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  1. When the celebrations are over, despite knowing that the days are slowly and surely getting longer, January can feel like a long hard month. The prospect of going back to work, body feeling sluggish and bloated, indigestion is your new best friend, liver ruined by excess partying and all those relatives bringing germs and viruses, along with their gifts, from far flung places, the NHS stretched beyond capacity and imploring us to stay away with minor ailments ....

  2. I will be trading at the Stoke Bruerne “Village at War” weekend on 10th and 11th September. This annual event looks back at the impact of the Second world War on life in an English village.  Several people have asked me what herbs have to do with war, particularly World War2, and are surprised to hear of the crucial role the humble herb played in our nation’s health and survival.

  3. The towpath in Staffordshire was full of Comfrey plants, and this year the flowers seemed especially blue … they vary from pale pink through sky-blue pink to almost electric blue. My foraging fingers went to work as this is a good tea herb. It is also a great addition to compost heaps and makes a good liquid plant food.

     comfrey

    Other blue flowered herbs that are worthy of attention at the moment are beautiful starry Borage flowers. Loved by bees, these edible flowers are a pretty addition to salads, with a mild cucumber flavour and absolutely essential to Pimm’s. It does grow wild; I have seen lots on the Macclesfield Canal but it is also easy to grow from seed. Borage can be a bit invasive in the garden and the hairs on the leaves are irritating to some people.

     borage

  4. Well, spring has sprung … though it doesn’t feel very spring like here in Lancashire. However, seeing all the new shoots, blossom and early daffodils means my thoughts have turned to planting seeds for the coming year. The Herb Boat roof doesn’t allow for much gardening, but it is amazing what you can achieve in a few pots and containers.