Sweet woodruff and lemon balm

The floor of the shady woodland garden is lit with white stars; they speckle the sprawling, scentless foliage of sweet woodruff (Gallium oderatum). In contrast, away from the canopy of ash and cherry plum, light-loving lemon balm (Melissa officianalis) soaks up the sun and emits its aromatic citrus scent when brushed.

Combined in a cup of boiling water and left to steep for several minutes, these two create a calming tea: the woodruff, dried first to release its sweet, hay-like fragrance (belonging to the family of bedstraws, it was once used to stuff mattresses and scent linen); the lemon balm freshly-picked, to retain its fragrant oil (the melissa of aromatherapy, its name derived from the Greek for honey bee in testament to the plant’s popularity with our busy friends).

A spoonful of the honeybees’ sweet produce completes the recipe, sweetening its earthy, herbal notes.

 

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