Herb Friday

We set off in the early morning sunshine beneath a cool blue sky. On the horizon, the tops of the hills and mountains were still white with the recent snowfall, which we have somehow escaped with just the odd flurry and no lingering ground-cover.

Robin in the hawthorn tree in Spring

As we traveled, clouds drew across the sky and all too soon the sunshine faltered before finally fleeing entirely. Part of our agenda for the day was a visit to Jekka’s Herb Farm, for the first of a series of Herb Fridays, happily coinciding with Good Friday and therefore a day off work, and a glimpse of the new Herboretum being created here, to be completed in the coming year.

Despite the ongoing miserable and cold weather, there was a vast array of herbs looking perky under cover, from kitchen favourites (a particularly incredible range of thymes, mints and rosemary varieties) to less well known plants with culinary or medicinal properties – and these just the small set that are early into growth.

Array of herbs for sale at Jekka's Herb Farm

Jekka McVicar and her team were very much in evidence; offering advice, collating orders and supplying tea and cakes in the newly appointed potting shed, which is destined to become a kitchen. Here, chefs will be able to demonstrate the use of herbs, as part of the new school programme.

Outside, the first of the smart raised beds had been newly planted with varieties of rosemary. I was particularly taken by a prostrate variety(R. officinalis ‘Boule’) that was flowering its pale blue socks off – and the scent of R. officinalis ‘Green Ginger’ was extraordinary.

Raised beds at Jekka's Herb Farm

More slender ranks of potted herbs were to be found outdoors; here we added a cowslip to our modest handful of plants, which comprised a cat thyme (Teucrium marum), which will undoubtedly be razed to the ground by munching cats before it has a chance to show off its pretty flowers; a myrtle (Myrtus communis Pyewood Park) for my Mum and a Chilean guava (Ugni molinae) which I have hankered over for some time.

It was rather a fleeting visit, though the bitter cold wind didn’t invite lingering either.  However, plans seem to be progressing well on site and I look forward to future visits to the fledgling Herboretum – not to mention a few more acquisitions – as it grows.


16 thoughts on “Herb Friday

  1. Jekka’s “battery” of raised beds makes my single one look a bit pathetic! Most of my herbs are still well and truly dormant in the freezing cold weather. The Rosemary in particular mst be wishing it were in the Mediterranean right now!

    • Aren’t the raised beds impressive – the same make as yours, too. Your one is better than our none!
      I was surprised to see any herbs flowering, while others were still just waking up from their winter slumber, far more in line with our own.

  2. What masses and masses of herbs. Bet the place smells good when the weather is fine. Maybe overwhelming. As for the sun. If Ispy books were still popular, it could have one of its own. Here it is. Oh, no! It’s gone!

    • It was a pleasure. I’ve wanted to visit your farm for ages; my parents have brought me a herb or two when stopping by on their way to visit us in the past, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity myself when an open day coincided with a bank holiday!

  3. As Lucy said, it must smell wonderful on a warm day! Great to have a day out like this and to be temped by old and new favourites. I had a prostrate rosemary once that I was very fond of and i seem to remember moving it but it didn’t survive – must look out for another

    • It was a great visit, and seeing so many healthy plants bursting with life was a particularly welcome sight after our long winter. I have to ponder where I could home a prostrate rosemary, then I can return and pick up a ‘Boule’…:)

  4. This is somewhere I would love to visit. I bought some seeds from Jekka last year at Chelsea and all have germinated well so I will definitely buy more in future. Glad you had a nice day off. C

  5. Good to see you had a great day. We visited a few years ago now and were introduced to the delights of garlic chives. Jekka is so inspiring. The idea of cooking classes is a great one. I’ll keep a look out for them. A pity the cold weather didn’t make you want to linger but it looks like milder weather is on the way. 🙂

    • We were on a bit of a flyer that day anyway, with other places to visit and things to do, so the weather didn’t really affect us too much, though it certainly didn’t invite lingering… A lovely visit though. My parents have visited before and usually brought us interesting things, it was good to get there ourselves at last.

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