Although autumn is here in full swing, my garden is still full of life and abundance. We have yet to have our first frost, so there are still cherry tomatoes on the vine. Greens such as swiss chard and lacianto kale are growing prolifically amongst the blooming asters and toad lily and there is still quite an abundance of parsley making it's way into many a meal these days.
Another herb that is still growing strong is lemon verbena, an herb that I most recently fell in love with. I have my neighbor to thank for that who gifted me a little brown bag of homegrown lemon verbena tea for Christmas a few years ago. That spring it was the very first plant I bought at the nursery and I find that each year I buy a few more plants than I did the last. I tuck them in to as many pots and planters as possible amongst other herbs and annual flower. I love it's bright green leaves and it's spindly, trailing habit.
I use the leaves fresh in both iced and hot tea throughout the summer and in late summer I begin to dry the leaves to store a way for winter. A few weeks ago we were threatened with some cold night time temps. Since lemon verbena is an annual I pulled a few plants from my pots and hung them in my pantry to dry.
Because the leaves are a bit more dry and tough compared to mint or basil, lemon verbena dries quickly. Simply hang in a dry, cool place. In about 7-10 days strip the leaves from the stem and store in an airtight container. To make tea , simply place a handful of leaves in a teapot, cover with boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes. I like my tea with honey but it's also delicious plain both hot and cold.