Uncanny Fruits, Autumn Foraging & Chocolate Bundt Cake — Gather Victoria

From quince, medlar to barberry, I love to forage for the odd fruits which abound this time of year. The following recipe for this intensely moist almost pudding-like bundt, however,  is filled with two strange-looking fruits I’ve not cooked much with before. It’s adapted from the Chocolate Cherry Samhain Bundt I just posted on Gather…

Uncanny Fruits , Autumn Foraging & Chocolate Bundt Cake — Gather Victoria

To Squash Or Not To Squash: Musings On Invasive Species

Lanternfly
The devil was on one shoulder.  An angel on the other. Both were telling me how to proceed, but I couldn’t decipher which voice belonged to which entity. “Cut the bag open,” one voice instructed.” Leave it alone,” said the other. Apparently, my former sense of good and evil was blurred.  Who was the devil, and who was the angel? It all started when I was driving on a backcountry road in Pennsylvania.  I encountered a stand of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) whose trunks were adorned with plastic contraptions. “Spotted lanternfly traps,” I thought to myself. Curious to see how effective the contraptions were, I pulled over.  The traps were constructed 5 feet from the bases of the trees.  Each trap was clearly occupied.  I decided to take a closer look. The first trap held dozens of spiders and beetles — some of them alive, many of them dead.  The number of spotted lanternflies within this trap equaled exactly zero. I then checked trap number two.  Like the first trap, this one also held dozens of spiders and beetles.  The number of spotted lanternflies within this trap also equaled exactly zero. Every trap was like this.  None contained a single spotted lanternfly.  All imprisoned spiders and beetles. Thinking what my role in all of this should be, I soon found myself accompanied by two supernatural advisors — one on each shoulder. Cut the bags open?  Or walk away?  Cutting them open — or at least permanently disabling the traps — would release the living insects and ensure that no more would perish.  Doing so, however, would benefit spotted lanternflies — insects that are deemed invasive and destructive in North America.  What was the right thing to do? Questions on the topic of invasive species weren’t new to me.  They had materialized before.  What was right?  What was wrong?  What was good?  What was bad?  Who belonged?  Who didn’t? After much pondering over the years, I’ve come to realize that questions will always be plentiful.  In a brand new video, I ask several questions on the fascinating topic of invasive species.  Few of these questions have simple answers, but all are deeply considered. If you are interested in hearing my thoughts, you can watch the video here. Thank you for your support.
— Adam Haritan

Learn To Identify 100 Trees In All Seasons

Greetings,

I am very excited to announce that registration for my brand new online course will be open on Monday, May 23rd.

Trees In All Seasons is a four-season online video course designed to help you successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Additional topics that are featured in this course include tree ecology, physiology, anatomy, and taxonomy.

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 75 exclusive videos that lay the groundwork for successful tree identification.  If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling as a student in Trees In All Seasons.  

Please note:  Trees In All Seasons will be open for registration for two weeks only from Monday, May 23rd to Monday, June 6th.  Upon registration, you have immediate access to all course content and you can watch the videos at your own pace.

To register for Trees In All Seasons, mark your calendar for Monday, May 23rd and visit this link.

All additional information (including course structure, outline, and cost) will be posted on Monday.

My good friend Aaron Watson recently invited me on to his podcast to discuss my work with Trees In All Seasons and Learn Your Land.  To learn more about the course, as well as my motives in creating the course, check out the recent interview:
Part 1
Part 2

I look forward to seeing you on Monday!
-Adam Haritan

Dianthus – Herb of the Month – A Plant of Beauty and Meaning

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

Photo of pinks, Dianthus caryophyllusDianthus is The Herb Society’s Herb of the Month for April. The timing is perfect as the weather is beginning to be spring-like, and these plants are now available in our garden shops. The Greek botanist, Theophrastus (371-287 BCE), is credited with giving these flowers their name. He combined the Greek word for dios, “divine,” with anthos, “flower” and came up with dianthus.Dianthus have been cultivated and bred for over 2,000 years, and many different colors and flower types have been developed along the way. With successive breeding, however, many of the cultivars have lost their native clove-like scent. 

The old-fashioned plant that our grandmothers called pinks, Dianthus plumarius, can be a perennial or an annual. It is a compact, evergreen, clove-scented, low-growing species of Dianthus. Like other Dianthus, it prefers an alkaline soil and plenty of sun. The perennial variety blooms later…

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National Herb Garden Announces Internship Opening for 2022-2023!

The Herb Society of America Blog

Whole View NHG 2006Are you interested in learning more about the herbal uses of plants from around the world? Are you ready to challenge your horticultural skills in a public garden setting? Are you enthusiastic about sharing that knowledge with people? Then, consider joining our team!

The National Herb Garden, located on the grounds of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC, is looking to hire an intern to assist with all gardening tasks, including plant propagation, record keeping, and educational programming. This internship runs from April/May 2022 through spring of 2023. It is full-time, but part-time may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Schedule includes one weekend day August through October; the rest of the year, it is Monday through Friday. The position is open to U.S. citizens and is paid by stipend through The Herb Society of America. Housing is not provided. If you, or someone you know, is…

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HSA Webinar: Tea Gardening with Camellia sinensis

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Christine Parks

White flower and 2 green leaves in a white tea cup with a blue border, on a dark blue tableclothMany gardeners are surprised to learn that Camellia sinensis is the most popular camellia in the world. And most tea drinkers in the U.S. have no idea that tea is made from the leaves of a camellia. Like them, I enjoyed tea for decades without giving a second thought to its origin. All I knew was that Golden-tips came from Assam, Genmaicha from Japan, and Red Rose Tea from the grocery store. I got my daily dose of caffeine from coffee and drank as much herbal tea (tisanes) as traditional caffeinated teas. Flash forward 25 years, I’ve given up on coffee and become intimately involved with tea – a relationship grown, both literally and figuratively, through gardening.

Much has been written about herbal tea gardening. I have several of these books, along with various texts on herbal medicines, and an older favorite from my grandmother’s bookshelf, The…

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Know Your Tarragon – The Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

French tarragon in a potIt pays to pay attention to plant labels. Especially in the case of tarragon–especially if you are planning to use tarragon in your cooking. If you are growing tarragon for culinary purposes, be sure the label on the plant or seed that you buy says “French tarragon” or Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’, to be sure. If the label says only “tarragon,” you may be purchasing Russian tarragon, which is not the tarragon you want for your roast chicken or béarnaise sauce. 

Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, is The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for March. Read on for more information about the plants we call tarragon.

French tarragon — Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’    

The botanical name for tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, comes from the Latin word meaning “little dragon” or “snake.” It is thought that the plant was given this name because its roots…

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Viola Species – Herb of the Month, Herb for the Heart

Herbs for Holiday Baking

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Peggy Riccio

Pumpkin pie with sage leaves and marigold flowersWhen I think of herbs for Christmas, I always think of the Simon and Garfunkel “Scarborough Fair” song:  “Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.” Sure, there is peppermint and plenty of spices, but these herbs seem to be the most popular during the holidays. I think that is because these plants are still green in the garden. In my USDA Hardiness Zone 7 Virginia garden, I can still pick these plants in December to use in the kitchen. My mint plants, always in containers, overwinter well, and I can harvest spearmint and peppermint.

When using these herbs, don’t just think of flavor and cooking. Think of the plant itself, the structure, size, weight, and texture of the branches and leaves. Think of how the stem or leaf can be used to decorate the dish and your table. 

Parsley

Parsley is a biennial…

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Putting the Garden to Sleep: End of Season Activities and Rituals

The Druid's Garden

Garden bed with scarecrow

The day before the first hard frost. Our garden is still bountiful as the Butzemann watches over all….As the darkness continues to grow deeper on the landscape, it is high time to consider how to put the garden to rest for the winter and honor the garden that has offered you so much bounty and joy for the season. I actually find this one of my favorite gardening activities of the year, both on a metaphysical and physical level. There’s something special about “tucking” your garden in after a productive growing season and knowing that the land will go fallow and rest as the cold and ice come. Here are both the physical activities and sacred activities that you can do to help put your garden to rest.

Do note that my timings are based on the temperate climate in Western Pennsylvania, USDA Zone 6A.  You can adapt appropriately based…

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