Herb Rescue & Strawberry Salad

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Iron herb planterCreating a herb garden was top of my gardening to-do list this spring. Fresh herbs are an easy way to lift the flavour of many summer dishes and are so easy to grow. Many herbs are as decorative as they are useful and the scent released as you brush past them is, for me, one of the simple pleasures of gardening.

Our house is less than five years old and the garden lacks both character and maturity. With a small garden, I decided to grow my herbs in pots to contain their growth but I wanted something with a vintage look. The perfect solution was an old iron wash tub that I found neglected in my late great-uncle's garden when we were clearing his house. Once full of leaves and a resident toad, I have now cleaned it up, hammered in drainage holes and filled it with a quality soil based compost.

Herb Rescue

Herbs do need a little care and attention if you want to achieve full and healthy plants. Overwatering and lack of sunlight are the two main threats to healthy herbs as seen here with these two neglected herbs from last year - rosemary and thyme...

Plants for sale

I decided to throw the rosemary as it had no sign of green once I cut into the stems but I have chopped the thyme back in the hope that I can rescue it. Other herbs that I have added to the tub are sage, chives (I love their flowers closed and open), dill, coriander, orange mint, a healthier thyme and a very small rosemary plant. I have decided to grow standard garden mint in its own separate terracotta pot as I know it will be only a matter of weeks before it overruns everything else. Ever the bargain hunter most of these herbs have cost next to nothing – some were given as roots by family, others I bought from a car boot sale and a local farm.

Herb Planter - full of colour and scent

My herb planter is positioned at the front of the house in a sunny but sheltered spot. Here the herbs are easily accessible for frequent picking which is a wonderful excuse for cooking lots of summery Mediterranean dishes. Herbs need cutting back regularly to keep them strong and prevent them getting lanky so regular cutting is a good habit to get into.

My mint is too tiny for picking yet but with the first British strawberries appearing in the shops I have been using mint from my Mum's garden to make a simple strawberry salad. I have also been experimenting with adding a little rosewater as well as mint to the strawberries.

Herb Rescue 006

making strawberry salad   Strawberry salad

Rosewater (the diluted essence of scented rose petals) added to lemon juice and caster sugar creates a delicate and pretty syrup, as well as an exquisite old fashioned natural perfume, when added to strawberries an hour or so before eating. It's not to everyone's taste and I suggest you use just a drop of rosewater essence but I would recommend you give it a try. With or without cream it's a heavenly summer treat.

Strawberry salad on a plate

Later in the summer when I have an abundant supply of mint I intend to make mint tea. Sarah sells a wonderfully authentic tisanière and I shall follow her recipes for making herbal teas. Mmm... they look so tempting.

Thanks for reading!

Today's guest post comes from Claire from Just A Little Less. Thanks Claire for such a lovely post! We feel totally summery...