Barbara Segall at Jekka’s HerbFest 2021

Photograph: Debi Holland


In early July I was one of the guest speakers at Jekka McVicar’s first HerbFest held at Jekka’s Herbetum. The speakers at this three-day event included Mark Diacono, Josh Eggleton, Romy Gill, Nathan Outlaw, Chris Collins, Charles Dowding, Jean Vernon and Jekka herself, leading tours and sharing her expertise.

I led two tours of the raised beds in Jekka’s Herbetum, which are filled with virtually any herb you can think of, all in their summer prime.

It was so good to meet people who enjoy growing and using herbs and vegetables, happy to share their expertise and skills, a great opportunity to learn new ways of using herbs. One of the new ideas I picked up was to combine the dainty white flowers of celery leaf herb with salt to make celery salt.

Naturally I also came away with a few herb plants… Guild member Mark Diacono is the reason for the purchase of Korean mint (Agastache rugosa). I needed it to make his Pina Colada Mojito (page 262, Herb/ a cook’s companion, published earlier this year).

Another of my purchases was Eastern or Desert Mint (Mentha longifolia subsp. schimperi), which Jekka labels as the leaf for Moroccan peppermint tea.