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Harvesting a Bowl of Comfort

May 31st, 2012

Every year I add a few more herbs to the gardens of Chiot’s Run and learn how to use them. A few years ago, chamomile was added and my gardens will never be without it again. Even if I didn’t harvest it for calming teas, I would grow it because it’s a beautifully graceful plant.

My chamomile plants are about 18-24 inches tall and blooming profusely with hundreds of tiny white daisy like flowers. These plants grow right by my driveway. They were only supposed to be 8-10 inches tall and I was planning on them spilling over the rock wall. Not the case, they grow upright and are a bit leggy. In the future I’ll grow in among other plants to help cover up it’s skinny legs.

Mixed in the with the chamomile the ‘Lady’ lavender is blooming as well, together they make a wonderful night time tea that’s delicious, comforting and certain to help lull you to sleep. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have a quart of dried chamomile for the pantry this winter.

What’s your favorite kind of herbal tea?

Looking for some great books about growing/using herbs & spices, here are a few of my favorites:

A great source for herb plants of all shapes, colors, flavors and sizes is Richter’s Herbs. Most of the herbs in my garden have come from them.

16 Comments to “Harvesting a Bowl of Comfort”
  1. daisy on May 31, 2012 at 5:35 am

    What delicate flowers. What’s the secret to growing the lavender? They make a lovely couple placed together.
    I only drink tea when my tummy is upset and then it’s peppermint.

    Reply to daisy's comment

    • Susy on May 31, 2012 at 7:06 am

      I think the secret to lavender is finding a variety that likes your soil/climate. ‘Lady’ lavender seems to do very well here in lean soil without much water.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Kathi Cook on May 31, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I like fresh chocolate mint tea.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Susy on May 31, 2012 at 7:15 am

      No chocolate mint in the garden here yet – but it’s on “the list” of herbs to add along with some new varieties of comfrey.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Rhonda on May 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I get bronchitis quite often as a side affect of allergies. Mint tea with a little honey grown just down the road helps out a lot. Fortunately both my mint and my chamomile have just gone crazy this year. I planted chamomile in one spot last year but didn’t harvest from it. It wanted it to get good and set. This year it’s growing in five different spots! I guess the birds enjoy planting flowers too!

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  4. val on May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    That’s good to know about chamomile’s leggy tendency–I have seedlings I planned to plant as a ground cover this weekend.
    My favorite herbs for tea are lemon balm, lemon verbena, and pineapple sage.

    Reply to val's comment

    • KimH on June 1, 2012 at 5:35 am

      There are two kinds of chamomile.. One is a low creeping plant and the other is a tall & leggy.. Check to see which one you have & plant accordingly.

      Reply to KimH's comment

  5. Amy on May 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I’ll have to check out these books. Ann Lovejoy, PNW landscape designer and author of several gardening books, has a delightful tea gardening book that I just love, full of recipes and gorgeous photos.

    Reply to Amy's comment

  6. Leighann on May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I was curious, how much do you use to make tea? and how do you dry the flowers?


    Reply to Leighann's comment

    • Susy on May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      I spread them on a plate and let them air dry until they’re nice & dry (about a week and a half or two). I use about a Tablespoon to make 2 cups of tea.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Deb on June 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

    You can dry herbs in a propane oven with the pilot light on. I dry many herbs and would run out of space to dry them so use the pilot light in the oven, it’s on anyway. I also dry on a plate or cookie sheet. Do you do Roman or German chamomile? Nice posting.

    Reply to Deb's comment

  8. KimH on June 1, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Asking what my favorite herbal tea is is akin to asking me which of my 5 children do I love the most..
    I love chamomile sometimes..I enjoy it occasionally in the evening.. It was a Godsend when my #2 baby was an infant. I wish I had known about it when I had #1. Its a wonderful colic soother. The Mexican Indians have been using it to calm upset babies for time untold. Thank God my friend shared Manzanilla with me. It took about 2 years before I found out what it actually was in English.

    I love a mix that has hibiscus, ginger root, raspberry leaf, & red clover. I also love marshmallow in a mix. I tend to love warming teas..

    Many years ago, I used to make a mixture of raspberry leaves & red clover. This was my daily drink for several years. I keep thinking Im going to buy some but havent done so.

    Good stuff, herbal teas.. I just bought a bunch that Yogi (brand) has out right now.. Bedtime, which is awesome, DeTox which is really good & Echinaecea Immune Support. Great herbs & roots in them & they are all tasty. ♥

    Reply to KimH's comment

  9. Tricia on June 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    What gorgeous chamomile. I imagine you will smile each time you make yourself a chamomile tea over winter,

    I wrote about herbal tea the other day. One of my readers suggested Thyme. I’d never thought of making Thyme tea – but Thyme and lime is my new favourite herbal tea.

    I also love lemon verbena.

    Reply to Tricia's comment

    • Susy on June 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      MMMM – thyme makes great tea, especially the lemon thyme. I have a recipe you’d love for Caramelized Apple Marmalade with Thyme!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Leanne on June 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Beautiful. How do you brew the tea? I think I might make some space in my garden today for this!

    Reply to Leanne's comment

  11. Jodiana on June 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

    After reading your post I decided it was time to plant some chamomile. I already have lemon thyme, lavender and bee balm. I’m going to make it a point this year to dry some so I can make my own tea this winter!

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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