Keep calm and drink Chamomile

I received an interesting text from a lovely friend of mine the other day. Acknowledging that I would probably be very busy doing what I do at the Tatton flower show, she wondered if I we could catch up. At the time of receiving said message I was up to my neck in thistles and cleavers in my clients rampant border and gleefully responded that alas, I was not ‘doing’ the show this year and would have to forego the opportunity of hobnobbing over a refreshing glass or two of Pimm’s. Then I wondered to myself…Has no-one noticed my calm and peaceful aura so different to the usual franticness that engulfs me at this time of year? Do they not sense the serenity that exudes from me as I waft contentedly through gardens and countryside, utterly at one with nature? T’would appear not.

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So let me explain. I have taken a year of from exhibiting at the show as middle child is in the process of leaving junior school and I wouldn’t have missed the cacophony of tear jerking leaver’s concerts and jubilant parties in the park for anything. These fleeting years are too precious. And also, our beautiful home has been extended leaving me with a never ending list of ‘job’s to do in the house’. (As I write eldest child is still pestering me to re-build her bed now that the paint is dry and the carpet fitter has fled and youngest child is insisting on a game of chess. Pesky kids!) Oops sorry, precious years and all that.

So, how can I be so calm in the midst of such chaos I hear you ask? Well, apart from avoiding the hurly-burly of flower shows I have taken Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Feelin’ groovy’ as my daily mantra.

“The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.

Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo,
Feelin’ groovy.

Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.

And, as if that isn’t enough, I have been dabbling with natural herbs with strong relaxant properties. Yep, you guessed it, I have been imbibing the chamomile.

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This gorgeous little cluster of flowers crept up in the middle of my overgrown lawn without me noticing. Then, one morning, there they were, wafting ever so daintily in the summer breeze. I hadn’t planted them there, not intentionally anyway. Is this what that the infamous folksters S&G were referring to when they wrote the immortal lines ‘Let the morning time drop all it’s petals on me’? Experiencing something so lovely and free and unexpected that your heart sings.

I had grown this annual herb last year to encourage my girls to venture out into the garden to pick their own chamomile tea ( I will go to great lengths to involve my children in gardening!) At the end of the season I emptied the pots onto the compost heap then, in early spring, used the soil to fill in a small hole in the centre of the lawn. And now, Hey Presto! my own little clump of chamomile.

IMG_0615My chamomile is the german strain Matricaria chamaemelum and is the best for making chamomile tea. It’s a hardy annual so sow the seed in situ in spring. Flowers are produced in summer and, to make the tea, simply pick 5-6 flowers on a sunny day, place in a cup and add hot water. Leave to brew for a few minutes before discarding the flowers, sit back and enjoy.

The medicinal properties of chamomile are very relaxing making this the perfect brew after a day spent tending the garden, writing blogs, entertaining children and building beds.

Although Pimm’s is also a very good choice…….but I will leave that for another day.

Obviously I couldn’t not visit the flower show at Tatton. I will be live on air with BBC Radio Manchester discussing all that the show has to offer and answering gardening questions between 11 am -12 noon 95.1 FM

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Harry (left) Cathy(right) and me ( middle).

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