Inhale something lovely, a sprig of lavender perhaps. What happens? Better yet, open the bottle of perfume your mother always wore. Memories flood in. Why?
Our sense of smell has been vital to our survival. We, in 2018, may not rely on that sense as we once did, but think about it: sniffing food to see if it is still edible, smelling the smoke of an enemy’s fire, detecting the healing properties of herbs through smell.
Our minds are a creation of the inputs coming from our five senses, and our sense of smell has the power to both heal as well as awaken memories. No matter whether it is a plug-in air freshener spraying out a vanilla scent or bath bombs from Scentsy Scent Circle that smells like mangos, it can take us back in time and flood our brain with memories, both good and bad. (more…)
Although it won’t be official until mid-March, when the Mexican government releases the winter’s population count, ‘unofficial’ reports are anticipating a rather small migrating population. These unofficial reports are coming from the El Rosario Sanctuary in Mexico (see video example from 2016 at the end of this post); a site that can sometimes be the winter home for over 50% of the entire monarch population in Mexico. Reports and photos show butterflies densely covering approximately 18 trees. That’s good news, but last year, reports were that 50 trees were covered.
That’s not good news, but it is a call to action: PLANT MORE MILKWEED!
We’ve written a lot about pollinators, monarchs, and natives. We think that they are really important, so forgive any redundancy! A few things to keep in mind:
- All Milkweed plants are Asclepias
- Milkweed is the required host plant for monarch butterflies
- Any loss in the population of milkweed means the loss of the monarch population
- We are losing both at an alarming rate
- The biggest threats come from urban development and agricultural intensification
“Nature is not a luxury, it is an investment”
~ Mark Tercek
CEO, The Nature Conservancy
The time is running out for many native habitats, but there is so much you can do. I have been working my land for the past 35 years, and I can now look over my conservation efforts and see that they have ‘borne fruit’. From the reclaimed crop fields to thriving natural habitats filled with butterflies, pollinator bees, quail, deer; everything that lives in our area makes their way into these ‘safe zones’. They are vital as their world is shrinking thanks to plows, mowers and not to mention other encroachments. This wasn’t a hard task; marginal crop land taken out of production and planted as early succession natural habitat. This effort was supported by state and federal programs available to landowners ~ it wasn’t a ‘break the bank’ effort, and we were also flooded with great information as well as direct payments from these programs.
You don’t have to own a farm to make a difference. A yard will work. But, you do have to have a commitment to leaving your land in better shape than you found it. We call it stewardship, and firmly believe that each of us has both a right and responsibility. (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
With over 35 years of growing plants under our belts, we began to focus on herbs in 2008. We’d always loved growing them, but honestly, the demands for perennials and annuals in our local market meant that herbs only accounted for about 20% of the plants we grew. Once we hopped onto the world wide web, and were able to really use data to research what people wanted to grow, but couldn’t get locally, herbs became our focus. For the past 8+ years, we had added more and more herbs to our lineup. Now, we are offering over 160 different types of herbs for you, our customers!
But, since we are growers and addicted to growing a variety of plants, we’ve been ‘toying’ with the idea of introducing a closely related group of plants. Of course, you don’t need to have a garden to grow plants. You can start with growing your plants in a container and transitioning, or just have house plants instead. You can even check out a website similar to gardenersdream.co.uk to get more information if this is something you’re interested in doing. Just remember that there are many different ways to achieve your garden dream, so, drum roll, please… (more…)
The sadness of summer fading can only be cured by the excitement of fall.
Cooler temperatures and the bountiful harvest draw our attention away from what was, to the beautiful changes before us. It feels good to bundle up in a favorite fleece for a morning jaunt into the garden. I hope you are making that little jaunt each morning; even ten minutes of trimming, weeding and piddling will brace you for the days work. Think of it as a kind of yoga or meditation practice. After a few weeks of practice, you get flowers and veggies. All that squatting down, reaching around, and scratching in the ground does kind of limber you up, and a few quiet moments looking over your plants does clear your mind, and those veggies will nourish your body and soul. Flowers brighten your day!
Fall is our favorite time to garden
Why would we not start the day in the garden? I don’t know because all of the above is true and we all know how busy and complex life is today. I try to visit my little home herb garden each morning, my excuse is to let the chickens out, but I always piddle and pull a few weeds or pick a little something to leave in the kitchen for dinner. This is a nice start for me because I also know that during the day, through some intrusive media source, word of mouth, or just something I see walking down a city street will give me pause. And I will truly wonder how the human race has gotten thus far. Since there is not much to be done about the world at large, one needs some means of maintaining sanity. The only salvation is a sanctuary, and home with a garden has the deepest roots. Whatever goes on elsewhere, it is grounding to know that the garden is there, orderly and bountiful. (more…)