My guilty secret? Binge watching bad TV on Sunday afternoons after I’ve put the greenhouses ‘to bed’. I get the biggest kick out of the commercials, especially the one for a well-known heartburn medication. Basically, the message is this: stuff your face until your body produces so much acid to deal with so much food and take this pill so you can ignore the warning signs your body is giving you and keep stuffing your face.
We’ve lost the art of looking after ourselves. I know people who treat their cars better than they treat their own bodies. They know more about the intricacies of a football play than they do about their own emotional well being. We’ve become really dependent on other people and other properties to take care of what is ours; we are reliant on those ‘purple pills’ to feel good. We have started to treat the symptoms (acid reflux) but not the root causes (glutony).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m am both thrilled and lucky to have access to exceptional care in this age of ‘modern medicine’. And, we never, ever advocate the use of herbal remedies without the advice of health professionals. However, it is important to remember that for most of mankind’s history, natural medicine has been used as a preventative measure. I’m only pointing to the fact that there is an important role for medicinal herbs in the management of common health issues and in the maintenance of general health. (more…)
Ever since humans discovered the many, powerful uses of herbs and spices, they’ve been fascinated by their smells, their tastes and their medicinal purposes. What many people fail to realize, is that the simple herbs and spices that are growing in their gardens and sitting in their kitchen cabinets have had important roles in the history of human civilization. Before modern refrigeration, spices were one of the only ways that people could keep their food from spoiling or enhance its flavor.
Herbs were around before the advent of contemporary medicine, so mixing plant ingredients together in a homeopathic remedy was the only option for relief from some illnesses. From the opening up of the spice trade in Asia in the Middle Ages to the misdirected spice seeking voyage that led to America, spices and herbs have played a powerful part in our legacy as a people. Here are some of the most storied tales of the most popular herbs and spices used today. (more…)
As a grower, I tend to focus on the more garden-worthy properties of herbs. What attributes it brings to my many garden beds. The impact of those big white blooms of Angelica, the steadfastness of a reliable rosemary hedge, the mystery of Passion Flower, or the stark drama of my Artichoke.
But, as the years go by, my interest in the herbs I grow has extended beyond the garden and into the kitchen or the medicine chest or even my fledgling attempts at DIY. Yes, I’ve even made lip balm! So, in my research, I’m constantly reading about the health benefits of these plants. Look at my bookshelves and you will see that my lifelong interest has been the interplay between the natural world and man.
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food” – Hippocrates
A well-known quote and much used, especially as we become more and more interest in the dynamic relationship between our health, and the nutrients found in our foods. Additionally, a very concerning relationship as we are moving further away from our foraging past towards sophisticated hybridization of food crops to the point where we are ‘watering down’ the physiological punch of plant food. (more…)
And The Winner Is….
Congratulations to the winner: Solidago has been named the 2017 Notable Native Herb by the Herb Society of America. We won’t be hearing any impressive acceptance speeches from the winner, so let me do the honors:
‘I would just like to thank the academy, well actually, the Herb Society of America, for this incredible honor. I am truly speechless’
Or, if John Muir were still among us (and boy, do I wish he was) we’d use his own words:
The fragrance, color, and form of the whole spiritual expression of Goldenrod are hopeful and strength giving beyond any others I know. A single spike is sufficient to heal unbelief and melancholy
To keep our test garden growing strong through the winter, we’ve moved some of our favorite herbs indoors. Our sun porch has become a haven for potted herbs and one of our favorite places to take a break or eat our lunches. Receiving lots of sunlight, our potted garden has been thriving throughout this mild winter here in zone 7. Watering about once a week, our plants are showing lots of healthy new growth and it’s not even spring!
What started as a project to see what temperature and lighting worked best for these potted herbs, has now developed into a lovely place to relax and find a moment of peace during the day. Having these plants close at hand makes cooking and crafting even more enjoyable. Bring natural beauty and energy to your home with two of our favorite fragrant and functional potted herbs!
It is that time of year again. We spent months anxiously awaiting the first signs of spring – your perennial herbs emerging or warm enough weather for annuals. And, because we sell to every conceivable zone in the continental US that ‘just right time’ spans months. For us in Zone 7, we try to wait until ‘Tax Day’ but don’t always make it!
From Spring to Fall
Nevertheless, spring arrives and the fun begins – the act of planning shifts to actual planting, and more planting followed by pruning and tending and clipping. Using your herbs in all sorts of ways, because all we know, herbs are so versatile. All summer to enjoy the fresh taste of mint in tea, fresh basil on your Caprese salad, real dill on your grilled fish, tarragon chicken salad and a farm fresh chicken stuff full of fresh Bouquet Garni. We’ve done it all! For our clever DIY customers, the fun never ends while our homeopathic friends are creating all sorts of healing ointments, tinctures and teas.
But, we can all sense the change. Days are shortening, Helianthus and Joe Pye Weed are announcing the arrival of cooler nights. Fewer butterflies on fewer blooms. No more delighting in hummingbirds at the feeders. (more…)