Last year I attended a super workshop at Langdon led by Mandy Rickard called Weeds and Wildflowers. At the end of the morning we shared lunch and some fabulous home brewed tea made from mint and lemon verbena. From that, a seed of an idea was planted. This year it has germinated into a new Tea Bed.
Initially this seemed a straightforward project but once the thought process began, position, planting and maintenance became an issue. As with so many ideas the solution suddenly became obvious. The long border had long required a proper ending. It became apparent the tea border could fulfil this function and make sense of some randomly planted fruit bushes. A self seeded elder was already there as were some nettles (well actually a lot of nettles!), lemon balm and a clump of rhubarb. All perfect for making teas.
On beginning to prepare the ground it became clear that this was an area where much rubble had been dumped so I was reliant on Brian using his trusty digger to help.
Once cleared the bed was planted up. There is a raspberry (which had been given to Sally but had no home) to tie in with the other fruit bushes. On a trip to Hidcote earlier this year, I brought back some camomile. There had to be a real tea plant (Camellia sinensis) too. The bed also includes various mints, lemon verbena (planted in a pot and will be brought undercover for winter), bergamot which I found seeded in the garden, rosemary and lavender. The planting will be increased through cuttings and division next season. There is also space for a Rosa Damascena.
Top left to right: Lemon verbena, Camellia sinensis, Camomile
Bottom left to right: Blackcurrant sage, Hyssop, Raspberry
Tea can be made from flowers, leaves, seeds and roots. The planting will gradually encompass more of a variety.
For now it is a work brewing nicely!
Update: a couple of weeks ago Sally decided we should have our mid morning break enjoying a tea made from the Tea Bed. She used lemon verbena and lemon balm. It was absolutely delicious!