Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Right Now...In the Garden

It is amazing how fast things change in the garden as the season moves into the summer months. The beautiful and fragrant fringe tree just inside our gate has already lost all those beautiful blooms. The nettles have all pushed into flower, and some are even busy making their seeds. I'm not sad to stop harvesting the nettles. By this time in the season, I'm ready for a break from them. Besides, the roses are blooming...

And the roses are such a pleasure to harvest...their soft petal and incredible fragrance. All roses are soothing and healing, which is why they are often used in skin creams. But roses can be infused to relieve menstrual cramps and regulate the reproductive system. And in Chinese Medicine roses are considered a chi nourisher, a blood and liver tonic. The flowers can even be used to poultice wounds. Their astringency make roses a nourishing skin toner as well as an effective aid for diarrhea. You can even gargle rose tea to help a sore throat.

It's also time to begin harvesting the chamomile flowers. I love gathering these in the evening after dinner for a relaxing tea. The boys love the taste of lightly sweetened chamomile tea, and it helps calm the energy down after a busy day and aid our digestion as well. Chamomile can also be used to relieve menstrual cramping and congestion, as well as help bring down a fever.

I'm also harvesting red clover flowers every day, and drying them to build up my winter store. Properly dried red clover flowers are far superior to the brownish stuff you buy in the stores. Red clover is just all around awesome. As a respiratory tonic it is used to strengthen the lungs and even as an aid for whooping cough. Red clover alkalizes the blood offers abundant minerals. Many cultures rely on this plant for cancer prevention and treatment.

And the yarrow...just beginning to bloom. This plant's ability to stop bleeding is amazing enough, but I am still learning just how incredible yarrow is. Ever the plants have more secrets to unfold.

This is my beautiful work place, keeping me very busy throughout the season. The plants are my companions and my teachers, my healers and my work. I am so grateful for all of their gifts.


  1. i have struggled with drying things, i just tried nettles this year and they went brown fast. do you have a simple way for someone new to drying that doesn't require new eqipment or buying things to make a dryer?

    i would love to dry chamimile this year, as well as rose petals and clover! maybe the second growth of nettle in the fall. thanks for any info you feel you can offer :)

    1. Erin, the trick with drying is avoiding moisture. It is important to harvest last enough on a dry day that all the dew has evaporated from the plants. They either hang them in loose bunches or spread them on screens in a very dry and well ventilated place, out of direct sunlight. Finding that perfect location can be tricky. Some folks use upstairs bedrooms. I use my excalibur dehydrator for a lot of herbs because I live in a flood plain and the air here is usually saturated with moisture all summer.

      I'm still trying to figure this out though. I'd love to be able to dry large quantities of things at a time, which I can't do with the dehydrator.

    2. thanks april : ) i appreciate your quick response and i will try hanging, maybe with a gentle fan running too. screens from the old/repurposed building supply store might just work, thanks for that idea!! xo