I picked some flowers today. Chamomile flowers. For tea. Supposedly.
I’m honestly not exactly sure what I’m doing.
Here’s what I know:
Chamomile tea can be made with either Roman chamomile or German chamomile. The two plants are totally different species, but their flowers, flavors and uses are very similar. German chamomile is a tall annual that grows quickly and will reseed in the garden, if allowed. Roman chamomile is shorter and perennial to about Zone 4 or Zone 3. I’m growing Roman chamomile in the garden, planted between the pavers that lead through the main vegetable beds.
Roman chamomile is not an ideal plant for growing between pavers.
Last year — the first year of growth for these plants — everything was fine. The plants stayed low to the ground, and produced these lovely cushions of green, ferny foliage. Not many flowers, which isn’t surprising for a first-year perennial. Overall, a nice, attractive, well-behaved plant.
Then, winter came, and the cushions of chamomile stayed green through the entire season. I hadn’t expected evergreen-ness. I was in love.
Now, it’s spring. And, it’s all gone to hell.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore these plants, and will continue to grow them. But, those wonderful cushions of foliage have now erupted into knee-high flower stalks. Walking through the garden is requiring some interesting high steps. The neighbors continue to collect evidence that I’m not quite normal…
I’m waiting to see what happens. If this knee-high phase is just a temporary thing — perhaps brought on by springtime and sunshine and overly-exuberant flowers — then I’m fine. No worries. These plants can stay just where they are, and we’ll get along fine. But, if this is some permanent change, well… The chamomile and I may need to have a more serious conversation. We’ll need to discuss relocation, almost certainly. Perhaps to a more out-of-the-way place in the garden. Or, to a corner of the yard where it can take over as a ground cover. But, certainly, not as the plant to grow between the pavers.
I really can’t imagine high-stepping my way through the entire summer.
But, back to those flowers.
I picked a handful. And, there are many, many, many more almost-open flower buds on the plants.
I suspect I’ll be collecting chamomile flowers for a while now. Fine by me: I like chamomile tea.
But, what to do with those flowers once I’ve picked them? I know the idea is to dry them. But, how? Do I need a dehydrator? Or, can I just leave them out on the counter for a few weeks? And, once that’s done, what’s the best way to store those dried-out flowers?
I clearly have some more research ahead of me. That’s ok. I’m a fan of research, and I’m also a fan of chamomile tea. We’ll figure this out.
Have you grown Roman or German chamomile before? Did you save the flowers and brew some tea? Was it wonderful?
I bet it was wonderful.