Mid-July, almost a month since summer solstice, hot days and thunderstorms, humid nights and fireflies. It all adds up to beautiful blooming plants waiting to share their deliciousness and medicine with us. A drive in the country is a visual feast with the blooming bee balm, vervains, sunflowers, daisies, yarrow, bird-foot trefoil (a family favorite of ours), red clover, and so many more. Then, at our You Pick Medicinal Herbs Garden, you will also be greeted by flowers of borage, hyssop, elecampane, boneset, calendula, California poppy, anise hyssop, and many others.
Not only is the garden a feast for the eyes, it is also a feast for the tongue. Add some tasty anise hyssop flowers to your water bottle - not only will it taste divine, but it may also help to dry up a drippy nose. Borage flowers have a yummy cucumber taste - add some to your salads as well as water. Some other tasty choices to add to your water (or salad) are mint, lemon balm, calendula petals, red clover flowers, marshmallow leaves or flowers, tulsi, thyme, spilanthes - I could keep going but need to get to bed soon! If you are a member of the farm's CSA, be sure to stop by the you-pick herb garden and pick some flowers and leaves to flavor your water each time you stop by the farm. If you are not a member, just contact me and set up a time to visit the garden. You could even take some extra home to add to make a herbal sun tea: add flowers and leaves to a jar of water, cover, let steep in the sun for a few hours, strain, and enjoy with a good friend or a good book. FYI- the lovely infusion pictured above, along with the basket of lovely blooms on the blog page, were collected by Charmagne, my faithful, weekly co-caretaker and volunteer weeder of the you-pick garden - thanks for all your help and sweet presence, Charmagne!
While you can use those same tasty blooms and aerial parts to make some great medicinal remedies, (along with some of the not-so-tasty ones, such as motherwort, yarrow, or the horehounds), I encourage you to enjoy their fresh taste this summer in hot or cold infusions. They are sure to refresh and relax your body, mind, and your soul. You're worth it.