Herbs are great in container gardens. They are content in most pots or planters provided they get the proper amount of water and sunlight.
In the photo above I planted 4" pots of:
I like to toss these 3 herbs into a 2 quart jar along with sliced lemons to make a refreshing herb-infused drink for warm weather. Other herbs or even black or green tea can be added. I experiment with whatever is growing most abundantly at the time. The possibilities are almost endless!
Lemon verbena, stevia, and pineapple sage are tender perennials in my area. They thrive during spring and summer with early morning sun and a daily dousing with the watering can. In less extreme climates, they will do well with more sun and less frequent watering.
These herbs will all need protection from freezing come winter, and this old galvanized bucket is easy to carry inside when frost and freezing temps threaten.
The Feverfew in my herb border is just beginning to bloom. I enjoy the pretty white daisy-like flowers it produces. I must admit that I do not enjoy the scent much, though. It is a hardy perennial in my area and not only grows with wild abandon but self sows freely. I have shared plants with friends and still have an abundance of Feverfew herb. (If you live nearby and would like a plant or 3, let me know!)
Feverfew is used medicinally to reduce fever, hence its name, and is also said to help prevent or relieve migraines. If you'd like to learn more about the historical uses of this herb, see this page at Botanical.com- Feverfew.
To purchase seeds, dried Feverfew, or a tincture- Mountain Rose Herbs is my supplier of choice for all things herbal.
A repost from the past, because it is oh so timely right now...
Allergy season is upon us.
I have a simple herbal tonic that I make every year to help prevent and alleviate the misery of sneezing, itchy eyes, and so forth that plagues members of my family.
First I make a nettle infused vinegar and then mix that with local honey to make Nettle Vinegar & Honey Allergy Tonic.
You will need the following:
apple cider vinegar(I use Bragg’s, but anygood quality ACV will do)
dried nettles(You can use them fresh, which some say work best if they are available. I don’t have that option, and dried has always worked well for me.)
local honey(honey produced in your area will contain small amounts of pollen to the flowers growing near you … probably the ones making you sneeze!)
a clean canning jar with a lid( I use a wide-mouth quart size, but you could start with a pint. Also, I use a plastic lid for vinegars … if you don’t have plastic lids, then put a piece of plastic wrap between the jar and the metal lid.)
To make nettle vinegar:
add about 1 cup of nettle to your jar, I just toss in a handful or so (less if using a pint jar)
add enough vinegar to cover nettle by 2-3 inches (you will need to add more as the nettle soaks it up), stir and wait until the nettle settles, adding more vinegar if necessary
Cover the jar with a lid and set it in a sunny spot for 2 weeks or more. Shake jar a few times a day.
Once your nettle vinegar has infused, strain it through a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth into a clean jar and it is ready to use.
If you don’t have weeks to wait for the vinegar to infuse, you can make it more quickly by heating the vinegar/nettle mixture over a very, very low heat for a few hours. Do not boil or even simmer, just heat it enough to be quite warm, a double boiler is a good way to do this, or if your crockpot doesn’t get too hot (mine does even on low), use that. Let cool before straining.
You can use the vinegar as is, or make it even more effective by adding local honey.
Add an equal amount of local honey to the nettle vinegar, stir well, cover, and you have Nettle Vinegar and Honey Allergy Tonic!
It is a simple herbal remedy that gives great results for my family.
I take a tablespoon or so two or three times a day mixed in a small amount of water.
A simpler route is to make a quart of nettle tea and sip on that throughout the day; but the honey and ACV are very helpful for allergies, and help with the taste. Nettle tea is not the most palatable of herbal infusions in my opinion. *Note: I have found that an infusion of 2 parts Tulsi (Holy Basil) and 1 part Nettle is tastier and also helps with the misery of allergy symptoms. Sweeten with local honey and it's even better!
Nettle vinegar can also be used in salad dressings and most anywhere you would use apple cider vinegar. It makes a lovely hair rinse when diluted with water, too. More reasons to make up a large batch while you're at it!
Note: As always with any herbal information, this is for your educational benefit only, etc., etc. ... Please consult your physician regarding any serious health matters.
How do you treat allergies? Please share your own herbal remedies!
The view from my back porch is rain, rain, and more rain, puddles, pools of water, and the fresh green of spring. I love it! After a long winter where I sort of hibernated and left this space quiet, I'm ready for the promise of a new season. I've got a whole lists of projects and plans I want to share with you along with a pile of recipes and other ideas I've collected for the still room. But first, here's what's happening with the herbs ...
The rosemary that we transplanted at the corner of the back porch 4 years ago is lush and threatening to take over the whole area. My husband says we shouldn't have planted it there, but I love it right where it is. I can sit in my chair and enjoy the fragrance and the bees that frequent the blue flowers during this time of year. It's also quite handy when I want to make pasta sauce or stir up a quick batch of Rosemary Squares.
The newly potted herbs are enjoying the showers and will surely show their thanks by a flush of new growth. I found a variety of different mints, parsley, and basil at our local Ace Hardware for .99 cents each. A second bonus was that they were locally grown. And with my fondness for tiny pots of herbs, I collected as many as my basket and budget would allow!
Lemon balm, mugwort, and feverfew are peeking out to see if spring is indeed here, and and the wildlings such as chickweed, plantain, dandelion, cleavers, and shepherd's purse are popping up with wild abandon, letting me know it's time to make infused oils, salves, spring tonics and so forth.
The borage that self-sowed in the herb border is in bloom. The otherworldly blue blossoms just begging to be added to a salad or glass of tea. I saw this simple recipe for Borage face mask somewhere recently: Borage Face Mask
1 egg white
1 handful of borage flowers and leaves, chopped
Stir together and smooth onto clean face. Leave on for 5 minutes. Rinse.
I would follow with a rosewater toner and a bit of Argan oil.
So that's it for now. A quick update from the still room, with a promise to be back soon.
What's new for you this season? What are you looking forward to growing or creating with herbs? Has spring arrived in your area? Herbal Blessings, Catherine
As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not
only because my bees love it but because it is the herb
sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a
sprig of it hath a dumb language.”
– Sir Thomas Moore
The bees are having a grand time in the rosemary today. It is one of my favorite herbs, too.
I'll be gathering sprigs of rosemary on Thanksgiving day, both to flavor the turkey and to grace the table. Rosemary is lovely in a bouquet, and makes a pretty, fragrant napkin ring when tied with a bit of twine or ribbon. What better time than Thanksgiving to find all sorts of ways to incorporate the 'herb of remembrance'?
How will you use rosemary in your home this season? Blessings, Catherine
This Autumn Apple Crisp is spiced up with some of my favorite autumn herbs: cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. It makes a nice dessert or snack, or even breakfast when topped with yogurt.
Autumn Apple Crisp
Preheat oven to 375.
Lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish.
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
pinch of nutmeg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. sugar
Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar and spices to coat.
Place in baking dish.
6 tbsp. butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (or 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup chopped nuts)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
Use pastry cutter or your fingers to mix butter into other ingredients until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the apples.
Bake until bubbly and brown, about 1 hour.
Serve plain or topped with ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt.
What are your favorite things about Autumn?
What herbs do you use most this time of year? Herbal Blessings, Catherine
The Herbal Academy of New Englandhas special early bird pricing on all their courses until November 2nd. Whether you are new to herbalism or wanting to further your education and start your own herbal business, there's something for everyone in their new and expanded course line-up.
I have my eye on one or two options ... maybe an early birthday present for myself?
The Herbal Academy of New England will be closing enrollment for the Fall Semester on October 4, 2015. If' you are interested in either of their courses-
Sign up now before it's too late!
Fall is the perfect season for learning about herbs. It's a great time to learn to create healing herbal tonics, tinctures, and more that can boost your family's immune system or help with those issues related to cold and flu season. These courses are all online which makes it so very convenient to learn at your own pace in the comfort of your own home.
I'm planning to take the Advanced Herbal Course myself when it becomes available. With herbs, even after years of study and practice, there's always something new to learn!
Herbal Blessings, Catherine *affiliate links in post