Monday, November 3, 2014

Drought, Lawn Dormancy and Conservative Irrigation

Among the many extreme weather phenomenons that we have been experiencing over the past year is extreme drought in many parts of the United States leading to dormant lawns and cracked dry soil in fields where food crops should have been growing. Cattle farms have been affected because there is not enough feed for the animals. The trickle down affect is felt in our pocket books at the food store and in other areas. Though our drought situation in the northeast was not as extreme as in other parts of the United States, we have experienced enough to see lawns go dormant.

Under normal circumstances, there is nothing wrong with allowing a lawn to go through dormancy, it does this naturally every winter and during dry spells. It can become completely brown, and look like a hopeless situation, only to return to it's vibrant green color when rains return.

Some in dry climates where there are are no restrictions on water use will water their lawns with irrigation systems.  To conserve water, it is best to use a system that gives just enough water to the lawn without wasting such a precious resource as water. This this can be controlled using timed watering systems, or a slow drip system.

So if you have plans to do some landscaping on your property, consider whether or not your lawn and gardens might benefit from adding an irrigation system. Take time to draw your vision for your landscape design, and incorporate a proper irrigation system that will use water sparingly without sparing your property of the beauty you are looking for.

Image: Drought by Mrs_G on Pixabay

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Resurrection or Dinosaur Plant

A Resurrection Plant is considered by some to be a sacred plant, and not necessarily a medicinal herb or part of an herbal combination.  
It's remedy is in the pleasure one receives giving it, receiving it, or watching life come back to the plant after it has appeared dead.  If you are a Christian, as I am, you are reminded of Christ's resurrection from the dead after His crucifixion on a cross, bearing the sins of all who would accept and believe in the forgiveness it brought, past, present and future.  It is a thoughtful gift to give or receive during the Easter season when we remember Jesus death and resurrection.   

I first heard of the plant when my dear Mom, who has always loved plants and gardening, told me about a plant she is giving to my niece as a gift, a Rose of Jericho Resurrection Fern or Plant.

The plant is somewhat related to Juniper, and it is one of the earliest plants to inhabit the earth, it has been here for millions of years. This plant can sit dormant and dry for incredibly long periods of time, many years, in fact. And then when you water it, life comes to it again! 

In the picture above, you see it in it's dormant state, and as it appears when watered.  The link on this page leads to the location of the image.  

This would be a perfect plant for someone like me, who finds it easy to forget to water my plants during busy times, and who loves the uniqueness of this prehistoric plant.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Soothing Properties of Slippery Elm Bark Herb

As you can see from the picture to the left, this is not a plant that you'll see in a little herb garden, or container garden.

Slippery Elm is the inner bark from an elm tree, that also goes by the name Moose Elm, Indian Elm and Red Elm. The tree is deciduous, and grows in various parts of the US and Canada.

This is among my favorite plant remedies. It is very soothing to an irritated intestinal tract, whether it be caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Colitis, diarrhea, constipation, or any simlar condition. 

I use a tablespoon of a bulk powdered form, and shake it in a tumbler with water, and drink. It is good to drink right away, as this is a mucilaginous herb and will swell in the water....but it is this very property that soothes and coats the intestinal system. Sometimes I take it in capsule form with lots of water. I love the soothing benefits of this medicinal herb.

It is also a great at balancing the intestinal trace, helping whether you are dealing with constipation or diarrhea.

Many writings on the herb will tell you that it was eaten as a gruel by George Washington and his troops when they suffered through the bitter winter in Valley Forge. It is highly nutritious food source. It was also used as a survival food by American settlers.

Image Credit: Ohio Dept. Natural Resources via Wikimedia

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Calming Synergy Between Catnip and Fennel

At one time I had Catnip in my garden along with the Oregano, Lemon Balm and Mint plants that still remain.  They are all in the same family, and all love to spread and take over the garden if they can.  But our soil in the area where they grow allows for healthy plants, but is not of a quality that lends to spreading. 

I have never grown Fennel. 

Fennel is a very fragrant feathery-leaved plant that is often used as a garnish. It smells much like anise or licorice. 
The full plant that you see here is in bloom. The base of the fennel plant has a large bulb that is above ground.  These are available in food stores to be used in recipes.

As for the coming together of Catnip with Fennel, herbalists combine the two to benefit both the nervous system and the digestive system.  The same properties that please cats are calming to the human body. 

If you are not sensitive or allergic to either fennel or catnip, this can be soothing to spasms in the colon and intestines.  

Some have used this combination for colic. 

If you would like a fact sheet about this combination, please comment and request one, I will not post comments that contain requests...all comments are moderated.

If you have used Catnip and/or Fennel medicinally and would like to share your experience, please do share in a comment.

Image Credit: Catnip - Forest and Kim Starr - Wikimedia Commons
                      Fennel - Alvegaspar on Wikimedia Commons