Grow your own botanicals
One thing you can do whilst self-isolating is take steps to grow your own botanicals at home. It's not as complicated as it may sound!
No-one knows more about botanicals than our friends at Spirit of Harrogate and award winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show gardener Matthew Wilson.
Here Matthew has since put together a helpful guide to growing your own botanicals, allowing you to create your very own botanical garden at home…
Herbs which grow well indoors, all year round.
Basil Grows well on a windowsill, out of direct sunlight but with lots of ambient light. Replant your supermarket purchase in a pot with a drainage hole to allow the plant to grow well.
Coriander Easily purchased at the supermarket and will grow well in a light place, out of direct sunlight. The leaves are wonderfully fragrant. When the plant flowers, the seeds, which are commonly used in gin distillation, can be harvested.
Citrus Trees Lemons, grapefruit and limes are all relatively easy to grow in a well-lit conservatory. They are fairly hardy and can withstand drying out should you forget to water them once or twice! There are special fertiliser mixtures which are designed to bring citrus plants to flower which will in turn lead to fruit. They can also move outside in summer, however make sure you remember to bring them in once the weather turns cooler.
Herbs which will grow well outdoors in a window box or pots.
Strawberries Ideal to grow in pots window boxes and hanging baskets due to their naturally trailing nature. Fruits are also less likely to be damaged by slugs and snails when grown in pots or hanging baskets, as long as these are large enough for the fruits to develop properly. Root bearing shoots can be re-potted and given as gifts or kept to expand your own crop! Strawberries are dormant in winter and begin to grow again in spring, producing fruit from the start of summer.
Thyme Ideally situated to growing in pots, out of competition with other plants. A free draining compost is also very important, this can be done by adding grit to your potting compost. Leave in a sunny spot. If you have a large enough trough to fill, thyme can create a beautiful tapestry of different coloured foliage. Although growth slows in winter thyme can be harvested all year round.
Lavender Lavender grows well in free draining soil in a sunny spot, and if this can be replicated in a pot, it will also grow well. Cut the flowering stems back in late August and dry them. Once dried they can then be placed in a linen bag, slipped under a pillow for an age old sleep remedy.
Rosemary A shrubby herb which thrives in pots and is used in a number of gins as a fragrant botanical. Rosemary enjoys the same growing conditions as lavender; a well-drained sunny spot. Rosemary can often benefit from being potted every other year to keep the plant healthy.
Mint As an aggressive spreader mint is best situated to being grown in a pot, provided it’s a fairly large one! There are a huge number of varieties, from traditional mint used in tea, to mint with a bitter dark chocolate tang.
Edible Flowers Many plants have edible flowers, all of which have varying flavour profiles and tastes. Primroses have a subtle taste but are a pretty garnish in salads and on desserts. Chives produce edible flowers with an onion tang which are great in salads, as well as nasturtium flowers which have a hot, peppery taste. These can all be grown in pots, or borders in the garden.