One of my favourite plants in our polycultural permaculture kitchen garden, a mini food forest, is this perennial basil, holy basil or Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) because it has so many beneficial uses for us and the ecological system of our garden:
- it is very hardy, drought tolerant and low maintenance.
- it is almost constantly flowering which attracts pollinators and other beneficial insects
- its dense form provides protection for small birds that help with pest management - picking of bugs from other plants.
- it is a beautiful in-garden hedge with aesthetic structure.
- it provides a year round supply of flavour and nutrients for all kinds of meals - from it's leaves and seeds.
- the flowers are attractive as table flowers, but they are also edible, the scent they release into the room promotes clear breathing.
- it provides a year round supply of garden medicine - for coughs and colds, to fight infections, ease congestion and headaches, improve digestion and strengthen the immune system.
A favourite garden tea of mine is: this tulsi, mint, lemon myrtle, lime, turmeric, ginger & a dash of honey. Delicious. If I am feeling a little croaky, this certainly helps a lot.
Tulsi is very easy to take cuttings from, simply trim a section, remove the bottom leaves and plant directly into good soil, or put in a jar of water until roots form. I must have given away hundreds if not thousands of cuttings from my plants over the years. Giving herb cuttings is a great idea - sharing the abundance. Most herbs need to have a regular good trim anyway.
(Image by Evan Raymond, taken in our garden yesterday)
Labels: bees, gardening, herbs, perennial basil, perennials, permaculture garden, sacred basil