The Community Herb Beds in Colliers Lane were the work of Liz and David Hutton and now developed by Anne and Martin Horne with the help of our Lengthman Peter Hallas and others of SIB. Liz was approached by Shadwell in Bloom for advice on the project. She was both very knowledgeable and keen to be involved. The five raised beds were initially constructed by Martin and Norman and on a wet afternoon a wide range of herbs which Liz had grown or nurtured from seed, were planted. They looked and smelled wonderful!

New bed frames are now in place for 2021 to continue this unique facility. 

To encourage people to help themselves Liz produced handouts with information about all the herbs (2013 details reproduced below) and these, together with a range of books about Herbs are available in the Library. We hope that, in time, more people will wander up to the beds and help themselves and add an extra something to their meals.

Herbs for Culinary Use

Allium, Chive. Indispensable in the kitchen. The leaves add a mild onion flavour to salads. Mix with soured cream to liven up baked potatoes.

Aloysia, Lemon Verbena. Add leaves to flavour oils, vinegars, fruit, jellies and cakes.

Archangelica, Angelica. Stems of second year growth candied or cooked with fruit. Young leaves can be chopped up and added to salads, soups and stir fry dishes

Borago officinalis, Borage. Leaves give a cucumber flavour to drinks and are traditionally added whole to Pimms and wine based drinks. They are also chopped in salads and soft cheese. Fresh flowers are added to salads or used as a garnish.

Artemesia dracunulus, French Tarragon. Combines well with chicken, fish, rice and salads. Pick fresh leaves and stalks to make tarragon vinegar.

Callendula, Pot Marigold. Add young leaves to salads. The term “pot” marigold refers to its use in the cooking pot.

Cynara, Cardoon. Popular as an ornamental plant for adding structure and height. The seeds that follow the flowers are a good food source for birds.

Foeniculum, Fennel. Use the leaves for salads, the stems on barbeques to add flavour to meat and fish and the seed ground as spice for use with lamb, pork and vegetables.

Fragria, Wild Strawberry. Pick leaves to use fresh or dry in late spring before the fruit sets. Pick ripe fruit from summer to early autumn.

Helichrysum, Curry Plant. Sprigs are added to rice, vegetables and savoury dishes to give mild curry flavour

Laurus, Bay. Can be picked for use fresh or dry. Leaves are an important ingredient of bouquet garni and added to sauces, soups, stews and desserts.

Lavedula, Hardy Lavender. Hidcote lavender. The flowers are used to flavour sugar for making biscuits and cakes. A few leaves can add flavour to roast lamb.

Levisticum, Lovage. It is a forgotten culinary delight which adds a meaty flavour to dishes and makes a wonderful soup. The leaf and seed can be used as a celery salt. Leaves are added to salads and savoury dishes.

Mentha, Mint. Spearmint/garden mint a popular culinary mint particularly good for making mint sauce and adding to salads, mint jelly, and to flavour yoghurt as a savoury dip. Applemint as for spearmint but the hairy leaves are less suitable for garnishing. Peppermint and chocolate mint are used to flavour sweets and ice cream. Peppermint can be used for tea. Gingermint leaves may be floated in fruit cups and summer drinks.

Origanum majoram, Origanum. A favourite in the kitchen. It combines particularly well with tomato dishes, pasta, meat (especially lamb) and fish. Commonly found on pizzas and added to dried herb mixtures. It is an ingredient in bouquet garni. Great with cheese and vegetables.

Petroselinum, Parsley. Parsley leaves are a key ingredient in bouquet garni and are widely used in cooking. French flat leaf parsley has a stronger flavour than curled-leaf varieties. Both varieties are lovely used in sauces, soups, stuffing, and savoury butter or simply tear up the leaves and add to salads.

Rosmarinus, Rosemary. Most versatile and useful herb in the kitchen. A classic flavouring for roasted lamb, stew and casseroles. Used sparingly it adds spice and interest to cakes, biscuits and sorbets. Fresh sprigs steeped in vinegar wine or olive oil flavour sauces and dressings.

Salvia, Sage. Common, purple, tricolor, icterina and pineapple leaves are used to flavour Mediterranean dishes, cheese, sausage, pork and other fatty meat. It is also made into stuffing. Leaves of pineapple sage may be floated in drinks and added to fruit salads.

Thymus, Thyme. An essential plant for any herb garden. Upright thymes (Common vulgaris, foxley & golden) are classic thymes used in bouquet garni and widely used as flavouring in marinades, meat, soup, stews and casseroles. Silver Queen Thyme leaves have a strong lemon scent and combine well with chicken and fish dishes.

Tropaeolum majus, Nasturtium. The seeds, leaves and flowers all have a piquant taste and can be eaten in salads. Chopped leaves give a peppery flavour. Seeds can be picked and used as an alternative to capers.

In 2015 a notice at the seating area adjacent to the Library highlights the features and availability from the Community Herb bed. In 2016 we placed a notice in Colliers Lane to encourage more use of scissors.

PS: Liz has discussed a large scale replacement schedule for 2019 and will report back on progress.