Our resident horticulturalist, Niall is nothing if not a pragmatist. So whilst pottering around his own garden, Niall reflected on what he could eat and enjoy from his patch of earth…

“I decided to see what I could eat and use medicinally out of my little patch.”

Thankfully, the medicinal herbs and flora he uncovered are all perfectly legal 🙂

Take a look for yourself, then consider foraging in your own garden to see which of these you have and could use before dashing out to the shops or pharmacy…

Apart from the usual suspects we all know and love already (chives, peas, spinach, radishes, thyme, sage and fennel), there are a number of edible plants and flowers just waiting to add colour and flavour to your next meal. In Niall’s garden, he found borage flowers, pansies and violas, pink dianthus, citrus blossoms, radish leaves, roses, pumpkin flowers, scented geraniums, thyme flowers, chrysanthemum and marigolds. Nasturtiums are also on the menu and are an amazing natural antibiotic according to Niall, helping to alleviate sore throats too.

“Before you throw back a handful of any of these,” Niall adds, “Make sure they have not been sprayed, or have bees or aphids on them.”

Noted. Thanks Niall.

All of this foraging can be cold, exhausting work. So why not stop for a quick cup of tea. Instead of your usual ceylon version, Niall recommends making a fresh pot of tea from plants also grown and sourced in your backyard…

“Peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, orange and lemon blossom, or dandelion. All of these offer wonderful flavours as well as great health benefits.” Add a pinch of cinnamon and a dab of honey and you’ll be well on your way to chasing off the cold and any lurking head colds too.

Warmed by your homemade brew, now is the time to aerate your lawn, then cover with a light dressing and maybe some runners to hold the soil together.

For a friendly aphid controller, Niall recommends digging in your pantry to concoct this eco-friendly spray:

1 x head of garlic, peeled and bruised

2 x tablespoons of cooking oil

2 x cups of lukewarm water

Put all of the above into a covered bowl, blitz with a blender, then pour into a spray bottle and add 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid.

Leave overnight so the garlic can start to really work.

Then off you go – spraying any potential aphid-enablers as well as any family members who dare turn their noses  at your homegrown tea.