Ruta Graveolens (Common Rue) is grown at Galeazza mostly for the beauty of its cool, glaucous leaves and because swallowtails love to eat it when they are in their larva phase… I don’t eat it or use it in the kitchen, and don’t flavour grappa with it, either. I also refrain from using it to kill unborn fetuses, even if I’ve read it can do the job…
Lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla (or Lippia citriodora), is a native of Chile and Peru. It is the most exquisite lemon scented herb of all - better than lemon thyme, better than lemon balm, somehow even better than lemons themselves!
In this area of Italy it dies in most gardens if left outside all winter, but here at Galeazza it grows along a south-facing wall and is just protected enough to die down each winter but grow from dead-looking woody trunks each spring.
A small plant of Winter savory was brought to the Castle of Galeazza by a Russian friend of mine, Dmitri Klimov, about 6 years ago. It has spread a bit, but isn’t taking over like some other herbs nearby (lemon balm, mint, rocket). It has a strong peppery taste. Good in beans and soups and stuff.
Not super silvery, but definitely one of my favourites, and silver enough to make it onto my list at Number 10. So here it is: Sage! One of the greatest herbs in the Galeazza Garden. I don’t care how common it is. I don’t care if it gets leggy as hell. I love it. I love its smell, its taste, the feeling of its leaves, and the colour of its flowers.
This puny little plant, number 12 on my list, is a fantastic cullinary herb originally from Crete: Origanum dictamnus. It isn’t very silver at the moment, but it used to be a clump of silvery, soft round leaves. It has shot up new growth with grey-green bracts and purple-pink flowers since I brought it home from a nursery near Verona a couple months ago. As usual, I was cruel and greedy, and so divided a small plant into six pieces, but they’re all growing very well, and will one year be six fine clumps.
It’s time to harvest the seeds that didn’t already fall God knows where in the garden. This is one ambitious volunteer, but I like to save a few seeds for friends. With a gorgeous structure, beautiful flowers, and an amazing aroma, Salvia sclarea (Clary sage) is a must for herb lovers.
Just let me know if you’d like to have some seeds, and I’ll send them to you. A little Galeazza gift!