This month’s blog will be dedicated to our dear sweet friend and garden club member Joan Yulduzian. She will no longer bloom on earth but will forever bloom and grow eternally in heaven.
I will miss you dear friend in and out of garden club. Your sweet and sophisticated demeanor was a blessing to be around, if all of us could be just a tenth of what you were in this lifetime, we will be doing just great.
You will forever be in our hearts, and we thank you for your dedication and loyalty to our garden club and a precious friendship to cherish, we are walking away with beautiful memories of you in many ways.
Till we meet again sweet Joanie, much love and peace always! Thank you for being in our lives.
Dear Garden Friends known and unknown if you have not reached out to a love-one or friend you adore for many reasons, please do so today and going forward more regularly, take time to give them their flowers now as they say, while they can take them from your hands and your words. Life is short and unpredictable. Take a lesson from Joanie; give love, gratitude, attentive prayers, share God’s love when every you can and those that are connected to you will be forever grateful!
To most of us dandelions, crab grass and plantains are considered a lawn’s menace. But if you take them for what they are worth they just might surprise you and be more of a blessing than a burden.
Plantains are one of the most beneficial plants, they have many medicinal properties and truly are a gardener’s best friend. There are three species of plantains they are Plantago major (broad leaf), Plantago lanceolata (thin leaf) and Plantago psyllium. The broad leaf is the most common and the psyllium is what is used when you consume psyllium as a fiber supplement. You will find plantain living within compacted soil and under heavy foot traffic it likes to colonize in a lawn that gets a great deal of extensive family use, thus our lawn having a great deal of it! Native Americans called it the White People’s Foot Plant since it would pop up where-ever a person had traveled thru, it tends be where people are. On a recent hike the area leading to the main trail was heavily colonized with plantain, something I had not noticed before I decided to study this fascinating plant.
So, what can it do for you; well it is antibacterial, antiviral, it contains lots of amino acids thus it makes proteins, it’s a natural gelatin and it draws poison out of your bodily system topically. It will help draw out a splinter, dirt, debris and pus. Therefore, if you are bitten by a spider, ant or a bee when applied as a poultice it will remove pain and venom within 10 mins or less. What is a poultice? It is when you chew the leaf and macerate it and then apply to the infected area or crush between your fingers to breakdown the fibers in the leaves. You can also dry it and then grind it and apply as a paste or use as a tea. When ingested as a tea it helps to heal the mucosal linings in your body since it has mucilage characteristics. It is extremely beneficial to the lungs, intestine and bladder these being mucosal lined organs. And with COVID 19 attacking the lungs it has been beneficial in protecting the lungs against this virus just from consuming it as a tea! God truly has made everything we need to heal ourselves in the plant world without medicine and to protect us from diseases when they try to attack our bodies how amazing is THAT! It also helps acne and eczema.
How do you know if you have plantain or how to find it while foraging some of the common characteristics are it is fibrous, the leaves have long veins and when you pull it apart at the base very fibrous threads will become visible. If the plant is allowed to go to seed you will see long seed pods that look like baby corn, these can be harvested and sauteed with a little bit of olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to make a healthy side dish or a small meal. Or dried and grinded to create a psyllium fiber supplement.
Hopefully plantain can now be seen as a medicinal harvestable crop versus a pernicious weed. Take the time to look for it in your own garden if you do not treat your lawns or forage for it sustainably and be blessed by the wonderful benefits of Plantago!
Till next time, try to utilize your plants as a benefit to your overall health, continue to get your hands dirty, walk barefoot in the grass and be still in your gardens.
In the year 2021 there will be an entomological (fancy word that means pertaining to insects) event that only occurs every 17 years; the year of the Cicada.
There are different kinds of cicadas and Brood X is the species that emerges every 17 years. Cicadas are a group of insects that live their growth development years underground sucking tree roots for what seems like a long period of time trying to complete their four life cycles.
It all begins with a song. The male cicada has a structure near its abdomen called a tymbal organ which vibrates and produces sound to attract the female cicada. She responds with a clicking sound of her wings. The amazing thing is out of all the cicadas present (hundreds to thousands) these two only hear each other, pretty cool huh? They meet on a tree limb, mate and create a nymph. The nymph which is the size of a piece of rice granule, chews the leaf it is placed on then falls to the ground and buries deep into the ground and feeds on this same tree’s roots for 17 years until it reaches it’s fourth and final stage, before emerging above ground to start the process all over again. They only emerge when the earth reaches close to 64 degrees in the 17th year and by the billions! They will climb out the ground place themselves on the tree and crawl out their exoskeletons leaving them behind.
In the United States the Brood X generation will take over forests from Tennessee to New York. They will not harm the forest or the trees in your areas so do not be alarmed. But why do they emerge and why in periods of 17 years? Scientists believe it is the ultimate survival of the fittest. With so many emerging at one time their predators will become overwhelmed with feeding on them and create such fullness in the belly’s of animals and birds that they leave them alone, allowing them to mate again and repeat their unique life cycle. This emergence only last for 2-4 weeks before they die off. Their presence in these weeks helps to strengthen the growth of plants and trees, and alter the population of many birds. They can even be eaten by humans in some fun ways, dipped in chocolate, stir fried, cooked into pizza, baked within banana bread and rhubarb pie. (Newsweek April 2021) You might say no thanks but they are full of protein and compared to the same amount of beef sources raised in one acre of land they have more!
Not all of us will experience the cicada this year since they may not emerge in your locale so if you desire to hear them you may need to travel to another area to experience their symphony of mating calls. For a species of animal to be created, only to be present every 17 years is truly a mystery and evidence of God’s amazing power to create all things big and small. Hopefully, you will be able to delight in this wonder and marvel at the unique way in which the cicada preserves its generations to come.
Till next time, listen for a cicada, get your hands dirty and be still in your gardens to observe the beauties of nature.
We have been christened with LOTS of liquid sunshine in April, violent storms and rollercoaster weather temperatures. And yes all of these April showers will no doubt bring May flowers. As a result of all this rain and snow we had (real winter this year YAY) I noticed the spring ephemerals are quite abundant. And on a woodland walk with my Momma I noticed this beauty below:
This is, Erythronium Americanum “Yellow Trout Lily” it was showing itself in mass with such wonder, it made me venture deeper into the woods to get closer and seriously think about going back for a few to put in my own woodland garden; at the time I did not have the essentials to dig them up properly, LOL!
The beautiful yellow flowers are like little decorative showy hats on a spring maiden as if she were nodding her head to bring attention to herself while wearing a dark brown dress with spots upon. It is as if she danced in a florescent spring puddle that splashed upon her woodland garment, just SPECTACULAR. They make me smile down into my soul. You will find them amongst the dead leaves that are now brown and crunchy and slowly being taken over by Spring’s new life emerging. They are wonderful to see on the forest floor snuggled in deep and awaiting someone to just notice them, well we sure did, and it was a treat!
This beauty is in the Lily Family (Liliaceae) and as mentioned it is a spring ephemeral (early plant emerging at the onset of Spring or Vernal Equinox) so it will only be present for about 2-3 weeks in the season after it blooms. It’s common name Trout Lily is given because its leaf markings resemble that of the skin of a brown or brook trout. It prefers dapplied sunlight to medium shade and loamy soil with leaf litter or decaying organic matter. Most of its growth and development occurs before the trees fully develop their vernal leaves. It is a native wildflower and adapts to the shade of deciduous trees. But be patient with this beauty it takes about 8 years before individual plants will flower in a typical woodland setting. They enjoy being in the company of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) and American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) trees. Their flowers mainly attract bees but like other woodland flowers its seeds are distributed by ants who are attracted to their food appendages. And because the leaves are small and inconspicuous the white tailed deer seem to only browse over them plus their mottled leaf pattern helps disguise them from this animal and other mammalian herbivores who lack color vision. So the next time you take a woodland stroll or forest hike this season keep an eye out for these little gems and just stop, be still and enjoy the beauty they exude.
Till next time, get your hands dirty, walk barefoot in the grass and exhale deep in the solace of your garden. Take care!
Did you ever learn in biology the mnemonic phrase “Dear King Philip Came Over For Good Soup”?
It refers to the taxonomy (naming of species) order of Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genius and Species. The last three of this order helps us horticultural geeks identify our plants!
Let’s take a quick lesson in using botanical Latin terms which is just the scientific name of a plant. Yeah, I know you might prefer to just use the common names but that could potentially be a problem in the long run. For example, poison oak, she oak, sumac oak are NOT oaks at all they are in a totally different family of plants so using the common names vary from region to region, can be overly general and can change over time. When we use botanical Latin names, we are more precise, and the names are universal.
If we look at one of my favorite plants, we can break down the various orders frequently used in botanical Latin naming.
Begoniaceae is the Family for begonias. Any time you see the suffix “aceae” at the end of a word it is most likely referring to the order of Family for the plant in question.
For example, Iridaceae is the family for the crocus plant and Amaryllidaceae is the family for daffodils.
The genus and species are the next two main taxonomic orders used on a consistent basis. We call this the binomial naming of plants we only use two of the orders bi=two; genus and species. Let us get back to begonias.
Begoniaceae Begonia bowerae
So the first part is the Family because of the ending of -aceae and the second part is the Genus it is always italicized and the first letter capitalized. The genus is a group of plants that have similar characteristics they have a common ancestor, similar habits such as growing patterns. The third part is the Species, it too is italicized but begins with a lowercase letter. The species can all reproduce with one another.
You may see a tag that says this : Begonia ‘Tiger Paws’ here the first part is the Genus and the second part is letting you know it is a cultivar because the term Tiger Paws is in quotes.
Monstera sp. Peru which denotes a subspecies and has evolved in a specific geographic area. This Monstera was found in Peru.
Two plants that have crossed naturally in the wild are denoted as a variety; written as such Ilex verticillate var. fastigiate.
When two plants have crossed because of man it is a cultivar and is written as Ilex aquifolium ‘Lily Gold’ or Ilex aquifolium cv. Lily Gold. The quotes tell you the plant is a cultivar as mentioned above.
Sometimes the label will have an f. in the description and is written as such Echeveria agavoides f. Cristata. Cristata is latin for crested or tufted helmet so the plant has mounds of crests or tufts within its shape of the leaves. Whereas a regular Echeveria has a rosette form.
This f. refers to the Form of a plant and tells there is a minor difference shown within the species which could be the shape of plant as discussed above.
The letter X found in a label of a plant refers to it being a hybrid which is a cross between two species of plants. Such as Ilex x koehneana which is a cross between Ilex aquifolium and Ilex latifolia if it had not been given a name it would have been written Ilex aquifolium x latifolia.
Latin names tell you something about the plant specifically thus the another reason to use latin terms.
Last lesson let’s look at some common Latin terms you may see that will help you identify certain characteristics of plants:
Argenta – silver
Chrysus, luteus, aurea -yellow
Erythron, rubra – red
Ferrugineus – rusty
Purpureus – purple
Contorta – twisted
Reptans, prostrata -creeping
Scadens – climbing
Canadensis – Canada
Japonicus, japonica, nipponicus – Japan
Chinensis, sinensis – China
Occidentalis – western hemisphere
Orientalis – eastern hemisphere
There are many more but hopefully these are some to get you started, now go look at some of your labels and you may see some of the identifications listed above.
Hopefully this has been helpful for you and maybe gave you the courage to start using botanical Latin names instead of the common names for plants. Plus you will sound even more amazingly intelligent, giggling. Have fun and please give it a try!
See this lovely beauty, now you know why it is given the name Begonia maculata, pretty cool huh?
Mazus reptans ‘Alba’ : Based on what we learned, what can we say about this plant’s label? It is a creeping white mazus plant!
Till next time, get hands dirty, walk barefoot on grass and sit still in your gardens in joy!
Hope November is treating you well thus far. I have two things to share with you this month a wonderful Armenian dish called Ghapama and the wonderful herb pineapple sage.
Let’s do food first 😊 So I made this dish for a Family Fall Dinner and it was a hit so flavorful and quite a beauty when it was presented for all to dig in. I also did it in honor of our Armenian friends. It’s pretty easy and very forgiving considering I purchased dried fruits for the recipe and to this day we do not know where they are we believe lost at the store we think LOL funny thing is I got out of the grocery line to run and get them last minute and still ended up with no dried fruit so I used my favorite dried mango strips on hand, golden raisins and some dried diced dates and it was delish! It also travels very well.
So what is Ghapama, it is a very beautiful Armenian stuffed pumpkin rice dish usually served for special occasions in their culture like a wedding or such. I doubled the recipe because I fed a little crowd but that’s my family on a regular basis with some extra people we love to have around and love breaking bread with us, LOL.
This time of year; is still good to find a small pumpkin I really wanted a medium size one but ended up with two sugar pumpkins which was even better. Our youngest son the ultimate sous chef carved and hollowed out the pumpkins. So you can prepare to do that or get your personal sous chef to help you 😊 And my favorite rice is basmati or jasmine but I used basmati in this dish. The smell is just over the top and the rice is fluffy, sweet and buttery. The pumpkin flesh I did not think would be enough, but it was more than enough and really tender; soooo good people. Please try and then tell me what you think. Bon Appetite or in Armenian they would say լավ ուտել or lav utel.
Ingredients: 7 lbs (3.1 kg) Pumpkin
1 Cup Rice 2.5 oz (70g)
Almonds 1.5 oz (34g)
Dried Apricots 3 oz (85g)
Prunes 1.5 oz (34g)
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
2 Tbsp Honey
1- Cut off the top of the pumpkin and Scoop out the guts.
2- Dice the almonds.
3- Slice the prunes and dried apricots.
1- Transfer the rice onto a small pot.
2- Add salt and 1.5 cup water.
3- Simmer the rice for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
4- Combine the cooked rice with almonds, dried apricots, prunes, and raisins.
5- Stir in cinnamon powder and honey.
6- Melt the unsalted butter and add to the mixture. Stir thoroughly.
7- Grease the inside of the pumpkin with butter and coat with honey.
8- Transfer the mixture into the pumpkin.
9- Cover the pumpkin with the top.
10- Preheat oven to 350º F (177º C), cook the pumpkin for about 75 minutes.
Slice in wedges, Enjoy!
Ok on now to a new garden favorite. Last year I noticed a frequent visitor to my deck a fast and beautiful small visitor; a gorgeous hummingbird just fluttering from colorful flower to colorful flower. Of course in my excitement and delight since they are just amazing birds; I decided this year I would plant especially for them a hummingbird garden in a HUGE container filled with all things a hummingbird would love and one of the main plants was a pineapple sage the flowers are bright red and the nectar I later found out is quite pleasing to humans too. 😊
Pineapple Sage is in the salvia family and a cousin to mint so when it grows it gets happy but not out of control like mint plus I had it contained. But it did reach almost 6 feet in this massive container. Salvia elegans is also a medicinal plant for humans it helps with depression, anxiety, digestion and memory loss. It makes a great tea and is nice to put in salads. It is a native of Mexico and thrives as a perennial in zones 5-8 reaching up to 6 feet tall and attracts pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Showy deep vibrant red flowers with a deeply veined citrine foliage. The flowers can be plucked, and nectar sucked out of the end and it does taste like pineapples! The flowers and leaves are both edible. It is a lovely herb which I hope will overwinter and return in the Spring, I will let you know how that goes. Currently it is still growing strong and the flower color quite intense. Oh and did I tell you I NEVER did see a hummingbird this year after all that special attention to welcome them and if they did come they flew in when I was not around which is just classic since it is 2020 and bizarre and strange things are happening all the time. Praying next year there will be so many hummingbirds that every time I look out to that space in the garden I will be constantly filled with joy. Tis the joys of gardening- patience and more patience.
Remember the October puzzle. Here is the solution.
The first part of my word is a verb (BE), add to me one letter and I become a insect (BEE), add another and I become a kind of vegetable,(BEET) add two more letters and I become another name of an insect.(BEETLE) Clever huh?
Enjoy the rest of your November and Happy Thanksgiving. Go and be blessed and be thankful for all that we have and for more to come.
Hope this finds you happy and at peace during such a challenging time of pushing thru a pandemic; BUT just push thru in Faith not Fear and remember it can not last forever, for this too shall pass!
Yes, it has been a while garden friends and to be honest being in front of a computer more than we all have ever been, is the reason for the delay in sharing with you. When I get moments of not being in front of the screen I prefer to spend time with my family and in nature. Plus my derriere is quite numb these days, LOL! But today I have mustered up some time to spend with you and I have missed you dearly 😊 please note going forward our time together will be short, sweet and informative hope you will accept this format for now.
So, I had some other things I wanted to share for the blog but changed my mind and figured I would share some interesting things about the month of October.
So here it is….
October comes from the Latin octo “eight” because before our 12 month calendar existed the early Roman calendar designated it as the eighth month but in our current calendar the name stayed the same but it is now the 10th month!
October 2020 brings two full moons the first full moon of Fall is the Harvest Moon and will appear today Thursday, Oct. 1. Later this month we will see another full moon called the Hunter Moon on Saturday, Oct. 31 it will be rare in that it will be the Halloween Moon and a Blue Moon.
October brings the leaves into full color; the leaf color change is not because of the autumn chilly weather but the lack of light. The green color of the leaf disappears when photosynthesis (from sunlight) slows down. Trees within direct sunlight will produce red leaves while other ones will turn yellow, orange and brown.
October is all about collecting the harvest and storing your crops, but you still can do some planting of garlic and bulbs. Do this soon if you have not already. I will still try to plant some arugula now, which I can harvest fully in 30-45 days; so lets see what will happens.
October birth flowers are cosmos and calendula or marigold. Cosmos are a symbol of joy and peace. Calendulas represent thankfulness, excellence and serenity.
Folklores of October
-When deer are in a gray coat in October expect a hard winter.
-Much rain in October, much wind in December.
-A warm October means a cold February.
Let’s pay attention this month and see if any of these will come true.
What is a pumpkin’s favorite sport?
Wait for it, wait for it (drumroll)
Too funny and too cute which really is too corny, LOL!!!
Here is a recipe to try after you collect your Fall harvest (or shop at a local farmer’s market 😊)
Roasted Autumn Vegetables
1 1b. small red potatoes quartered or Yukon gold
2 cups peeled butternut squash cut and diced into ½ inch cubes
2 large carrots peeled and cut into ½ inch diagonal slices
2 parsnips peeled and cut into ½ inch diagonal slices
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
2 gloves of garlic minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-3 cups of kale rinsed and chopped
Preheat oven to 450 oF
Lightly oil two large baking sheets or one large sheet by cutting ingredients in half
Combine all vegetables, olive oil, rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat.
Spread evenly on the baking sheets bake 15 mins then add kale stir bake another 15 mins until vegetables are tender and browned.
Lastly if you need something else to do and want to challenge your brain cells, try this brain puzzle teaser.
The first part of my word is a verb, add to me one letter and I become a insect, add another and I become a kind of vegetable, add two more letters and I become another name of an insect.
Good luck and the answer will be given next month.
Till then maybe try:
Going for a long cool autumnal hike
Sitting in the autumn sun
Getting your hands dirty in your garden for as long as you can before everything is put to rest
Relax while sipping on warm spiced drink and reading a great book
Build a bonfire and share it with family and friends
Whatever you choose to do have a Happy October. Enjoy and Take Care!
Well it’s officially Fall but forever Summer in my mind 😊 I do enjoy this weather for longer cooler hikes, annual Fall social events/traditions and gathering all sorts of pumpkins and squashes to decorate and eat! It’s also a great time to bring out the crockpot to use for a plethora of recipes and a perfect time to make soup for the soul.
In addition, Fall is a great time to plant in the garden and collect those favorite plants from summer you hope to overwinter with success. Which made me think how do we get these plants to overwinter and bring us more joy next Spring and Summer?
First I had to acquire the right soil and it has been a challenge lately finding soil without the famous fertilizer we all know that begins with the letter “M” my experience with these new soils is they hold A LOT of water and thus rots the plants especially tender cuttings, I did however end up finding an organic potting soil that might work; we shall see. The next thing that is needed in helping our plants form good and strong roots is a rooting hormone. In order to save some money and practice sustainability, I thought it would be great to use a natural rooting hormone and better yet maybe use something we had in our cupboards and storage bins as a source.
What exactly is a rooting hormone and what is it used for?
Rooting hormones act as catalysts for the promotion of new roots, they also protect the cuttings from fungus and disease that could have occurred when you initially cut the plant of interest.
A rooting medium is the mixture you would use to grow your new plants. It is not a garden soil, but is usually much lighter; it actually is not a soil at all. You can purchase pre-made rooting medium mixtures or you can use a combination of various commercially organized components as a rooting medium.
The trick is to get something that will retain water but not bogged down the newly forming roots.
I will share some homemade natural root hormone mixtures to try, just remember to make sure to separate your stock from your working mixture, just place what you think you might need in a small container or paper cup and dip your plant cutting into that mixture vs. the stock mixture to avoid contamination.
So the first idea was to just spit on the cutting, yup you heard it right “spit on it” Hmm, that is a bit crass so I am going suggest you use your saliva sounds a little better right?. With all the new DNA tests out now to help us find out who we really are and which ancestors we came from you may have recently had to “spit in a cup” so this might not be so hard to do. The idea is to use your saliva and dip your cutting in it. I’ll try if you will, LOL! Just make sure you do not lick the cutting as some instructions suggest since your cutting could be poisonous or toxic so do not lick it!
Second idea is a honey root hormone mixture. Just boil 2 cups of water add 1 TBSP of honey, let it cool place a small amount in a separate container and then dip your cutting. The honey is antibacterial and antifungal so it will keep your cutting healthy and also promote new roots. This can be stored in a dark place for two weeks.
Third idea is using 3 tsp of apple cider vinegar in 1 gallon of water. This is a large volume of root hormone mixture but if it works you will have an abundant supply of it.
Fourth idea is crushing an aspirin tablet and dissolving it in water, just use enough water to dissolve the tablet and it should produce a weak paste or loose slurry after it goes into solution.
Fifth idea is making a stinging nettle or comfrey tea let the leaves of these plants soak in water for a few days. I would say a cup of water would make a strong enough tea to create a good root hormone mixture. First picture stinging nettle, second picture comfrey.
Sixth and last idea is a classic old school natural hormone and that is using the new stems of a willow tree, best time to retrieve this is in the early Spring when the Willow is filling out and new shoots are emerging in abundance. Once the stem is retrieved cut into pieces and allow it to sit in water for three days, producing a willow stem tea. Maybe try a stem now and see if it works and let us know.
Keep in mind you can also root your plants by using the water method but not all plants will root this way successfully or may take longer but it is the “go to” option for sure.
Hopefully these homemade ideas will allow you to save some of your favorite summer plantings by creating some really strong roots. Once the cuttings have rooted plant in a good potting soil mix free of fertilizer and keep in an area that gets good lighting and warmth during the winter while inside, then after the first frost move outside so your plants can begin to get established.
Till next time; clean up your garden but leave some seed heads for birds migrating thru they make a nice flight snack and try gathering those seeds you want to share with the club in November, remember collect in a paper envelope or bag never anything plastic because seeds are living organisms in a dormant state and lastly enjoy saving your summer favorites and maybe try one or two of the ideas above and let us know which ones worked the best for you.
This year my garden exploded literally with Rudbeckia hirta aka Black-eyed Susan (terrible name by the way when you think about it) RRGH! But legend has it, the name did not refer to violence upon Susan but rather it referred to an Old English poem describing a dark eyed woman Susan, looking for the love of her life on a ship going into battle. Pretty interesting huh 😊
So I would say the excessive masses of this particular plant in our gardens, probably had something to do with all of that rain earlier in the season. My Mom and I attend an annual garden tour and this year one of the gardens featured unique and familiar herbs and yes some were in the form of what we would consider typical garden flowers or wildflowers, and guess what? The Black-eyed Susan was featured as a herb in this garden and labelled for its medicinal benefits. I must say out all the herbs we were exposed to in this beautiful garden I did not expect this plant to be on the list, but it is actually an herb!
This plant is in the Asteraceae Family (Aster family) and is to say the least a cheerful and widespread wildflower, for some it is considered an annual for others a short lived perennial. It’s characteristics are bright-yellow, 2-3 inch wide daisy like flowers with dark centers which is it’s claim to fame. They are indigenous to many areas of the United States and were introduced into Europe after Columbus’ visits. They were named by Linnaeus in 1753 , he gave them the Latin name Rudbeckia Hirta after his mentor Olaf Rudbeck and hirta means rough and hairy. The leaves are alternate and mostly basal covered by coarse hairs, so hirta makes sense.
Native Americans used the plant to wash sores and soak swellings, it was a poultice for snake bites, treating worms and for children with colds. A poultice is just a soft, moist mass of material usually made out of plant material or flour. They also used it as a diuretic to increase the flow of urine and extracted juice from the root to treat earaches.
Recent studies state that the extract from the root of this plant can help benefit the immune system and can stimulate higher effects than Echinacea.
Rudbeckia Hirta is the floral emblem of the State of Maryland
and each year this flower shines in full glory for the world to see as a drape made of hundreds of black eyed susans placed on the back of the horse that wins the Preakness; one of the second jewels of the triple crown of horse racing. This year’s winner was War of Will in May of 2019 won at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD. Notice the flowers on the horse, had you ever paid attention to which flower it was before?
In our area it is a annual that self seeds prolifically (therefore we THINK its an perennial but that’s another lesson to be learned 😊) It grows in full sun or partial shade. It is drought, heat and soil tolerant. My kind of plant, LOL!!! Seeds can be planted in the spring after the threat of frost has long gone, seeds can be planted about ¼ inch deep and the seeds germinate in about 2 weeks. Separate plants by at least 8 inches apart. These plants will produce flowers by mid-summer and will continue to bloom until the first hard frost. Now is a great time to harvest seed heads and you could share them at our seed exchange in November. What a great way to share a plant with so many hidden benefits, it definitely makes me look at this plant differently now, it is not only beautiful visually in its massive wonder but beneficial to us as well internally in promoting a healthier immune system. It is for sure listed in my book as a whole body plant to enjoy both in mind, body and soul. Till next time, get out there and get dirty in the garden!
Photo credits: NBC, Chestnutherb, Eden Brothers, Google pics.
I recently went to visit a dear friend who is doing their very best to deal with some difficult life challenges, as I pulled into the driveway I immediately noticed a really sweet little garden and of course as any gardener would do I cheesed a big grin and might have said out loud “So cute, I love it!” It was quaint and had some mature plantings along with unique garden artifacts such as an old cement horse post, really cool! After our awesome visit and my escort back to the car following numerous hugs and kisses, we proceeded to check out this side garden by the driveway. I was happy to see some very unusual coneflower seed heads that were then gifted to me to take home to my garden; I received them with gratitude and pleasure. To be honest it was more about having a part of my friend in my garden, for when this coneflower blooms it would be a warm and fuzzy reminder of our friendship. I’m quite sentimental about these types of exchanges they mean the world to me!
So once we said our final good byes I drove off but did think more about seed exchange and how it’s an amazing trade, both sentimental and economical. It cost nothing; my price tag was BIG HUGS and KISSES can’t beat that!
Thought it might be fun to share how a seed becomes a seed and to invite us to start collecting when things in our gardens’ start going to seed at the end of the season (always leave enough for our feather friends for winter snacks of course) but let’s harvest some seeds and then do a seed exchange maybe in November when we are in the giving and thankful mode and reflecting on those we are grateful for and our love of gardens when they are being put to sleep for winter. We can plant them indoors starting in February or wait and plant them outside in pots or directly into our gardens after the first frost.
Here’s a picture of my seed heads and then the next picture is one in which the seeds have been separated notice the long brown part is NOT the seed, it’s the prickly portion of the seed head and just protects the seed which is actually the tan portion attached.
See the lone seed separated from the prickly portion. Always store your seed heads or separated seeds in a paper bag or paper envelope and NEVER in plastic. Remember it is a living thing and it needs to breathe in its dormancy until you plant it. Yup that’s right unplanted seeds are in dormancy, so when you are eating trail mix with pumpkin seeds, almonds etc.. you are actually eating dormant seeds 😊. Popcorn kernels, peas, rice and acorns are seeds too! Just in their dormancy stage, all of these can be sprouted! (That’s another story for another time)
So what is a seed? A small part of a flowering plant that grows into a new plant.
A seed has three parts:
Seed coat – protects the entire seed
Embryo- this is where the baby plant lives
Endosperm – food storage of the plant
Note: If you eat whole grains you are eating all three parts. The seed coat is called bran and the embryo is called germ; if you are eating refined grains you are eating just the endosperm which is mainly carbohydrates. That’s why it’s encouraged to eat the whole grain which has more nutrients and more benefits to our bodies.
Back to the fabulous seed, the seed is formed when pollen fuses with the ovules this fusion creates a fertilized seed. The pollen comes from the anther which sits on top of the filament these are the male parts collectively called the stamen. If you have ever touched a flower and a powdery residue gets on you that’s the pollen or sperm to be exact. The female parts are the stigma, style, ovary and ovules (eggs to be exact) this collectively is called the pistil. The pollen from the anther adheres to the sticky stigma then travels down into the ovary and fuses with the ovules and voila’ a fertilized seed is created. See anatomy of a flower below. Oh yeah the flower is the reproductive unit and the petals are the pretty part of the flower which we all enjoy and the sepals are at the base of the flower they are green and protect the bud of the flower.
(Thanks Adobe for the pic)
Common pollinators are honey bees, bats, birds, butterflies and moths.
Seeds need water (moisture), temperature (warmth), sunlight, nutrient rich soil and to be a good quality seed. Once it has all of these conditions in place, roots are the first to form within the soil and then the seed pushes up thru the soil towards sunlight and then loses its seed coat and the baby plant emerges (a sprout) and is equipped with two new leaves, the roots push down deeper and get stronger to prepare to support the new plant.
So are you ready to produce new plants from seeds? If so, get out there and start collecting and lets see what we come up with, it should be a wonderful seedy event!
Till next time, visit a friend, garden with joy and prepare to share the blessings from your garden.
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