Lemon Verbena – Tweaked

CIMG1766So there we were, walking back from an evening meal out at a local cafe.  Ambling along hand in hand, and then got to dawdling along the railway path – the last stretch back to the flat – and stopped to wonder at all the plants.  The rose on the wooden pergola is going absolutely bonkers and is at this moment dripping in flower buds.  When it all opens up – and the roses will very soon come into blossom – it will be glorious.

I was busy grubbing out some of the low growing weeds – pernicious buggers and it takes vast amounts of persistence to rid the ground of them.  The big guy was re-weaving rose stalks to get them from being too tangled in the metal fence rails (already looking forward to painting the fence later this summer).  And then we both stopped and together paused to marvel at the lemon verbena.

It arrived to us as a bare twig – leafless – with a long tap root that seemed to be growing down and then vertical (as if planted previously in a spot that eventually hit buried paving, which is entirely possible in this part of London, with repeated demolitions, rebuilds).  The super-dude was sceptical.  ‘Do you really want me to plant this thing?,’ he asked with incredulity.

‘Yes.’  Like all things in life, it had two chances.  To thrive or die.  But at least we could give it the chance to thrive before it died.  Or so I figured.  The bare twig and root was duly planted, and thereafter watered.

‘Can I pull it out now?’  ‘No.’  And so the twig was watered and a sceptical eye was kept trained on it.  Until one weekend the twig was almost furry with tender emergent green growth.  And now, a month from the first sign of life, the verbena is growing with vigour.  I leaned over the fence and pinched off a growing tip.  Bruised the leaves.  Then passed it to Mr G and said ‘Smell this.’

Love at first sniff.  I showed him how to pinch off the growing tips to encourage bushier growth.  And then we pinched off the top leggy growth from the very top of the plant.  And decided, after standing enrapt by the perfume of the strong lemony scent, to return directly to the flat and make ourselves a sharp cocktail with verbena garnish.

Vesper-G&T-drinks-1We can only issue warnings.  It is so incredibly simple, absolutely delicious, and completely and dangerous more-ish.

You’ve been warned!


Verbena Vesper 

  • 1 measure gin
  • 1 measure vodka
  • 1 measure white vermouth
  • bruised sprig of lemon verbena
  • ice as desired


Verbena G&T 

  • 1 measure gin
  • top with tonic
  • bruised sprig of lemon verbena
  • ice as desired


About smallPaws

A tumbleweed from Canada who's been living in London for twenty or so years.
This entry was posted in back patch, diary, perennials, recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

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