Sweet and Herbal

Increasing daylight and warmer daytime temperatures, give us hope that Spring is slowly approaching. But, once the sun sets, that familiar chill fills the air and reminds us it’s still winter. Thoughts of enjoying a warm beverage like hot cocoa topped with marshmallows comes to mind. Only, your store-bought marshmallows probably do not contain any part of the herbal Marshmallow plant. Instead, they are a confection containing corn syrup and gelatin. The Marshmallow plant often referred to as “Mallow root” or Althaea officinalis, has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. Although the original marshmallow was made from this plant, it differed greatly in taste and appearance. The first marshmallow confections were made in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. All parts of the Marshmallow plant are edible. Marshmallow is moistening and cooling, with its roots and leaves being very mucilaginous and very valuable medicinally. When mixed with water, the gummy …

Herb A-peel

We’ve made it. We have successfully crossed through the intersection of summer and into fall. So fasten your seatbelts as we head into the holidays! Up ahead, the first signpost reads “Halloween.” We’ll be there before you know it. Now’s the time to enjoy Fall’s bounty of aromas and flavors with herbs! That is if the different viruses and maladies of the world will allow it. The mind naturally conjures up an emoji of a carved, smiling pumpkin at the mention of Halloween. Being the quintessential October garden herb, after all, recipes for using pumpkin abound. But one special herb that is available year-round happens to be red. It’s the true fall harvest herb. It’s an apple! This year more than ever before, apples will take precedence in recipes and drinks of all kinds, decorations too. Maybe you never think of our red friend as being herbal. But in defense, apples are …

SING A SONG

Looking back on what I can only describe as an unexpected, topsy-turvy year, 2021 surely will put things right. And of all things suggested to help cope with 2020’s chaos, such as prayer, meditation, nature, aromatherapy, exercise, and sunbathing, music was most helpful to me. Whether listening to the radio, old CDs, or simply bursting out with a song in my home or garden, music is my strategy to manage my stress and anxiety. As for my singing in the garden (when no one can hear,), I was excited to read some studies that claim music can tell a lot about gardeners. The music you enjoy can predict the type of plants you will include in your garden. If you play your preferred music while gardening, this will also predict how well your plants grow. Call it “Musical Garden Personalization.” If you love the “oldies” or nostalgic music, you will …

No Holiday Reindeer On This Roof

In Downtown Fallbrook, facing Mission Road, many pass a special green roof-top garden, and hardly ever take notice. This eco-roof belongs to everyone and it’s planted atop the town’s Library! It’s actually the first ever innovative and award-winning rooftop garden constructed in the San Diego Library system! The Fallbrook Woman’s Club, originally named The Saturday Afternoon Club, helped to establish the San Diego branch Fallbrook Library in 1913. It opened with only 250 books and occupied a small corner of Hardy’s Drugstore. The public was eager to withdraw books and did so in amazing numbers. There was truly a need for a library. Since then, the Library has moved a total of eight times and has undergone many changes, including an arson fire in 1985 that completely destroyed the building and its contents. The present day location boasts a state-of-the-art building. The architect designer described it as a modern “Fallbrook …

CATTAILS ON THE FALL MENU?

Pandemics, politics, protests, and then there’s ponds. Making it a point each day to pass a certain pond to pause and reflect seems to drive all negativity from the other P-words away. The view there changes daily. The color of the water, the wildlife it brings, and the beautiful plants growing in and around its perimeter are new with each visit. This may be a strange way of introducing you to one certain swordlike perennial plant that can be found there. But I have to set the scene. Right? It’s the cattail. Typha latifolia, also known as bulrush, reedmace, and corndog grass, is spread by rhizomes underwater and is not actually a true grass. Each of the tall slender leaves wraps around the main stem underwater or under the soil. They too spread from the rhizomes. Found in ponds or marshes, it’s considered an herbal plant because every part is …

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 …

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 …

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 …