About Us

Ginny Clayton of Northland, New Zealand, runs Ginny's Herbs. Ginny has extensive experience in organic and biodynamic growing, and was one of the forerunners of this method of market gardening in New Zealand.

Ginny spent many years helping run large market gardens, and became interested in organic gardening in the early 1970s. After attending seminars and workshops, Bio-Gro organic status was achieved, followed by Trans Demeter Certificate for a 117-acre farm and market garden at Whatitiri in Northland.

Biodynamics kindled Ginny's interest in herbs. She began to build up a herb business to the point where Ginny's Herbs was supplying all of the garden centres in Whangarei in the 1980s. A natural progression was into old types of vegetables, including endangered species, which has now developed into her `Old, Tried and True' non-hybrid vegetable and flower seed & seedlings seasonal catalogues. Ginny's seed range is growing, as she grows out several varieties each year under controlled conditions on her 6 acre property to ensure they do not cross pollinate. The emphasis being on encouraging others to save their own seed and help keep the best of the older varieties for future generations.

Ginny also grows out herbs from overseas -the selection of seed from overseas has to be done very carefully, to ensure that only GE-free seed is used. Ginny now has many varieties in her herb catalogue, and others becoming available each year. Companion planting also plays an important part, with these types of plants also available.

The website (www.ginnysherbs.com) then evolved, thanks to Donna Russell from E-Builders NZ Ltd, and this now has become a very important part of Ginny's business, with all the plants in her catalogues   being able to be ordered through the Internet (New Zealand customers only).

As the Garden Centre trends changed, Ginny's Herbs developed into a mail order business, with only one garden centre (Palmers Garden Centre   in   Whangarei)   being supplied.

 Ginny was one of the intial stall holders at the Whangarei Growers matket, and was a regular there for 10 years, supplying organically grown many varieties of potatoes, old tried and true vegetables, and of course, her herbs and seedlings.

Ginny has been a regular feature writer for the local   “Tangihua Times” since its inception several years ago, and is delighted with the feedback from her articles. Ginny also writes for and can be contacted through Landscapedesign.co.nz, and has recently become the culinary herb writer for Scene magazine in Whangarei.

Ginny teaches CEW night classes at Kamo High School, Whangarei, and her classes have been on many subjects including all aspects of herbs, potager/cottage gardening and organic growing, etc. Her courses on making herbal ointments, cosmetics, etc are extremely popular.

Being a third generation preserver of fruit and vegetables, Ginny also teaches courses on the various methods of preserving fruits, making jams and pickles, etc.

In 1998, Ginny Clayton was runner-up in the Businesswoman of the Year competition in Whangarei and ‘Ginny's Herbs' won the best outdoor site at the Dargaville Field days in 2001.

Lifestyle Farmer magazine has published two articles about Ginny and her business. One, written by Ginny, was about old potato varieties and appeared in the September 2001 issue; the other written by Sandra Bogart, was about her herb garden design service.

Ginny has had articles published in the Weekend Gardener magazine in 2008, and was invited to film a segment for Campbell Live, which aired on July 1st, 2008.

Ginny's first book was puiblished in April, 2010. It is called 'Ginny's Herb Handbook-a guide for New Zealand and Australian herb lovers'. She really enjoyed writing this book, one of her dreams come true, and it will be available through the website from 1st May and in all bookstores at $24.99.

Here is what the Bateman book promotion says:
"One of gardening's greatest pleasures is growing herbs & using them fresh from your garden. Ginny Clayton shows you how in this handbook for the modern herb grower. From culinary herbs such as Thai basil and French tarragon to herbs for healing, including comfrey and chamomile, Ginny describes how to propagate, raise and maintain over 60 herbs using organic growing methods. There are tips on how to plan your kitchen herb garden, companion planting, which herbs to plant to attract bees, and which ones repel insect pests. Also included are delicious recipes using fresh culinary herbs that boost flavour and your health, and how to make herb oils, butters and vinegars and relaxing and refreshing herbal teas. Easy to use and full of great advice, this friendly guide to homegrown herbs is all you need to get started on the road to a more herbal, and healthier, lifestyle."

Herb Recipes

Traditionally served with roast lamb, mutton or hogget.

3-4tbsps of freshly chopped mint (common type),
1/4 cup of boiling water, sugar to taste (about 2 tbsps),
1/2 cup malt or white vinegar, salt to taste if needed.

Put mint into a small serving jug, add boiling water and sugar. Steep for a few minutes. Add vinegar and stir, then salt if needed. Serve.

Plants to Try

Coleus amboinicus, 30 cm Green fleshy serrated leaves, very aromatic. Mainly used as you would bay leaves, but can be chopped and used in salads etc if you like strong flavour. A succulent type...

$10.00

Cynara scolymus 1-2m Biennial, this large stately plant has leaves that are edible when young, and the edible fruit. It looks magnificent as a wind break or hedge, and the leaves are in demand for...

$4.45

Borago officinalis 50cm Annual, self-seeds; known as the friendly herb. Flowers can be crystallised and frozen in ice cubes, flower rings. Use small leaves in salads; they taste like cucumber. Try...

$4.50

Sanguisorba minor. 30cm. Perennial. Attractive plant with its small round leaves which taste like cucumber. Great in salads, herb butters, sauces and vinegars. Try floating them in soups, and...

$6.00

Cynara cardunculus, 1-2m. Perennial, and a magnificent foliage plant. Thistle-like blue or purple flowers in late summer - these are popular in dried flower arrangements. Plant 1 m apart. Young...

$4.45

Symphytum officinale, 40cm Winter dormant. Perennial,A most valuable herb for gardeners - full of potassium for the compost.A spray made from the leaves is a good fertiliser, and the plant is...

$5.00

Antheum graveolens, dwarf type. not recommended for midsummer or mid winter. Very versatile herb. Try leaves in savory dishes, soups as well as the traditional fish dishes, and for garnishing....

$4.50

Coleus cannis, 40cm. Another succulent type,does well in dry places as ground cover. It has a smell you either like or hate, which is said to repel dogs. The flower is purple, not unlike a...

$5.00

1m. A wonderful statement plant; with its magnificent flower/ seed head which can be dried, and painted if desired, for floral arrangements. The original `teasel' used in Great Britain for...

$5.00

1m square This vigorous spreading geranium has a strong lemon scent and pink flowers.

$5.00

Pelagonium tomentosum 50 cm Perennial. This plant is a large, sprawling grower, with very fragrant large furry leaves, and looks as if it is covered in snow when its flowers are out. It has been...

$6.00

Cymbopogon citratus, 70cm. Perennial. The East Indian one does well up here in the North, and seems to have a sweeter flavour. With its red stems it is very decorative, and looks good in a pot....

$5.50

Marjorana hortensis, 50cm. A tender perennial shrub, and a good bee plant - also known as Knotted Marjoram, because of its flower shape. Used for many culinary dishes - my son loves it in Lasagne...

$5.50

Althea officinalis, 1m winter dormant Perennial.. Try a tea made from the leaves to aid coughs and bronchitis. The powdered or crushed roots make a good poultice.

$5.00

Artemisia vulgaris, 1-2m. This herb is not recommended for planting in a small garden - here in the North it grows rapidly with strong suckers, and can easily choke the rest of your garden! It is...

$6.00

Verbascum thapsus L. 2m in flower. Biennial, with huge woolly leaves and a magnificent flower spike of yellow flowers. This herb has been around for centuries, and has had many interesting uses,...

$5.00

70cm Perennial, this beautiful green-leaves oregano is a typical ground cover all year until summer, when it sends up flower stems, covered in little pink/white bell-like flowers. The leaves can...

$6.00

40cm. Perennial, with lime green leaves, which deter the insects. It has white daisies with yellow centres. A very pretty plant, and great as a border. A cousin of Feverfew.

$5.00

Eruca sylvatica, 30cm. An ancient Roman herb, this one is more tangy than salad rocket, with cute edible yellow flowers. It grows in a clump, and has serrated green leaves. ! per order please.

$5.00

Prunella vulgaris. This perennial ground cover has an unusual pinky/purple flower. It has several medicinal uses- as eyewash, mouthwash, poultice to clean wounds. It is also known as one of nature...

$5.00

Allium fistulosum, 50cm. Perennial, so nearly lost, these are bunching onions - use either the leaves (as you would chives), the bulbs (as you would shallots). Lovely mild taste.

$6.00

Achillea millefolium, 60cm. Perennial, spreads. Good ground cover. Many uses, including being one of the bio-dynamic preparation herbs. Use the young leaves in salads, make a tea from the leaves...

$5.00

Unsure what to give a gardener for a gift? I have available gift vouchers for $10.00 or $20.00. Note: gift voucher comes out to $10.00 when GST is added at the end of purchase.

$10.00

Unsure what to give a gardener for a gift? I have available gift vouchers for $10.00 or $20.00. Note: This gift voucher is for $20.00 when GST is added at end of purchase.

$20.00

Easy herbal Flea Spray
1 teabag each of chamomile, valerian,licorice and mint teas.
(or 1 tsp each of the fresh herb.)
Witch hazel
Small spray bottle
Method:
...

$0.00

Aromatic Herbal Flea Spray.

4 tbsp. white cedar essential oil
2/3 cup rosemary essential oil
4 tbsp. peppermint essential oil
½ cup citronella essential oil
4 tbsp....

$0.00

Anti-flea pet pillow.
2 pieces strong fabric, about 8 inches square.
2 cups dried pennyroyal
1 cup dried wormwood
1 cup dried lavender
1 cup dried rosemary
1...

$0.00

1 cup lavender flowers
1 cup rosemary
1 box baking soda
Mix well, sprinkle over vacuumed carpet. Leave overnight, then vacuum again.
To remove fleas from carpet: sprinkle...

$0.00

½ cup cloves
½ cup whole black peppercorns
4 sticks cinnamon, in small pieces
Mix altogether, put in little bags and use where needed.

$0.00

For all hair types.
Make a triple strength herb vinegar with finely chopped lavender flowers.
To use: ½ cup hair rinse to 4 cups warm water.

$0.00

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Ginny's Courses

Check here to find out more about Ginny's courses and workshops. These are held at a variety of venues around Whangarei.