Herbal Travels: Arboretum Trompenburg Botanical Gardens

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You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her bloghttp://lemonverbenalady.blogspot.com

It never ceases to amaze me that I can find herbs most anywhere that I can image. Our first full day in Europe took us from Paris to Rotterdam on the Thalys train. The Herbal Husband searched for a garden visit for me and found one in Rotterdam. Our Dutch friends were anxious to see the garden as well. We headed to the Arboretum Trompenburg.  With an arboretum, you would imagine all plants labeled and big specimen trees and shrubs and beautiful surroundings, not herbs. It was a treat to get the addition of herbs. 

Right near the entrance to the gardens, there is a restaurant with a courtyard garden fairly formal in structure with hedges and statuary. It was informal in the manner in which the herbs were planted though in containers in boxes. Although I didn’t ask, it seemed that it was a movable herbal feast. I think it is important that the boxes were easily moved indoors when necessary because The Netherlands does get cold and snow in winter.

Chives (one of my favorite herbs) and nasturtiums (another favorite) were growing very well. As you can see, you don’t have to have a large space to grow herbs and be able to enjoy them wherever you may have sun. Because they are such large trees in the surrounding area, they may have to move these boxes to get the maximum exposure of sunlight during the day.

Photos by Nancy Heraud 

Of course, what “herb garden” would be complete without lemon verbena. Of all the herbs they could have grown, I was very pleased that lemon verbena was included. 

We enjoyed afternoon tea while we were away. Here is a recipe from a cookbook called Lemony Herbs from the Pennsylvania Heartland Unit of The Herb Society of America and a recipe for Lemon Verbena Scones. I have not tried it, but The Herbal Husband’s middle name is half and half and he does not turn down a scone ever.

Lemon Verbena Scones

CourtesyPriscilla Plucinsky. SERVES 8 

• 3/4 cups half and half cream
• 1/4 cup fresh whole lemon verbena leaves
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup shortening
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon sugar

1. In a small pan, heat cream until very warm (not boiling). Remove from heat and stir in lemon verbena. Let steep for 20 to 30 minutes (doesn’t say covered but I think I would cover it). Strain mixture and discard herbs. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and baking soda. Stir well. Cut in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the strained cream and 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest to flour mixture. Use a fork and then your fingers to combine into soft dough.

2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Form a ball and gently roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick circle (9 inches in diameter). Sprinkle the surface with 1 tablespoon sugar. Place dough circle on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before cutting into eight wedges. Serve warm or cool. 

Hope you enjoy this recipe. I have an additional posting about the Arboretum Trompenburg on my blog at Lemon Verbena Lady’s Herb Garden

As always, if you have any herbal questions or comments, please leave me a comment here or e-mail me at lemonverbenalady@hotmail.com. Talk to you soon.

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