Finding Peace in the Garden

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Karen Kennedy
HSA Education Coordinator

LemonBalmClose200911The 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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Bewitching Maibowle Cream Cake For Walpurgis Nacht (May Day Eve) – Gather Victoria

Good Witches Homestead

Soon May Day Eve will be upon us – so I’m sharing this recipe posted last year at Gather Patreon. (Patrons will see a new recipe coming soon!) This Maibowle Cream Cake – made and…

Source: Bewitching Maibowle Cream Cake For Walpurgis Nacht (May Day Eve) – Gather Victoria

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HSA Webinar: Virtues of Violets

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Jen Munson, Education Chair

Viola_sororia__Freckles__2010A 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.

Kathy 2-page-001Little do many of us realize that violets have been sought…

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US Lavender Growers Association –

Good Witches Homestead

 

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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Spring Flowers, Magical Bluebells.

Good Witches Homestead

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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Heartsease–Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

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.

Viola_tricolor_aggr Muriel Bendel. Wikimedia CommonsV. 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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Frost Flowers

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Katherine Schlosser

There is something peaceful about a frosty pre-dawn morning. On the morning that I wrote this, I waited at the front door for our latest grand-dog to arrive. We keep him during the day while our daughter and son-in-law work, he providing as much company for us as we do for him. The sky was just turning a rosy pink near the horizon, but overall it was cold and cloudy.

Verbesina alternifolia Wingstem Strawberry Rd by Kathy SchlosserShivering as I stood looking out the door, a glimpse of white caught my eye.  My first thought was squirrels had again torn open the chairs on the deck, ripping out stuffing to line their nests. Walking down the steps to retrieve the wisps of cotton, I realized these are FROST FLOWERS!!

These fleeting beauties look as though they are made of cotton candy and are not flowers at all. They are found on those days when…

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Natural Perfumery Course

Good Witches Homestead

Blending your own botanical perfume is a delightful, time-tested way to infuse both your home and your body with the plants you connect with most. A true breath of fresh air, the Natural Perfumery Course will empower you to form a new type of relationship with plants—a relationship that lets the plants speak for themselves with woodsy whispers, herbaceous harmonies, and smoky secrets. As the conductor of this olfactory orchestra, you will blend, infuse, tinker, and spritz your way to custom scent combinations for you, your herbal product line, and everyone on your gift list.

The Natural Perfumery Course includes all the information you need to start blending your own botanical perfumes at home today, including over 20 recipes, a special collection of perfumery plant monographs, simple rituals for incorporating them into your lifestyle, expert guidance, and beautifully illustrated downloads for safety, sustainability, techniques, and more. 


Follow your nose and enroll in the Natural Perfumery Course by Herbal Academy

Choose to enroll in…

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Botanical Brews – An introductory guide to using tropical specialty ingredients in beer

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Amanda Dix

(Blogmasters’ note: Experiencing craft beer is a high point for many connoisseurs these days. While beer in its various forms has been around for millennia, today’s brew-masters have taken beer to a whole new level by adding unique flavor combinations to their recipes. Capitalizing on that trend, many gardens and arboreta are incorporating special tasting events into their program repertoire that highlight the herbs that make each brew unique. Below are some of horticulturist and brewer Amanda Dix’s suggestions for upping your botanical beer game. Even if you don’t brew yourself, these might inspire you to try new things and understand how herbs are woven into this timeless beverage.)

Many culinary dishes and beverages are abundant with tropical herbs, spices, and fruit. Beer is no exception, and using unique ingredients alongside barley, hops, and yeast is very common these days.

When formulating a beer recipe, be sure…

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Primrose is Considered the Flower of February.

Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME:  primrose
GENUS:  Primula
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
P. denticulata-lavender, purple, or white flowers; grows to 12 inches. P. japonica ‘Millar Crimson’-flowers whorled around the 24-inch stem; blooms May-June. P. polyanthus-best known; colors are red, pink, blue, gold, and white, all with small yellow eyes.
FAMILY:  Primulaceae
BLOOMS:  spring
TYPE:  perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Primroses form an attractive rosette of crinkly, light green leaves. The flowers are generally brightly colored and occur in tight bundles on individual stems above the leaves.
CULTIVATION:  Needing partial shade, primroses thrive in well-drained, rich soil. They are indigenous to cool, moist meadows and woodland environments  Duplicating these conditions as closely as possible will create the best growing conditions for primroses. The soil should not be allowed to dry completely. To retain vigorously blooming plants, divide clumps every four to five years. Seeds should be sown in midsummer for bloom the following spring.

Primrose is…

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