Featured Herbs 2017
For Sale!
PO Box 2
Cornwall Bridge CT 06754
Phone 860.671.1545

Clary Sage Salvia (sclarea var. turkestanica)

An eyewash made from its mucilaginous seeds gave Clary Sage its name, meaning 'clear eye'. Also known as 'Muscatel Sage', it is exclusively grown commercially as the source of muscatel oil, used in flavoring and perfume. Clary wine was a 16th century aphrodisiac.

The second year produces beautiful huge flower spikes of purplish white and rose, highly recommended in the garden as a background herb to add color and fragrance. The dried flowers are aromatic and excellent for sachets and potpourris.

This plant has many plus points, it is easily grown in well-drained soil in sun or even partial shade. It grows well in poor soil resists slugs and other beasties, and doesn’t slump or need staking. In full sun, with almost no water, the large, grey-green leaves remain attractive all season long. 

 Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) 
 King's cure-all - Wildflower of Europe

Note: I purchased these seed from Ireland and the Leaves of these plants are much wider and rounded than the typical evening primrose in the US. pb

Oenothera biennis provides a wonderful splash of summer color in the garden. Flowering begins in June and plants continue growing throughout the season so there is a constant succession until about September.

Commonly known as Evening Primrose, in early summer the sweetly scented, bright yellow flowers open towards evening and are faintly phosphorescent. 
This introduced and widespread naturalised, although apparently a decreasing wild flower, has a bright nectar guide pattern, invisible in visible light, but apparent under ultraviolet light, which assists pollination by moths, butterflies and bees. The fragrant flowers are mostly fertilized by twilight-flying pollinating insects, along with moths and bats. Later in the season the flowers open all day but not have a scent until the evening. The seeds are also a good food source for birds.

Cultivation: 
Evening Primrose is a hardy plant that does best on poor soils provided they are well drained. It does best in sandy soil but will tolerate almost anything that is not too wet. It prefers a position in full sun but will grow well in areas where it can get sun part of the day. It will not grow in shade. Once established the plants are extremely drought resistant.

Medicinal Uses: 
Herbalists consider the leaves together with the stem bark, flowers and seed oil to be the valuable parts. They have been used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders, whooping cough and asthma. A tea made from the roots is also used in the treatment of obesity. Many modern herbalists use an extract in cough remedies. Culpeper said "as fine a salve to heal wounds as any that I know". Evening Primrose Oil is extracted from the seeds, which contain two essential fatty acids: gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) a rare essential fatty acid that the body does not manufacture and the relatively common linoleic acid (LA). Both GLA and LA are said to aid in the reduction of pain and inflammation. Taken internally, the oil is said to have an effect in lowering blood pressure and in preventing the clumping of platelets, it has been recommended in treating cirrhosis of the liver and is most commonly taken for premenstrual problems. 
 
Culinary Uses: Every part of this plant can be used! The leaves can be cooked and eaten as greens. The roots are edible if collected during the first year before the plant blooms. They can be boiled like potatoes and allegedly taste like sweet parsnips. 
The flowers are sweet and can be used in salads or as a pretty garnish. The young seedpods can be steamed and the ripe seeds can be roasted in an oven and used on bread or in salads. You can also sprinkle the roasted seeds over any dish like pepper. 
Origin: 
It is likely that Oenothera biennis, Evening Primrose, which is a North American native, was exported to Europe in the 1600's when cargo ships bringing cotton over, dumped the soil brought back as ballast and written descriptions of it began appearing. The plant was officially introduced in 1614 into Europe, and rapidly became known as ‘Kings Cure All’ because of its useful medicinal properties. It is now naturalized all over Europe. 

Note: I purchased these seed from Ireland and the Leaves of these plants are much wider and rounded than the typical evening primrose in the US. pb