Tag Archives: Herb

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Symbiosis

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Symbiosis

With all the talk of the Three Sisters planting, I couldn’t help but think that the appropriate Botany topic this week should be symbiosis.

From the Ancient Greek syn (together) biosis (life). As the German Mycologist Heinrich de Bary said, “the living together of two or more unlike organisms.”

For the purposes of a gardening blog, I’m going to focus on how different plants, growing together, help each other and fulfill the symbiotic relationship.

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Winnie-the-Pooh Garden

Winnie-the-Pooh Garden

One of my favorite memories from when my kids were little, is reading aloud to them Winnie-the-Pooh. I tried to time it just right so that on their sixth birthday we would begin, Now We Are Six. So, usually around four we would start with When We Were Very Young. We would read a little Pooh and then whatever else they had chosen, Amelia Bedelia or Incredible Ned or whatever the flavor of the day happened to be. But we would start and end with a chapter of Milne.

There is wisdom to be found in these little books. Only scratch the surface to find a treasure trove of ideologically solid principles on which to hang your hat.

Why not start a new tradition this year. Read the books and grow a garden! You could make a Hundred Acre Wood sign and off you could go. Here’s the ideas I had after just a little thought.

I’m thinking a garden in seven sections or rows.: Pooh (of course), Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, and Tigger, Christopher Robin and Roo.

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Throwback Thursday: Rue Herb o’ Grace

Throwback Thursday: Rue Herb o’ Grace

Herb of Grace? Why is it called that?

Rue: Rutaceae Genus: Ruta

Rue? Why don’t we hear more about it?

It turns out that it was once as common as basil or oregano in the kitchen. Not so much today. This is a very old plant. It is used medicinally and in cooking.

The leaves are used in cooking as a spice for eggs, cheese, and meat. It can also be eaten fresh in salads, although it is extremely bitter, it is said to increase your appetite. I’m not a particular fan of bitter, but I must say I’m eager to try this now that I’ve read a little about it.

Common Rue, lovely flowers

I’m particularly interested in it’s use as a medicinal. It has such a broad range of uses, it seems like it was just used for everything, from colds and fevers to melancholy and hiccups. There were some pretty strong warnings about it as well. The oils of rue should not come in direct contact with the skin, as this can cause blistering and an acid type reaction. Also, pregnant women should not use rue, as it can cause miscarriage. However, it is indicated for use as an aid for menses.

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Throwback Thursday: Moss Rose

Throwback Thursday: Moss Rose

On Throwback Thursday I try to shine the spotlight on an heirloom variety. For some people, this is an introduction to a treasure from the past, for others a memory spark about a long forgotten favorite.

Today’s Thursday Throwback is Moss Rose, or Portulaca. This is also called Common Purslane and is considered an edible plant, good eaten in salad and also in stir-fry.

Portulacaceae: Portulaca grandiflora: Portulaca, Moss Rose

Moss Rose is extremely hardy. So hardy in fact that it can become invasive if you don’t discipline it regularly. However, it’s so pretty, you may choose to ditch the grass and keep the Moss Rose. Portulaca comes in many shades of red, orange, pink, white, and yellow. This little guy is so tough, you can often find it growing in the crevices of sidewalks, between paving stones and even in cracks of building foundations.

Portulaca has a really low profile, preferring to meander close to the ground. If pruned properly, it can reach it’s full height of about 30″. Okay enough of the jibber jabber, let’s see the flowers.

"Rosita"

 

White Sundial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Salsa! Creating a Beautiful Salsa Garden

Let’s Salsa! Creating a Beautiful Salsa Garden

I love themed gardens. I think I’ve mentioned that before. It’s fun to decide what the theme will be for your garden and then to find all the things you will put in your bed. This includes the plants but also this is where you can get really creative with accessories for the garden in the way of structures or decorations. In this way a themed garden is only limited by your budget and your imaginations, and I suppose the area you have to plant.

Today I want to talk about salsa gardens. I do a salsa garden every year. Even for the year that we lived in a high rise apartment in Houston, I had a salsa garden on the 14 x 12 patio. Although it was just container tomatoes, cilantro and jalapenos, it got the job done.

Now that I have my country place with room to sprawl I have found my problem to be…stop…adding…plants! = ) This is a great problem to have, and I am certainly not complaining. I’m not bragging, I’m blessed.

So let me give you some ideas about what I think makes a great salsa garden. I break this in to five sections: tomatoes, greens, peppers, onions, other. I try to grow at least three of these. The tomatoes are just always best home grown. Greens are inexpensive and really easy, so why not grow them? Peppers are pretty easy too and can easily be in a container. I have only started doing onions since I have had a little more room to do so. The “other” section is almost always gotten from a farmers market as these are usually more exotic finds.

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Paisley Plant of the Week: Basil

Paisley Plant of the Week: Basil

It is possible you think I have my days mixed up and that I meant this to be a Throwback plant. After all, basil has been around for thousands of years, right? Yes. However…basil is so paisley! I mean to tell you how. I promise, you’ll be wanting to order one or two or six varieties of basil for your gardens by the end of this post! That is a bold statement but I have the basil to back it up.

 

A short history of this very interesting plant…

Basil: Ocimum basilicum

Also known as St. Joseph’s Wort. A member of the family  Lamiaceae which includes mint. Although native to India, it is grown world wide. And used in every culture (that I could find) for cooking. Most people know that it is great in the kitchen. Most people probably don’t know that in some cultures, basil is sacred.

The Greek Orthodox church uses it in the preparation for their Holy Water because it is said to have been found on the spot Constantine and Helen found the Holy Cross. In India, where it was first cultivated, basil is used in the courtroom for people to swear their truths by.

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