COMFREY (Symphytum official) – The Herb Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

I used to have a large Herb Garden which I planted at my Parent’s Home about 30 – 35 years ago.  There were culinary as well as medicinal herbs and some……planted merely for their flowers or attractive leaves.  I think I had close to 45+ different herbs at one time, with 5-6 varieties of Thyme.  The variegated leaves were quite pretty flowing over the brick retaining wall of my Mother’s vegetable bed.    My Mother used to keep it watered in the Summer months when I was away working.

When my Parents moved into a retirement village (and I changed jobs and lived closer to the city), my Mother potted up quite a few herbs to take with them.  Apart from Parsley and Chives which my Mother knew well, this was the start of their using herbs more in cooking and in summer salads.

My own potted herb garden on my apartment balcony really only got going a few years ago.

Long-time followers will know I lived a couple of streets away from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne for many years and would spend many afternoons walking around the 38 hectare site, but my favourite place in Summer was The Herb Garden.  This became a sort of sanctuary after I had to quit working due to chronic illness and pain in early 2010.

It wasn’t until I walked its paths through every season that I came to know what Comfrey flowers looked like as I’d never seen them before.

Comfrey can become very invasive so best to give it an enclosed space.  It’s leaves are great in the compost heap too.

By the way, if you’re visiting Melbourne in Spring (Sept/Oct/Nov) and love gardens, ensure you visit the Herb Garden in the RBG, as that is the time when it’s at its best, although Summer is a good time too.

In winter the Herbs mostly die back and are pruned heavily and the deep shade can be quite chilly.

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