by Katie Farmand
Photography by Marcy Black Simpson
The spring air practically pleads with you to spend time outside enjoying the greening environment and balmy breezes. Now is the perfect time to cultivate beautiful plants, so why not turn a neglected corner of your backyard, some window boxes, or even a few pots indoors on a windowsill into an herbal tea garden? There are sundry simple-to-grow plants and flowers that perfectly lend themselves to tisane, offering a chance to try something new in your afternoon-tea ritual. Fresh plants contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that enhance immunity and promote overall wellness—and it’s easy to enjoy these plants in a refreshing beverage.
Herbs are easiest to grow as they need very little attention. Of course, the richer the soil, the more the plants will flourish, but even a scoop of earth from your yard will be enough. Flowering plants require a bit more sunlight and tending, but most are quite hardy. When growing plants indoors, keep a watchful eye on the soil, and avoid overwatering. Never use chemical fertilizers or pesticides on plants you plan to use for tea, and be very vigilant to avoid selecting plants that may be toxic—check with a botanical guide to assure the greenery and flowers you choose are safe for consumption.
Tisane made with fresh herbs, flowers, or even some weeds is refreshingly different, verdant, and smooth. Try using a combination of colors and flavors for an infusion as beautiful as it is delicious. To brew, place a generous handful of the greenery and petals in a warmed teapot, and fill with water just under boiling. Let steep for a few minutes, then taste, and either strain the tea or continue brewing until your preferred strength is achieved. Sweeten lightly with honey, if desired, and enjoy.
- Hibiscus blossoms
- Honeysuckle flowers (the berries are poisonous)
- Lavender (blossoms and leaves)
- Pansies (flowers and leaves)
- Roses (petals, leaves, and rose hips)
- Violets (flowers and leaves)
- Chamomile flowers
- Lemon balm
- Lemon verbena
- Lemon verbena, basil, and thyme
- Chamomile and rose petals
- Mint, lemon balm, and jasmine
- Parsley, dill, lemon verbena, and thyme
- Rose petals, honeysuckle flowers, violets, and pansies
- Chamomile, lavender, and mint
- Bergamot, lemon verbena, and jasmine
Fresh and Dried Herbs Courtesy of Possum Creek Herb Farm