Saturday, August 20, 2011

Here I Go Again

Just what I needed: another idea for my garden. Sigh.

When what I really need is to complete projects I’ve started or prepare spots in the garden for plants I want to get (or just get the last of this year’s acquisitions in the ground), I found another plant to add to the garden’s most wanted list. What caught my fancy this time? Hops. Yes, hops. The stuff beer is made from. No, I won’t be making beer. Heck, I don’t even drink beer.

But hops I like after being introduced to the plant earlier today courtesy of another master gardener. It’s a vine – one that will grow counter clockwise around a twine support I’m told. The hops flowers themselves are darned cute (sorry beer makers, that’s my opinion: cute), and cute will get the plant an invite into my yard. And its usefulness is not limited to beer making. My hops guru told me that hops can be used to make a tea or stuff pillows, which are said to aid in sleeping. Hmmm. Food for thought (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

When I got home I did a little online research. Among other things, hops tea is said to have a calming effect and is used to aid in inducing sleep. But would it be bitter? Have an odd taste of any kind? Using the cup of hops flowers I brought home with me, I brewed a cup of hops tea this evening. It turned out quite pale and mild, though the flavor likely would have been stronger if I’d let it steep longer. And while I didn’t notice any physical reaction apart from liking the flavor, it did make a pleasant cup of tea.

Yes, there will be hops in Deborah’s Garden next year. The only question remaining is where in the garden the hops will be. What I do know is that it will be a welcome addition to the garden, a pretty vine with cute cone shaped flowers from which I can make tea or vine wreaths and share the bounty with my beer making friends.

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