Thursday, May 28, 2009

German Chamomile

The summer after we moved into our house, we got to work on the landscaping. I must have dug out and gave away 50 hostas and just as many daylilies which still crop up here and there to taunt me. We cleared out areas for a rose garden, a perennial garden, an herb garden and of course, a vegetable garden.

That first year we learned a lot and the mistakes we made were many. For one, we planted 12 tomato plants because we apparently were intent on solving the hunger crisis one tomato at a time. I let the weeds get the best of me in the perennial garden. And, we discovered that two Labrador puppies do not care that they are stepping on tender seedlings and sprouting seeds, hence the chicken wire fence that now goes up around the vegetable garden soon after planting.

The most exotic thing (in my mind anyway) we planted in our herb garden was German Chamomile. My knowledge of chamomile didn't extend much beyond tea, so to see it in its flowery form was intriguing. We planted five little chamomile seedlings and were charmed by their frilly foliage, dainty daisy flowers and lovely scent. To me, chamomile smells like how honey tastes.

The next summer, when I was clearing out the herb garden, I saw tiny sprouts that were unmistakably chamomile...but...more sprouts than we planted last year. The Chef did some reading up and discovered that chamomile is indeed a perennial and is sometimes used as a ground cover. Yes, that's right, a ground cover.

We now have German Chamomile growing not only in the herb garden, but in cracks in our sidewalk, near my roses, around the lilac bushes, and sprigs of it against our fence. It's a sweet reminder of our first year as gardeners.

If you happen to have chamomile or want to grow it, here are some ideas for using it up:

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