How do you decide on what flowers to grow in the garden? Looks, fragrance, attractiveness to wildlife and minimum effort are all key considerations for us, but recently we’ve been prioritising those plants we can stick in a mug of hot water to make a tasty tea.
If you fancy a caffeine-free hot drink then these five fab flowers are well worth finding room for…
1 German Chamomile
Chamomile is one of the better known floral teas around and its daisy-like flowers are easy to grow in borders or pots, giving you the option of making fresh cups of tea that taste even fruitier than when dried. There are two types of chamomile – the low lying Roman Chamomile and the taller German Chamomile – and it’s the latter that you want to seek out. It’s easy to grow from seeds and will give you regular pickings of flowers throughout the summer.
2 Pot Marigold
Add some bright yellow and orange colours to your garden with another easy-to-sow-and-grow flower, Calendula officinalis – commonly known as Pot Marigold (not to be confused with the inedible French or African Marigolds). The petals make a delicious, delicate cup of tea with a slightly sweet, earthy flavour, and they can also add those sunshine colours to your favourite herbal tea blends.
If you feel instantly calmer whenever you catch the fragrance of lavender, then consider converting those calming properties to a cup of tea or coffee by sticking a couple of flower heads in your next brew. We think that fragrance is well suited to milky drinks such as chais and lattés. For maximum brewing pleasure it’s the English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) you’ll be needing to grow.
Let the wild into your garden by growing some yarrow – its white (and sometimes pink) heads of flowers will be greatly appreciated by insects and you can use the flowers and leaves for a very underrated cuppa. Three to five young leaves or a few teaspoons of flowers are all you’ll need for a mug and you’ll be rewarded with a hot drink that has a tasty green freshness and bitter bite.
Look after your roses and you’ll get to enjoy both their flowers and fruits for tea-making purposes. The petals are best for adding their heavenly scent to other teas (try infusing a handful of dried petals into a packet of black tea for a take on China Rose tea) while the rose hips taste so fruity that commercial tea makers use them to increase the flavour of their fruit tea blends. Most fragrant roses are suitable but we like the plump-hipped Rosa Rugosa among the best.
Our latest book, Wild Tea, is packed with even more ingredients you can grow and forage to turn into teas and infusions. Learn how to grow, brew and blend in one handy book. Order now from Amazon.