Herbal Haven Newsletter May 2011

Hi and welcome to the May 2011 newsletter.

It has been a fantastic spring so far with lots of long hot sunny days. The bank holidays have kept us very busy over the last couple of weeks as there have been lots of shows to attend. It has been lovely to be on a stall over a sunny Easter. We have had some pretty grim weather, including snow in previous years.

Lots of customers have come to the stalls with tales of their plants from last year’s early blast of Arctic weather. The herbs that seem to have been most affected are bay, myrtle and rosemary. I lost my own myrtle and bay too. It is as well to remember that bay is pretty hardy generally but doesn’t survive such weather when grown in a South facing position. It grows much better in a West or Northerly aspect so that it has morning shade or shade all day. Mine was in a pot and if I had followed my own advice and moved it, it would probably still be alive. Myrtle always gets the tips burnt by the frosts, but generally recovers in the spring. The more sheltered it is the better. Mine was in a fairly exposed site and was absolutely decimated.

Our wild garlic has finished flowering now. Last year we saved some seeds from the few plants we didn’t sell and sowed them in the autumn. They all germinated really well and so we thought we would save a lot more this year. It takes quite a while for them to mature, but hopefully next year we will have lots more so that we can take them to the shows rather than just sell them via the website.


Even though the days have been pretty warm, the night time temperatures are still normal for late April and May. Herbs such as amaranth, courgettes and pumpkins that we sell are still prone to frost damage at this time of year. Though they are in cold tunnels here, the extra protection of the tunnel is enough for them to withstand any frost at night. A few amaranths that were left outside this week were damaged by the frost, so if you plant any of these tender annuals out you need to keep an eye on the weather and cover them if necessary. It goes without saying that the ultra tender basils don’t want to be outside at all yet, or maybe just for a bit of a sunbathe during the day.


We have had an order for large plants for an urban physic garden in London. Normally we sell most of our herbs in our standard 8cm pots, but it has been great to pot up lots of the medicinal plants and let them grow to a decent size. Zsuzsa has been looking after them, cutting them back and potting on as needed. I think the garden designers are planning a blog on the project so if we get a link I will post in the journal pages.


Think that is all for now. Enjoy the fantastic spring.