Opportunity In Disguise

“Be careful what you wish for.” You might say my wish for more time to explore the things I love, minus the pandemic was granted. Although my heart goes out to those affected by the virus in any way, time to explore the many subjects associated with herbs has been plentiful. I have read books, articles, scientific papers, emails, and newsletters, gone on exciting virtual garden tours and herb walks, listened to podcasts, attended numerous webinars, zoom classes, and club meetings to my heart’s content. Too much to share in one newsletter contribution, I hope some of what I write may interest you. I’ll begin with tea. Tea recipes flooded my inbox daily. Teas for this or that, all to either soothe or lift your spirits during confinement. I found one particular tea, named the “last good nerve tea,” especially good hot or cold. Using garden herbs such as chamomile …

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Get Ready For That Garden Party

An earlier herb study introduced us to edible flowers. Realizing that we could elevate the look and taste of our dishes with flowers is exciting. And by eating them we could also actually enjoy many health benefits at the same time. Today famous chefs, as well as home cooks, use flowers as a matter, of course, to brighten up many different dishes. You don’t need a reason to include edible flowers in your presentations, but I can’t think of a better time to use them than with a garden party! Very soon, we will enjoy backyard gatherings with friends and family. Your herb garden can be your personal treasure trove of common and uncommon petals, stems, leaves, and stamens to showcase in your summer recipes. Just use your imagination. Zucchini or squash blossoms are a delicious showy way to either stuff, fry, or garnish a salad. You’ll be getting a …

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Herbal Solutions

Keeping well and staying that way is everyone’s priority, especially now. In a time when flu, new types of virus and even the common cold seem to be affecting many of us, herbs and their essential oils can help. While diffusing herbal essential oils won’t cure your ills, diffusing might just prevent these germs from attacking in the first place. Already under the weather? A natural, pleasant, aromatic environment will surely promote your physical and mental wellbeing. 100% pure organic therapeutic-grade essential oils are highly concentrated plant extractions of fruits, leaves, flowers or other parts of nature, collected through either distillation, cold pressing or resin tapping. I have been diffusing essential oils for over twenty years. I have found this type of aromatherapy is proven to positively affect overall health and mental faculties. Start your own essential oil apothecary with a quality diffuser and the top ten oils. Lavender, Chamomile, …

There’s A Thief In Your Garden

Chances are, there is a band of them. They invade at night, broad day-light, hot or cool weather, dry or damp soil. Their spores, seeds, and underground root systems are always at work. They might even drop in on Fido’s or Kitty’s fur, and then decide to stay for a while. They may fly in, via that big or small bird in the sky. However they appear, they are Thieves, stealing your plants’ lifeblood: water. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “A weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place.” Well, I have a lot of plants growing in the wrong place. And they are all laughing at me — a garden full of thistle and various other species of weeds, mostly growing around all my sprinkler heads; drinks on the house. I have been working daily, digging and pulling, amazed at the size of some of …

Put Your Herb Garden On A Diet

The goal of any garden is to create the “perfect” environment in which our plants will thrive in health and production. In January, I wrote about how to easily identify the type of soil in our gardens and a few ways to amend it. But, would it surprise you to know you could make and keep your soil healthy by just planting a few important herbs? Planting these remarkable herbs, known as “dynamic accumulators,” will do much to invigorate the nutrition of your soil. Accumulators are a special group of plants that have a special ability to absorb large amounts of micro- and macronutrients from the soil and store them in their roots, tissues, and leaves. These plants not only give back to the soil as they grow but also when they are returned to the garden as compost. Great news for organic gardeners! Some of the more outstanding herbs …

Nothing to Sneeze At

Food prices keep rising. Not news to you, I’m sure. They will continue to do so, albeit major crop damage or a catastrophic event. Consumers become resentful when price increases are inflated due to some trendy motive, as in the case of celery some months back. Funny how celery has been selling for under a dollar presently. But that’s not the case in this instance. Recently you may have noticed the price of black pepper. Yes, ordinary everyday black pepper. Sure, you will always pay more for gourmet varieties, but usually not more for common household pepper (piper nigrum.) It’s the most widely used herb/ spice in the world, and it now sells for as much as $6.99 for just 3 ounces. Why? This time the reason is plain and simple: supply and demand. Focus on health plays an important part for the demand. Black pepper will improve your heart …

You Are What You Eat

“Everything old is new again.” This familiar phrase is true of so many things, even in the herb world. Now I’m talking old, even ancient. Through the ages, great minds like Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Jacob Boehme, William Coles and Foucault all agreed on a particular concept, plant signatures. Because the belief that God endowed each plant with its own “signature,” so that we might identify each one’s health-giving benefits was shared by so many, it became “Doctrine.” The Doctrine of Signatures. So many fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, etc. resemble what they benefit most in our bodies. Once only an assumption, we now have the substantial scientific proof that they do. And this is what makes this old belief new and very relevant to good health today. Studies prove that eating pomegranate seeds, which resemble red blood cells, improves blood flow and blood pressure. A cut tomato will reveal chambers similar to …

Making New Years Resolutions

Holiday visitors have left, the decorations are back in storage, and hours of cooking and baking are over. Time to kick back and take a break from gardening for a few months. Stop right there; I think not. A good gardener never rests, especially an herbal gardener. Now’s the time to take stock. I have often said you should visit your garden every day. Take notice of what is going on. Have some herbs withered and died? Are others healthy, dark green, and flowering? It’s important to know how your garden looks with each seasonal change. The cooler weather is a great time to make improvements to your herb garden. It’s a time to plan, design, and garden in the fresh air, without your skin shriveling in the blazing sun. Start with the soil. Squeeze a good amount of soil in your hand, making a fist. What happens when you …

How Do you Like Them Apples?

Here he is again! That cute, confident, smiling little diapered one, complete with top hat and 2020 banner draped across his chest. We all recognize him. He’s Baby New Year, ready and eager to begin a fresh new year, a new decade. Some welcome him; some dread him. Did you know the image of “Baby New Year” started in ancient Greece? Each new year it was customary to place a newborn baby in a winnowing basket and lift it to the sky honoring the rebirth of Dionysus. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and god of wine (sounds a little like Lion King to me). Later in 1937, a magazine illustrator drew him with a top hat, surrounded by confetti as a symbol of a strong economy. And the image remained. Well, in comes the baby and out goes “Father Time,” an older but wiser man now. Also come the …

What About Bob?

There now; everything looks good. My computer shows the correct seats, the correct date and time. So with almost a giddy feeling, I press the enter button. The most wonderful time of the year. . . again. And I just purchased my annual “A Christmas Carol” tickets online. It’s a tradition. And you know what else is a holiday tradition in my house? It’s my peppermint candy canes! Peppermint is a natural part of the holidays. But, do you know why? Some say the original candy cane was just a white sugar stick used in the 1600’s by parents as a pacifier for crying babies during church services. Peppermint has a long history as a cure for digestive upsets. So maybe this is why the sugar was later combined with peppermint to calm babies’ tummies. The cane got its distinctive hook either because a 17th century German choirmaster convinced a …