEARMINT – Mentha spicata

Wet

Spreading perennial growing to a height of 60cm. Frost hardy. Used in dishes including lamb, vegetable, desserts. Garnish for desserts, salads and cocktails. Also used in herbal tea, this can also be added to chilled soda water for a refreshing summer drink.

MINT PEPPERMINT – Mentha x piperita

Wet

Spreading perennial growing to a height of 20cm. Frost hardy. Used to make one of the most popular herbal teas. Steep 1 or 2 sprigs in boiled water for 3-5 minutes. Great used in chocolate based desserts.

Medicinal uses: Said to aid digestion.

MINT MENTHOL – Mentha arvensis var. piperascens

Wet

Spreading perennial which grows to 60cm high. Frost hardy. Very strong aroma.

Medicinal uses: To clear nasal congestion make an infusion with the leaves, throw a towel over your head and inhale the warm vapours. The tea can be sipped for temporary relief of indigestion, flatulence and nausea.

MINT CORSICAN – Mentha requienii

Wet

Prostrate spreading perennial which grows to a height of 1.5cm. It is often used as a ground cover for moist, shady positions, pathways and steps. Frost hardy. It does not like to dry out. Corsican mint has a strong peppermint scent.

MINT COMMON – Mentha viridis

Wet

Height 45cm. Frost hardy. Frequent pruning of the stems forces lateral branching and healthier plants. This is the most commonly used mint and has an intensely sweet mint flavour. Young, fresh leaves can be picked at any time remembering that the younger the leaf the tastier it will be. Mint can be used a wide range of dishes from sauces, salads, drinks, vinegars or as a garnish to vegetables.