Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Herbal Tea Garden: Our Faves

   Nothing warms the soul or cools the body like a cup of delicious herbal tea. Only in the past few years have I realized the vast variety of herbal teas that can be grown right in my own garden.
   An herbal tea garden can be grown in any part of the home garden. One garden friend keeps her herbs interplanted alongside her vegetables, while yet another grows them in her flower bed. I have seen small potted gardens  in kitchen window sills or greenhouse selves. Wherever it takes root, the delightful fragrances welcome not only us, but the bees and butterflies as well.
   My teen spent a year as an apprentice master gardener working elbow to elbow in the large gardens of our county extension. In that year, she turned a plot of our homestead into a rose and tea garden equipped with fragrant herbs for health, nourishment, and tea.
   Some of our favorite tea herbs are:
We always keep a pot of mint in the greenhouse.
    Mint: Mint isn't only minty, but comes in various varieties such as apple mint, orange mint and chocolate mint. Our mint grows free in large raised beds with plenty of room to sprawl (it is invasive) and tickles the roots of many a rose bush. We take our mint hot or cold; standing alone, or paired with lemon or ginger.
   Lemon balm/Bee balm: The balms have a fresh lemon fragrance and delicate flavor refreshing on it's own or paired with any tea we would drink with lemon.The balms grow alongside dwarf citrus trees (Satsumas) lending their blossoms to the bees that pollinate there.
   Catnip: Delicate and velvety leaves frame dainty white flowers on the catnip in our tea garden. This herbal tea is just right when nerves need settled and sleep has evaded us. Our catnip makes it's home with the berry canes in our tea garden.
   Basils/Sage: Now basil may seem odd for tea, but cinnamon, lemon, and Thi basil varieties and lemon or pineapple sage are amazing.

   My daughter Jen developed and maintains our tea garden, and is writing a post with me for tomorrow on planning and planting. Join us!

1 comment:

Becky said...

A tea garden sounds wonderful. We plant mostly culinary herbs, but I have slowly added a few things to the lemon balm and pineapple sage I started with. I'd love to have more and can't wait for your next post.