The ancient tradition of blending teas or tisanes from herbs has been celebrated since time immemorial by cultures around the world.
The art of blending a herbal tisane can be simple or complex, it can be enjoyed for its flavour or its purpose. A herbal tea can aid digestion, ease anxiety or help you sleep.
6 EASY HERBS TO GROW IN POTS OR IN YOUR GARDEN
Rosemary and dwarf Lavender - both these herbs love pots with a large circumference to accommodate their extensive root systems. They are both drought tolerant plants - touch your soil to ensure it is dry before watering, neither of these plants like having wet roots. If planting in your garden, they prefer full sun, sandy loam soil and good air circulation - don't crowd them!
Rosemary is often referred to as the 'head herb' - good for your hair, and good for your brain. Drink a tisane made of the leaves when you need to focus or concentrate on a project. Each autumn after the first frost (Zone 5 in the Okanagan Valley), I bring my rosemary into the garage and water lightly every three weeks. Once the warm spring days arrive, take it back outside, allowing it to acclimatize in a sheltered location.
You can extend your lavender harvest by continually cutting your blooms as they open. For many weeks, the plant will send up shoots, cut and dry them in small bundles bound with an elastic, hung upside down in a cool, dark room. When they are brittle, rub the buds from the stems, sift through a sieve and store in an airtight container.
To make rosemary or lavender tea, place 1 teaspoon dried herbs into a mug, let steep 3-5 minutes, then strain. Enjoy with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a drizzle of honey.
PARTIAL SUN LOCATIONS:
Lemon Verbena, Lemon Grass, Spearmint, and Chamomile. These herbs will flourish in filtered sun and make fragrant additions to a patio.
Chamomile Tea has long been revered for its sedative effects. It is an easy herb to grow as both an annual or a perennial. The perennial plant is Chamaemelum nobile, or 'Roman Chamomile', this can be used as a lawn alternative and the blooms are easy to harvest. The annual chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, or 'German Chamomile' produces seed prolifically and can become invasive if one forgets to harvest the blooms regularly! Cut the blooms when open and dry on screens or cookie sheets.
Lemon Verbena will live happily in large 5-10 gallon pots for decades - hardy in temperate climates. In Canada's zone 5 region, bring them inside each winter and they will never disappoint. Water them once every 2-3 weeks throughout the winter. As deciduous shrubs, they drop their leaves completely around late January and come April, you will begin to see new leaves forming. Bring them outside once the danger of frost is over - I wait until the nights are staying above 5 degrees Celsius and the perfect time to place them out is when you know you are having a spell of soft rain and cloud cover to help them acclimatize to the weather. Pick the leaves and air dry them until crisp; store in an airtight container.
Lemon Grass loves tall deep pots for its long root system, in the hot summers of the Okanagan Valley, it thrives on a shady doorstep with filtered light, regular watering and warm nights. When the blades of grass are plentiful, cut them about half way down the stem, using scissors trim them into short lengths, suitable for a teapot. Dry on a cookie sheet until crisp and store in an airtight container.
Spearmint is one of the few mints happy to be in a pot. Mints can be invasive, but if you cut the bottom out of a 3 -5 gallon pot and sink this into the ground it will help to keep the roots contained. Just before flowering, cut the stems and bundle with elastics. Hang to dry in a cool, dark room. When brittle, rub from the stems and store in an airtight container.
“Life is like a cup of tea. It’s all in how you make it.” – anonymous