Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Herb for Bees - Autumn food !

Lemon verbena or Aloysia citrodora would be one of my most favorite herbs. It is flowering profusely in the Herb Garden at Hamilton Gardens, filling the area with its bewitching lemony scent.

 Native to many parts of South America, this plant was taken to Europe in the 18th Century, where it became very popular and used in alot of different cooking styles. In Victorian times it was simply known as `the lemon plant` Today Lemon Verbena is used to flavor meat and fish dishes, puddings, cakes, my favorite being a refreshing drink infused with crushed leaves, left to cool and add soda water for a sparkling beverage !

Along with Solidago (Golden Rod), this beautiful bushy small shrub flowers late summer, early autumn, providing much needed nectar/pollen for honey bees and other pollinating insects, the white/pinkish flowers cover the plant. It does need to be planted in a warm, frost free spot and cut back hard each autumn after flowering as it tends to get straggly - but nothing else can compare with Lemon verbena for the best lemon scent after an actual lemon !

1 comment:

juliet said...

thank you for bringing back some sweet memories. I loved this plant as a child and have written about it in my memoir, 'Touching Snow'. You've reminded me how much I still love it and I'm resolved to plant one - for me and for the bees!