Walking Meditation Garden with Hugelkultur Beds

The Druid's Garden

As a practitioner of permaculture and as a druid, I am always looking for ways to work with the land to create sacred and ecologically healthy spaces.  That is, to create self-sustaining ecosystems that produce a varitey of yields: create habitat, offer nectar and pollen, systems that retain water and nutrients, offer medicine and food, create beauty and magic.  But conventional gardens, even sheet mulched gardens, can falter in water scarce conditions.  So building gardens long-term for resiliency and with a variety of climate challenges in mind is key.  At the same time, I am also looking to create sacred gardens, that is, not just places to grow food (which is simple enough) but to develop sacred relationships and deepen my connection with the living earth. Given all of this, I developed a design for a butterfly-shaped garden that would use hugelkultur raised beds and allow for a space…

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Know Your Underground Roots

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Underground Stems

The underground stems, by being situated below the surface of the soil, protect themselves against unfavorable conditions of weather and the attack of animals and serve as storehouses for reserve food, and in vegetative propagation. Their stem nature can be distinguished by the presence of nodes and internodes, scale leaves at the nodes, axillary buds in axils of scale leaves and a terminal bud. Further, the anatomy of the underground stem resembles that of an aerial stem. The underground stems are of four types namely rhizome, tuber, bulb, and corm.

Rhizome

A rhizome is a thick horizontally growing stem which usually stores food material. It has nodes and internodes, scale leaves, axillary buds, adventitious roots and a terminal bud. Scale leaves enclosing the axillary buds are seen arising from the nodal points of the stem. Some of the axillary buds develop into branches which grow upwards into the…

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Herb Guide: Growing and Using Rosemary

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Rosmarinus officinalis

Also, Known As:

  • Compass Weed
  • Dew of the Sea
  • Garden Rosemary
  • Incensier
  • Mary’s Mantle
  • Mi-tieh-hsiang
  • Old Man
  • Polar Plant
  • Rosemary
  • Rosemary Plant

Rosmarinus officinalis L. (family Lamiaceae), is also known as rosemary. This herb is an evergreen shrub, with lovely aromatic linear leaves. Colored a dark shade of green above and white below, the leaves of the rosemary give off a beautiful fragrance, and with its small pale blue flowers, the plant is cultivated extensively in many kitchen gardens across America and elsewhere.

The evergreen shrub originated in the Mediterranean area, but it is today cultivated almost everywhere in the world, primarily for its aromatic leaves. The shrub has several ash colored branches, and the bark is rather scaly. The leaves, as described earlier, are opposite and leathery thick. They are lustrous and dark green above and downy white underneath, with a prominent vein in the middle and…

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Our Herb Garden Guide for Desert Dwellers

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

HERB GARDEN

Herbs have been used for generations for many purposes from medicinal remedies to perfumes and culinary uses. Herbs also provide beauty and variety to our desert landscapes. We invite you to use this guide to learn about the variety of herbs that grow well in our Sonoran Desert and how you can create your own herb garden at home.

OVERVIEW
The Herb Garden is designed with seven themed gardens. This guide has information about each area with plant recommendations and growing tips about herbs you can grow in your low desert garden.

THEMES
Sensory Garden Wildlife Garden Tea Garden Mediterranean Garden Picante Garden Culinary Garden Medicinal Garden

DEFINITION: herb: a plant that is useful in some way

MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN

Many herbs that thrive in our harsh desert environment are of Mediterranean origin. Soil types, low rainfall and over 300 sunny days a year allow these familiar herbs…

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Wild Food Profile: Eat Your Hostas!

Often, when you are interested in unusual and wild foods, a season for a delectable treat may only last for a few short days or weeks. A fun early spring food that is usually popping up around or before Beltane in temperate parts of North America is the hosta. Yes, you heard me–that large leafy […]

via Wild Food Profile: Eat Your Hostas! — The Druid’s Garden

CREATING HERB GARDENS WITH CHILDREN

Visit http://www.kidsgardening.org/ for more fun gardening ideas at school or at home. Herbs arouse kids’ curiosity and interest because they thoroughly engage the senses. What better motivator for student investigations than plants that feel cool, smell great, and can turn mere tomatoes into pizza sauce? Their life stories, it turns out, are fascinating too. After all, […]

via Creating Herb Gardens With Children — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Cake: Prosperity Magic — gather

In my tiny wildish garden, nestling at the foot of a tall tree, is sweet woodruff. Her glossy leaves and small white blossoms may be hidden by a profusion of taller plants, but it is her scent that perfumes the air. Fresh, her fragrance (like rain, earth, fresh air and green grass all condensed into…

via Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Cake: Prosperity Magic — gather

A Shady Subject…

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Question: I have a lot of trees in my yard, which leaves very few sunny spots. Are there any herbs I can grow?

herb farm bucket

Answer: Most herbs love the sun, but some do thrive in woodlands and other shady spaces. Look for herbs that have shallow roots, which help them compete with tree roots that tend to hog water. Here are several of my favorite herbs that thrive on four or fewer hours of sun a day or dappled sunlight.

  • Angelica {Angelica archangelica}
  • Anise Hyssop {Agastache foeniculum}
  • Black cohosh {Actaea racemose}
  • Cardamom {Elettaria cardamomum}
  • Catnip {Nepeta Cataria}
  • Chervil {Anthriscus cerefolium}
  • Chives {Allium schoenoprasum}
  • Cilantro {Coriandum sativum}
  • Evening Primrose {Oenothera biennis}
  • Ginger, wild {Asarum canadense} or Mioga {Zingiber mioga}
  • Goldenseal {Hydrastis canadensis}
  • Lemon balm {Melissa officinalis}

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Honey Bees; Heros of Our Planet

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Have you ever had the opportunity to observe the busy work of a tiny honey bee as it meanders from flower to flower on a clear, sunny day? There’s something truly captivating about honey bees that draw us deeper into their world. We see honey bees frequently in books, movies, and television, where they are often associated with making hives filled with delicious, golden honey. You might recall reading about a hungry bear character in search of the honey bee’s golden treasures in various children’s stories. Honey bees are known for their production of honey and beeswax, as well as the large role they play in the pollination of plants and flowers. Honey bees can also be considered super-organisms due to their complex social systems and dynamic, tight-knit interactions with one another and their environments.

Bee Species

There are actually seven recognized species of honey bee within the genus Apis…

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Indefinitely Wild; Foraging Wild Strawberries

Good Witches Homestead

Once abundant, wild strawberries provided helpful medicine to Native Americans and early settlers.

Picture it; An abandoned field of wild strawberries, ripe and shimmering under a bright June sun. The field is isolated, bounded on three sides by leafy, benevolent hardwoods. A light breeze moves gently through the leaves and sparse grasses.

A Berry in History

I’m not alone, of course, in my love of this summertime fruit. The wild strawberry {Fragaria virginiana, or F. vesca} held a special place in the lives of several Native American tribes – in their mythology, diets, and medicine – which they shared with early settlers.

In Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants, Charlotte Erichsen-Brown reveals some uses of the wild strawberry plant through the eyes of early Europeans, whose research was likely based on what they learned from these native tribes as well as their own observations. From…

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