Written by Meghan Gemma with Juliet Blankespoor
Photography by Juliet Blankespoor (except where credited) with Contributions from Steven Foster
If asked to imagine a garden, I’d bet that most of us would call to mind a sunny patch interplanted with some array of food, flowers, and herbs—the traditional household and homestead arrangement. Yet Indigenous peoples around the world have long understood that any ecosystem can be gently tended as a garden. For those of us fortunate enough to live near forests, the woodland—with its watery seeps, shady hollows, and part-sun edges—presents us with a fertile opportunity to grow a bounty of food and medicine.
Forests, by their own right and design, tend to be inherently rich in medicine—from groundcover plants and understory herbs to overstory canopy trees. Ginseng (Panax ginseng, P. quinquefolius), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and elderberry (Sambucus nigra, S. canadensis) are just a few of the herbs that can be cultivated within the forest and on its edge.
Woodland cultivation is a way for us to nurture new plant communities as many of our wild forests are being logged, poached, paved, grazed, and otherwise fragmented. By growing woodland herbs, we might add precious medicines to our home apothecaries, but we’re also in service to wild plants—especially those that have been overharvested to supply domestic and foreign markets. Cultivated forest herbs are a sustainable and ethical way for us to both increase woodland diversity and partake of medicines that are otherwise increasingly rare.
Read complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Cultivating Woodland Herbs, Planning a Medicinal Forest Garden
Originally posted on The Herb Society of America Blog: By Maryann Readal With its bright red calyces, green leaves, and okra-like flowers, Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as red zinger, red sorrel, sour tea, Florida cranberry, and roselle, makes an unusual and striking accent plant in the garden. On a recent trip to Montreal, I was…
via Roselle Hibiscus– An Herb with Many Names — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs
For the home herbalist, the easiest and safest way to use the plant is by making a poultice of the seeds.
On the walk home from school, there on the corner of Hutchinson and River, stood a stately tree with heavy arms holding aloft a rounded crown of green, an English Horse Chestnut tree that made in mid-spring a fantastic display of upright, conical flower clusters and in fall, dropped spiny balls that split apart to reveal the shiny, mahogany-colored seeds we called buckeyes. Ginny was wearing shorts, and as the more athletic of us two, was elected to climb up and see if she could shake down some seed balls, which didn’t tend to fall on their own until after frost. Her tennies gripped the light bark of the tree as she scrabbled, ignoring the scratches to her knobby knees.
“Ginny knows how to shimmy!” I called out. “Quit trying to make a rhyme and give me a leg up,” she winced, reaching for the lowest branch. I stood below and held both of my palms up for her to step on, and thus assisted she swung herself onto the limb. She called down, “I’m getting the willies!” “Just shake,” I exhorted, and she did. Several of the treasured orbs came bouncing down onto the grass. I started to pry one apart, soon to be interrupted by a gasping call, “Help!” I looked up to find Ginny hanging from the branch, her arms stretched as straight as clothespins. Some kids called her “Skinny Ginny” but I never did, because I was her friend. She didn’t want to drop — it was too far. So I stood and extended my palms as before, to give her a boost down. Just then she slipped off the limb and came crashing down on me, and we both ended up flat in the grass, unhurt and laughing. The nuts jumped out of the husk when we whacked them on the sidewalk. I put one in my pocket, but kept my hand there, massaging the soothing surface with my thumb. Buckeyes were good luck, everybody knew that. These treasures sometimes accompanied me to school, but eventually ended up rolling loudly in the bottom of my socks drawer, or bouncing in the laundry. My mom didn’t mind. Little did I then know how conspicuously this tree would serve me later in life.
Read complete article at: Richo’s Blog ~ The Lucky Buckeye