Jekka’s Complete Herb Book

Jekka’s Complete Herb Book

Author – Penelope Hobhouse
Hardcover – 256 pages
Publisher – Kyle Cathie; 2nd Revised edition edition


Jekka McVicar has spent over twenty years growing herbs. She knows from experience which herbs will grow, and grow well; and which will succeed when grown at home. Her practical knowledge as a herb farmer is second to none, and is constantly increasing as new varities come on the market, or as she experiments with improved species. Only the herbs that Jekka has first hand experience of are included in this guide – some 335 of them. All are accompanied by tips on seasonalcultivation, growing from seed and cuttings, along with their individual history. All of this is augmented by over 200 culinary ideas and recipes.

One of the most definitive books on the subject, “Jekka’s Complete Herb Book” is now available in paperback. Written by Jekka McVicar, organic herb grower for over twenty years and regular winner of RHS Gold Medals, this work contains her knowledge of over two decades of organic cultivation for both commercial purposes and pleasure. From the commonly known to the more obscure, 335 different herbs are examined in detail. Fully illustrated, each plant is given its historical background, cultivation details and uses, be it medicinal, culinary or fragrance. Mouth-watering recipes are included where applicable including those for fragrant oils and vinegars. The writing has a natural flow and is full of quirky facts and asides making an informative but entertaining read. Common names such as Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus), Balm of Gilead (Cedronella canariensis) and Black Horehound (Ballota nigra) are redolent of their ancient origins. Bee’s Balm (Monarda), Meadowsweet (Filipendula) and Evening Primrose (Oenothera) give hints as to their habits and habitats. The less well-known are also covered – the highly scented, aptly named Incense Plant (Calomeria amaranthoides) used in pot pourris, the aphrodisiac Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) with its unusual blotched flowers and the emetic Poke Root (Phytolacca americana) also known as ‘Cancer Root’. Original herb garden plans and in-depth propagation details are given together with harvesting, drying and storing techniques. Anyone considering planting herbs be it for pleasure or for their culinary use, in the garden or in containers, cannot go wrong with this valuable well-illustrated guide.

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