Blooming Chamomile

by Cynthia

Chamomile in bloom

Two years ago when we first put in a garden here I grew some chamomile from seed. That year I purposely let some go to seed in hopes of seeing it again the following year. Of course it did return as chamomile is so prolific at self sowing.

Last year I also let it go to seed and it is once again back and ready to be harvested. I don’t mind it self sowing as it is pretty easy to pull up when the seedlings are little if too many manage to germinate. Plus they are pretty easy to identify when they are coming up.

They are great at drawing beneficial insects. On a warm day I am amazed at how many little insects are buzzing and hopping around the chamomile flowers. It seems they like it as much as me!

I love the scent of chamomile and all of its medicinal properties. Although, I am not too keen on the flavor of just chamomile tea I do enjoy it mixed in with other herbs. I especially like it blended with catnip for a relaxing bedtime tea. Both are good at calming the nerves.

As much as I love to use the flowers and see them growing in my garden I really do not like harvesting them. It can be rather tedious to say the least. I go out in the morning once the dew is dry and hand pluck the flowers that are ready. It can take a long time to fill my basket that way. There is a tool that one uses to harvest blueberries that I know can also be used on the chamomile flowers. It is sort of like a rake that you run through the plant and it plucks the flowers for you. I have been eyeing one for awhile now but can never justify the cost. But when I go out to harvest some flowers I always ask myself why don’t I just break down and buy it!

Once I gather the flowers I let them dry completely before storing them in a glass jar. My favorite way to dry them is to lay them out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place them in the oven with the oven light on. The oven light gives off enough heat to dry them within a few days and still retain their color and lovely scent.

The first picture at top shows how many flowers I am going to need to go out and harvest once the rain lets up some. The below picture shows how much I have been able to gather and dry so far this year.

Dried chamomile

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