Category: Half a Hundred Herbs

Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Half a Hundred Herbs – Week 46 Yarrow

Yarrow is a tough herb which grows in hedgerows, fields, lawns, rocky hillsides, and frankly anywhere it can get the chance. It is not remotely particular in any way, flowering almost constantly ad holding its green feathery leaves through all but the most severe weather. In the wild it is a dull off-white – not…
Read more


October 23, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 45 – Hawthorn

There is a belt of trees on the riverbank. Some of them are covered with ivy and intertwined with wild roses: At this time of year they are a magnificent sight. There are blackbirds and thrushes most of the year round, chaffinches, robins and wrens, and most of the time the magpies jackdaws and rooks…
Read more


October 16, 2015 0

October in the Garden

There is no doubt that we are at the end of the gardening year. The blueberry leaves have turned the most vivid scarlet colour (don’t think it shows up too well here), and the berries are ripening as fast as the birds will let them. The fennel is a cloud of yellow flower and setting…
Read more


October 7, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 44 – Santolina

This is santolina, also known as cotton lavender, one of the stock plants from which I took cuttings to create the knot garden. The small plants have bulked up and do a good job of forming the south and east boundaries – in fact they’ve needed clipping twice already, unlike the hyssops which have done…
Read more


July 31, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 43 – Carnation

I have a few carnations at present, grown from a packet of mixed seeds. They are pink, coral scarlet and a white flecked with red. The scent is pleasant but not overwhelming, unlike a wonderful plant I had a few years ago – it was called the ‘clove scented carnation’, a rich burgundy colour that…
Read more


July 24, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 42 – Mullein

This is a herb of dry stony hillsides, apparently. You would think it would hate this year’s summer, so wet, so overcast and humid, but apparently not. My plants this year – from the seeds of this plant – are all flourishing, with enormous felty grey leaves, and flower spikes pushing through the lush undergrowth,…
Read more


July 13, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 41 – Coltsfoot

This photograph was taken in early march. Coltsfoot doesn’t look like this now, it’s more like this: the large rather rubbery leaves coming up through the brambles are what you’re looking for. Coltsfoot is one of the earliest flowers to come out in spring, and because the flowers appear before the leaves, it is sometimes…
Read more


May 27, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 40 – Wormwood

There are many varieties of wormwood, some big and spawling, turning ragged and unwieldy, and attracting blackfly (which is ironic, considering its reputation as an insect repellant). This one, artemiisa ponticum,  however, is more delicate and dainty, and lacks the abrasive pungency of the more familiar varieties. I have had it in a pot since…
Read more


May 13, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 39 – Bay

Once we had a bay tree. At its best, it was about seven feet high and as vigorous as anything in the garden. It survived temperatures of -20 degrees, and there was a blackbird’s nest in it. Unfortunately, however, it took up a lot of room and shaded out everything else in the herb patch,…
Read more


May 6, 2015 0

Half a Hundred Herbs Week 38 Scented-leaf Geranium

These are the scented leaf geraniums I bought last year. They have overwintered in the house on a north-facing windowsill, but now that the weather is warmer, they are in the greenhouse. By the end of the month it should be warm enough to put them outside on the patio, but as they are frost-tender,…
Read more


April 30, 2015 0