Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Common Name: Soldiers Woundwort, Staunch Blood, Carpenter’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Nosebleed, Bloodwort, Old Man’s Pepper, Noble Yarrow, Thousand Leaf, Thousand Seal, Old Man’s Pepper, Devil’s Nettle
Origin: Native to the northern hemisphere
Propagation: Root division or seed
A perennial, ground spreading herb with fragrant fern-like leaves 5-20cm long. Flower stems (white) are 30-60cm in length, often used in dried floral arrangements.
Yarrow will grow in sun or part shade and spreads easily in rich, loose soil. It seems to have a beneficial impact on other herbs and plants nearby as well as attracting beneficial insects, including ladybirds and predatory wasps. Yarrow also has insect repelling properties and can be used with other herbs as a spray on plants. It is also a great addition to your compost heap, working as an ‘activator’ of the composting process.
Prune after flowering.
Fresh yarrow leaves have a peppery taste and can be finely chopped and a little-used in salads, cheese dips or as a garnish. Leaves can even be steamed as used like spinach. Dried leaves, when powdered, add a pepper-like flavouring to your meals.
Common Name: St Robert, Storkbill, Cranesbill, Red Robin, Fox geranium, St Robert’s Wort, Bloodwort, Felonwort, Dragon’s Blood, Herb Robert
Plant: All year round
Harvest: All year round
Propagation: Propagation by seed
It is believed the herb was probably named after the 11th Century French Saint, Robert Abbot of Molerne, whose medical skills were legendary. Dies off in Summer to return in Winter (Sub-tropics). Annual 30-40cm, red stems and branches in many directions with green leaves 6cm length, both covered with tiny hairs. Dainty, bright-pink flowers with 5 rounded petals, each with a streak of white. Seeds self-disperse as mother plant dies. Plants enjoy shady, damp places especially stone paths. Has been observed to have an affinity with other plants and is not bothered by pests.
“If bothered by mosquitos when working in the garden, crush a few Herb Robert leaves and rub them on arms and legs.” (Isabell Shipard)
There are MANY health benefits attributed to Herb Robert and it makes a wonderful herbal tea.
Plectranthus caninus OR Coleus canina
Aka “Scardy Cat Plant” “Piss Off Plant”
Origin: East Africa and Southern Asia
Plant: All year round in warm climates
Perennial ground cover originating from East Africa and Southern Asia. Anecdotal evidence supports the claim it deters cats and dogs but it has been seen to outgrow and over time eliminate Nut Grass (Anne Gibson, Microgardener).
Dogbane likes hot, dry and sunny conditions providing a superb display of lavender coloured flowers in Winter and sporadically throughout the year. When dried it can be added to a Pot Pourri mix.
Grows to a height of around 30cm with 1.2m width. Easy to propagate from cuttings and doesn’t require harvesting.