Happy St. Barbara’s Day! It never ceases to amaze that if you scratch the surface of any holiday dish you’ll find a goddess history thousands of years old. Take this German Lemon Loaf Cake baked by my Oma for as long as I can remember. Its intensely lemony glaze soaks into the cake making it…Season of Feasting: St. Barbara Christmas Cake — Gather Victoria
Before I share a new video with you, I want to provide some exciting news regarding the upcoming online tree identification course.
After many years of diligent work, I’m happy to announce that the brand new course — Trees In All Seasons — will be released in May. This online video course is designed to teach students how to confidently and successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter. Additional topics that are featured in this course include taxonomy, ecology, physiology, and general natural history.
If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling in Trees In All Seasons this May. To receive updates regarding the initial release of the course, simply remain a subscriber to this newsletter.
And now on to the brand new video…
It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time in the woods. It’s also no secret that the woods in which I spend my time harbor some of the most reviled organisms on Earth.
Because I share many of my outdoor adventures on video, and because I live in a state (Pennsylvania) whose Lyme disease cases are extraordinarily high, people naturally want to know how I deal with ticks.
What precautions do I take? What repellents do I recommend? How much duct tape do I wrap around my socks? What does diet have to do with all of this?
Questions regarding ticks are among the most common questions that I receive. To compile my thoughts and concerns, I decided to film a video in which I discuss my 6-part strategy.
To learn how I deal with ticks, check out the brand new video!
In addition to harboring ticks, the woods in which I spend my time are home to beautiful wildflowers. Pictured here are 15 wildflowers that blossom during the early weeks of spring in the northeastern United States. Have you seen any of these flowers recently? To view a larger image, check out the latest Instagram post.
Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!
By Maryann Readal
Dianthus 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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By Karen Kennedy
HSA Education Coordinator
The lazy days of summer quickly transition to the more scheduled and hurried days of autumn. While glorious hues are found in changing leaf color and late season blooms like goldenrod and Joe-Pye weed, the pace of our world undeniably quickens during this season. Add the additional stress and worry about the Covid-19 pandemic and the message is clear–take time to personally cultivate peace and manage stress.
Research by environmental psychologists like Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, as well as landscape architects like Clare Cooper Marcus and Naomi Sachs and others, points to the overall positive impact of plant-rich environments and contact with nature on reducing mental fatigue and increasing feelings of restoration, recovery from stress, and improved mood (Haller, Kennedy and Capra, 2019).
Gardeners, without knowledge of the research, often say they find peace and solace in the garden. The act of gardening, tending…
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by Jen Munson, Education Chair
A common harbinger of spring is the showy dandelion with its bright yellow flower that pops against newly greening lawns. With dandelion sightings, so the debate begins between those who want the perfectly manicured lawn and environmentalists who see dandelions as an early food source for pollinators and beneficials. The dazzling dandelion outshines another harbinger of spring, and that is the less-assuming violet.
Join HSA onMarch 23rd at 1pm EDT for the “Virtues of Violets.” For guest speaker, Katherine Schlosser, the arrival of violets is one of the happiest times in her garden. While her neighbors are out spraying herbicides on their lawns, you can find her swooning over the tiny botanical treasures, harboring in the joy and knowledge that these plants chose to be present in her yard.
Little do many of us realize that violets have been sought…
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Network with other lavender growers from around the world, learn from expert growers and business leaders in the industry, and access a wealth of resources for your business. New growers will appreciate our intensive, two-part “Start a Farm” series, while more experienced growers will benefit from a wide range of topics on production and business. Through the virtual platform, we will be able to provide networking in small groups, topical discussion opportunities, and a unique Exhibitor Hall experience that will allow you to truly assess the resources available to your farm and your business.
Lavender farms, shops, and festivals are popping up all over the country, and so are legions of lavender lovers. The United States Lavender Growers Association (USLGA) is offering enthusiasts the opportunity to indulge in an inspiring and fun day to discover all about lavender. You’ll be able to “tour” scenic lavender fields, gardens, and shops…
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To Elizabethans, bluebells were enchanted, and heaven forbid you hear their bell-shaped heads ring, for death would likely follow. Links with folklore were still prevalent more than three centuries later, as borne out by Cicely Mary Barker’s depictions ofFlower Fairies(the first book in the series was published in 1923) and her assertion that the bluebell be ‘the peerless Woodland King’.
Deep blue H.non-scripta, a perennial bulb, flourishes in humus-rich soils, and on limestone ridges. Young shoots push their way up through leaf litter to allow their flowers to open in the dappled shade of trees such as beech and oak.
The bluebell is a natural indicator that helps us to identify ancient woodlands, where it has grown for hundreds of years. Rich in pollen and nectar, it is also a vital food source for many native insects, including its main pollinator, the bumblebee.
Believed to call…
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A Tiny Herb Worth Knowing
by Maryann Readal
Heartsease, Viola tricolor, also called Johnny-jump-up, is The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for March. It is the perfect time to learn about this delicate little woodland herb that will be popping out of the warming earth very soon. You may know V. tricolor by one of its many other names. There are dozens of names for it including wild pansy, hearts delight, come-and-cuddle-me, love-in-idleness, call-me-to-you, and kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, etc.
V. tricolor is in the violet family (Violaceae). The flowers can be purple, yellow, or white but are most commonly all three colors. The herb is native to Europe and Eurasia and was thought to be brought to the United States by colonists. It can be an annual, biennial, or a short-lived perennial. It will reseed itself and thrives in cooler weather.
This unassuming little herb is rich…
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