Today, Jane and I took a jaunt west to visit Jekka’s Herb Farm for the RHS Open Day we saw advertised in a recent copy of The Garden magazine (the RHS’s monthly publication for members). It was the first time we’ve visited her nursery in person although several of the plants still growing in our garden came from seed we purchased online not long after moving into our present house.
We enjoyed Jekka’s talk in the morning – dogmatic but based on experience and very informative. For example, she was insistent that secateurs should be kept sharp to avoid cracking plant stems and making them prone to rot and disease; she made the point that we sharpen the knives we use in kitchens for working on dead plants so why not get into the habit of doing so when operating on live plants.
We also picked up a few more plants. We got an Aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena). We had another one which we kept indoors but which died after a few months so this one is going to go out into a sunny position in the garden; the leaves make a refreshing ‘tea’ when infused in hot water. We also picked up another rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Green Ginger’); this one has strong hints of ginger and eucalyptus alongside the familiar rosemary scent and, again, is recommended for infusions. Finally, we also got a specimen of Ugni molinae (Chilean guava), an evergreen perennial that produces white flowers later followed by edible berries. I’ve had that on my plant wishlist for a while but it isn’t a species that turns up in most garden centres.
I’ve got homes in mind for all of them and will try to get them planted out tomorrow afternoon but I’ve already made some cuttings of each – partly to give a bit of extra security in case the main planting fails, partly because it is often good to have multiple instances of a plant in the design of a garden rather than a larger number of unique specimens and partly because Jekka was also insistent that propagation is a rather neglected art that should be more practiced by garden enthusiasts.