Most of us grow herbs in our garden to add to dishes we create in the kitchen but imagine harvesting blooms from your garden and drying them to make your own tea. Doesn’t that sound like the most delightful slow living experience?
Growing chamomile and echinacea flowers is an easy and wonderful process that not only fills your garden with delicate blooms but will give you an abundance of buds to make herbal tea.
How to grow and brew chamomile
Chamomile is a herb with a white daisy-like flower and yellow centre which has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a range of health conditions. These include improved sleep and digestive health, as well as being high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is also well known for its soothing effects and for being a gentle relaxant.
Chamomile produces a pleasant apple scent with its abundance of flowers. To make a tea, simply gather the flowers and steep them in hot water for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can dry the flower heads and petals in a dry dark place. Then simply store them in an airtight container and infuse a teaspoon in hot water as you please. Many people enjoy chamomile tea as a caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea.
To grow chamomile, plant seeds in full sun or light shade during late winter/early spring. Bury seeds as deep as the height of the seed and keep the soil moist.
Shop chamomile seeds here.
How to grow and brew Echinacea
Echinacea is a purple flower with a prominent central cone, giving it the more common name of ‘Coneflower’. They are loved by pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies, making an attractive addition to a cottage style garden.
After watching your flowers bloom, they make a lovely cut flower, or are also widely used as a medicinal herb. The herb encourages the immune system (by increasing white blood cells) and reduces symptoms of cold, flus and other illnesses.
To make echinacea tea, simply harvest the cone-shapes flowers and infuse in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can dry the flower heads in a dry dark space for a few weeks. Once dried, store in an airtight container and infuse a teaspoon of dried echinacea in hot water.
Echinacea tea on its own is quite an acquired taste, that is why it is commonly combined with other herbs to produce a more pleasant-tasting tea. If you’re not fond of echinacea tea, simply add mint or lemongrass to your brew for a milder taste.
To grow echinacea, plant seeds in free draining soil in a sunny location. Bury seeds as deep as the height of the seed and keep soil moist.
Shop echinacea seeds here.