Aug 08 2005

Un Jardin de Simples

Dear Sally,

It is a long time since I wrote you my last letter. But I have to say the winter and the spring had been so dull, cold and without any interest this year, I hibernated a little bit like all the plants in my garden!

But life is starting again and I have now a lot of work to do in the garden. This year is special because as the work in front of the house are at last finished I can design the front garden as it will stay, I hope, for a long time.

We decided, at the front of the house, to stone the all yard with old flat stones we had left from the building. I planted a lot of wonderful climbing rose trees but only old English roses! They are so beautiful on that old granite wall and they really love it! At the front it is very hot so I decided to plant what we call in France “un jardin de simples”.


The simples are the plants used in medicine and cooking. I have now 4 different kinds of mint, one of them very interesting because you plant it between the stones, it is spreading everywhere with a very strong smell and you can walk on it! It is called “Menthe Corse”.

Blog_june05_004 I planted an Angelica and I hope it is going to like the place; it is so beautiful with its big blue flowers and so good to preserve the stalk for desert and puddings. I found to some funny sages like the “giant sage” and the “ananas sage” which you can use in cooking. And indeed a lot of different lavenders; I am starting to use it more and more in cooking and it is very good. I will speak about it later in my letter. I planted to, indeed, the essentials: different sorts of thym, chives, taragon, origan etc… I love to have just to open the door when I am cooking and to cook with the plants which inspire me when I looked at them!


There are a lot of others but I have to go slowly to understand after a summer and a winter if they like to be where they are or not.

The yard is full of wonderful butterflies gathering nectar from one flower to another and we are seeing some species we had never seen before!

In my vegetable garden the only special thing I am trying is melon! I have to cross my fingers with the weather but it seems we are going to have a very hot summer. Otherwise I planted ordinary summer vegetables. I am, this year concentrating all my energy for the front.

At the moment it is the full season to harvest thym, lavender and sage flowers. If you want to keep a strong perfume to the culinary herbs like thym, rosemary, sage, taragon etc. You have to cut the flowers when they appear. I started to freeze them and use them salad and different dishes with fish and meet. To freeze them you need not to dry them, the perfume is stronger if they are not and what a joy to be able to serve fresh flowers in the middle of the winter.

I have done too a lot of mint, sage and lavender sauce. It is very easy to do and keep very well for month. Pick up the leaves, put them in a granite pestle with some grains of natural coarse sea salt and pound them when you have something looking like a purée put it in little jars and cover it with a good olive oil from Firenze. 

Keep them in a shadow place but not in the fridge. Do not add any vinegar it is keeping the genuine perfume. You can mix different kinds of the same species for instance 2 or 3 different mint. Use this sauce either like accompanying for meat or fish or in cooked dishes.

I give you some recipes I have done with my herbs.

Salad of the season

Porc in sage sauce

Lavender cream

One response so far

One Response to “Un Jardin de Simples”

  1. nick westcotton 16 Dec 2008 at 10:14 am

    I like your site. I live in France and have been trying to find Menthe Corse for some time without success. Where did you get it?

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