Astragalus root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. While this herbal remedy is considered safe, there haven’t been sufficient studies to prove Astragalus benefits to those who take it. With over 2,000 species of Astragalus, it’s also important to note that some of these species are toxic. If you plan on growing Astragalus, be sure to acquire seeds or plants from a reputable source. Astragalus Benefits Also called Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Ogi, Hwanggi, and milk vetch, Astragalus root has been used for a number of illnesses including: Anorexia Blood sugar control Cancer therapy Diarrhea Fatigue Fibromyalgia Heart Disease Hepatitis Upper respiratory infections Also believed to stimulate the immune system, improve kidney function, and prevent senility Astragalus root is one of the 50 fundamental Chinese herbs. Clearly more studies are needed to prove the usefulness of this herb in Western medicine. NOTE: Before using Astragalus herb plants […]
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Have you ever dreamed of taking a moonlit walk through a fragrant garden filled with nighttime herbs? Let’s face it. Most of us are too busy during the day to really enjoy the outdoor space we work so hard to create. However, a nighttime herb garden provides the perfect after-hours escape from the pressures of everyday life. Sound interesting? What is a Nighttime Herb Garden? A nighttime herb garden is designed to capture the moonlight and enhance the aroma of night-blooming plants. Sometimes called a moon garden, but made strictly with herbs, these unique backyard areas are intended for use during the evening hours, especially on moonlit nights. These gardens were a favorite of the nobility during the Victorian era. In order to distinguish themselves from the suntanned working class, the wealthy strived to maintain a pale complexion. Moon gardens provided nobles the opportunity to enjoy the aromatic nighttime herbs […]
Herbs can, of course, be grown in an herb bed designed solely for their culinary use, but using herbs as edging or as borders is a fun way to incorporate them amongst the rest of the landscape. Edging with herbs is also another way to integrate edible plants into the landscape while at the same time delineating a particular area of feature. Interested in trying your hand at herb edging? Read on to learn how to grow an herb border. About Edging with Herbs When gardeners plan a new garden space, they usually map out the shape of the bed, prepare the soil for planting and sketch out the location of trees, shrubs and other plants. What is often an afterthought, if a thought at all, is edging. Edging or creating borders often between the garden bed and lawn is the finishing touch. Although it is a finishing touch, it’s […]
A Mother’s Day floral centerpiece is a great way to celebrate mom. Hosting a meal and making it beautiful using just the right flowers and arrangement will show you care, taking the time and effort into making it a great day. Honor mom and celebrate spring with pretty seasonal flowers and creative displays. Read on for some ideas to get you started. Flowers for Mother’s Day Tables What better way to show mom you care and are thinking of her than to use her favorite flowers? Plants for Mother’s Day centerpieces can be just about anything you want. Keep in mind what the woman of the hour likes best, though. Also consider the time of year. It’s right in the middle of spring and there are a lot of great seasonal flowers in bloom. Choose flowers in season to make your arrangements more affordable and to create a spring theme […]
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Grilling features the freshest of produce and meats at their peak but often relies on dried herbs for flavor. Why not use fresh herbs for grilling instead? A grilling herb garden is easy to grow and can even be grown in a container if garden space is at a premium. Sure, you can buy fresh herbs for marinades at the grocers, but growing them yourself puts them quickly at your fingertips, and for a fraction of the cost since fresh herbs for meat and veggie dishes can be used throughout the growing season. About Herbs for Grilling Many people use a dry rub on their meats to flavor them when grilling. In a pinch, this imparts great flavor, but using fresh herbs for marinades and in a fresh herb dry rub really packs a punch. Fresh herbs exude copious flavinoids from their essential oils that not only increase the flavor […]
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An office spice garden or herb garden is a great addition to a workspace. It provides freshness and greenery, pleasant aromas, and tasty seasonings to snip off and add to lunches or snacks. Plants bring nature indoors and make a working area calmer and more peaceful. Use these tips to create and care for your desk herb garden. Where to Grow Herbs in the Office Even with very limited space, you can grow a few plants in the office. If you have an entire office to yourself, you have options. Create a space by a window for a small garden or tuck it into a corner with an adequate light source. For smaller spaces, consider desktop herbs. Carve out a little space on your desk for a small set of containers. Just be sure that there will be enough light, either from a nearby window or artificial light. Choose containers […]
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For many people, Mother’s Day coincides with the true beginning of gardening season. The soil and air have warmed, the risk of frost is gone (or mostly gone), and it’s time to get planting. So why not plant a garden for Mother’s Day? Honor Mom with something that will last for years. What is a Mother’s Day Garden? A Mother’s Day garden is whatever you want it to be. There are no rules or strict traditions. This is simply a good idea for celebrating an important day and a very important person. You could create a garden together with your mom or do it for her as a surprise. And if you are a mom, plan a garden with your kids. Regardless, it will give you something everyone enjoy working on for years to come. There are many ways to craft a Mother’s Day garden. You can design just one […]
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Each year, Americans spend a tremendous amount of money on fresh flowers to celebrate Mother’s Day. While traditional Mother’s Day flowers can be quite beautiful, they can also be expensive. In addition to this, the imported flowers may quickly begin to die in their vase. Exploring Mother’s Day flower ideas which are both creative and long lasting is another option. Using flowers for Mother’s Day in interesting ways is sure to leave quite an impression. Flowers to Get for Mom Traditional Mother’s Day flowers commonly consist of blooms which have been shipped thousands of miles. Instead, consider sourcing flowers from local farmers. Local specialty cut-flower farmers are guaranteed to have blooms that are fresh, beautiful, and will have a much longer vase life. Additionally, the decision to buy local will help to support community small businesses. Mother’s Day floral arrangements may also be assembled according to flower meaning. In doing […]
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If you want a groundcover that cares for itself, looks lovely, blooms, attracts insects, helps prevent weeds, thrives in sunny and dry locations, and conserves moisture, then look no further than an oregano groundcover. As an added bonus, groundcover oregano smells delightful when crushed or walked on. Using Greek oregano as groundcover is a lazy gardener’s quick and easy way of covering a trouble spot in the landscape. Spreading Greek Oregano Do you want to smell Greek or Italian food every time you walk a certain area of the garden? A Greek oregano plant cover will provide that unique experience and transport you to some of the most romantic cities in the world aromatically. Spreading Greek oregano is hardy and needs little care once established. The herb may be just the tough groundcover you have been seeking. Greek oregano sprawls beautifully in hot, sunny locations. It is even drought tolerant […]
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What would we do without oregano? That traditional, aromatic herb that adds authentic Italian flavor to pizza, pasta, bread, soups, and salads? In addition to its culinary uses, oregano is an attractive plant, easy to grow in sunny herb gardens and containers or hanging baskets where it can trail lazily over the rim. Oregano is hardy to USDA planting zone 5 and above or it can be grown indoors in cooler climates. It is easy to grow, and propagating oregano from cuttings couldn’t be simpler. Read on to learn how to plant oregano cuttings. Oregano Cutting Propagation When you take cuttings from oregano, use sharp scissors or pruning shears and cut stems 3 to 5 inches (8-10 cm.) long. The cuts should be diagonal, and each should be just above a node, the point where a leaf grows or is about to emerge. Pinch leaves and buds from the lower […]
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Looking to add some color to the early blooming crocuses and snowdrops? Try growing reticulated iris flowers. What is a reticulated iris? Read on to learn about reticulated iris care and related reticulated iris information. What is a Reticulated Iris? Reticulated iris (Iris reticulata) is one of 300 species or so of iris flowers. It is native to Turkey, the Caucasus, Northern Iraq and Iran. Reticulated iris flowers are small blooms of between 5-6 inches (13-15 cm.) in height. Each bloom has six upright petals called standards and three hanging petals, which are called falls. This iris is prized for its purple to blue, gold accented blossoms. Foliage is green and grass-like. Additional Reticulated Iris Information Named for the net-like pattern on the bulb’s surface, reticulated irises a better harbinger of spring than crocuses. Unlike crocus, reticulated iris bulbs stay at the depth they were planted, thus giving a more […]
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Bearded iris is a popular perennial for its stunning flowers, variety of bloom colors, and striking, sword like leaves. Growing these flowers is not difficult, as they are drought tolerant. They only need to be divided every few years to maintain healthy, blooming plants. Replant your divisions in your garden or share with friends. What is a Bearded Iris? Bearded iris flowers are perennials that grow from rhizomes, modified underground stems that grow and spread horizontally in the soil. The flower of the iris has three petals that grow upright, known as standards, and three downward growing petals known as falls. The falls have a hairy texture, giving the flower the name ‘bearded.’ The name iris comes from the Greek name for the goddess of the rainbow, which indicates how much color variety there is in this perennial. There are hundreds of bearded iris varieties from which to choose that […]
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If you’re looking for a double-duty basil, Magical Michael is an excellent choice. This All America Winner has an attractive appearance, which makes it a showy plant to incorporate into decorative flower pots and front-of-the-house displays. What is Magical Michael Basil? Originally developed for ornamental use, Magical Michael basil plants have a compact bush-like shape and reach a consistent size at maturity. The aromatic green leaves are edible, although not as flavorful as other types of basil. The leaves can be used in flower arrangements for their beauty and fragrance. Here’s additional Magical Michael basil info: Life Span: Annual Height: 15 to 16 inches (38 to 41 cm.) Spacing: 14 to 18 inches (36 to 46 cm.) Light Requirements: Full sun Water Requirements: Average to moist soil Frost Resistant: No Flower Color: Purple bracts, white flowers Uses: Culinary, ornamental, attractive to pollinators Growing Magical Michael Basil Start Magical Michael basil […]
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Certainly, you know of basil plant uses in the kitchen. From pesto sauce to the classic pairing of fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil (caprese), this herb has long been favored by cooks, but have you tried any other uses for basil? Keep reading to discover a few strange uses for basil. Strange Uses for Basil In Italy, basil has always been a token of love. Other cultures have had more interesting basil uses, or rather downright strange uses, for basil. Whatever the ancient Greeks and Romans were using it for, they thought it would only grow if you screamed and cursed at the plant. If that isn’t strange enough, they also thought that a leaf from the plant left under a pot would turn into a scorpion, although who wanted to attempt this miraculous act is beyond me. The idea persisted into the Middle Ages, however, where it was taken […]
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When it comes to using healing herbs, we often think of teas in which various leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, or bark are steeped in boiling water; or tinctures, concentrated herbal extracts that are generally taken orally. We may forget about the many benefits of herbal poultices, simple herbal treatments used for various discomforts since ancient times. Homemade poultices are useful and they’re surprisingly easy to make. Take a look at the following information and learn the basics of how to make a poultice. What is a Poultice? A poultice is simply a way to apply herbal matter directly to the skin. Typically, the herbs are mixed with water or oil and applied much like a paste. If the herb is particularly potent, such as with onion, mustard, garlic, or ginger, the skin may be protected by a thin cloth or the herbs might be placed in a cloth bag or […]
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From our earliest days on earth humans have been using plants as medicine. Despite the development of high-tech medicines, many people still turn to plants with healing properties as home remedies or to supplement the regime prescribed by a doctor. If you are interested in learning about plants that heal wounds, read on. Healing with Plants It is foolish to pass up a visit to the doctor if you are seriously wounded. Nothing beats a tetanus shot for preventing that disease. However, there is definitely a place in the world for treatment using plants with healing properties. Once you’ve seen a doctor, you’ll want to follow their advice. You can also use herbs or other wound healing plants to supplement the wound care process. How to Use Healing Plants People have been healing with plants for generations and you’ll find more than one list of plants that heal wounds. Three […]
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There are a lot of reasons to grow lavender; the amazing aroma, as a pretty border along walkways and beds, attracting bees, and to harvest and use the flowers for cosmetic or culinary purposes. Harvesting lavender plants isn’t tricky, but you need to know when and how to do it in order to get the most of your bounty. When to Pick Lavender If you are just starting out growing lavender, keep in mind that it takes about three years for the plants to reach their peak maturity and to give you the greatest harvest. You can pick some in the first year or two, although leaving the plants alone allows them to grow and develop more. The best lavender harvest time is early in the morning if you are picking them for aromatic uses. Most of the flowers should still be closed buds. Morning is when the oils in […]
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Lavender is a beautiful herb that’s relatively easy to grow if you have a little extra space and the right growing conditions. You may even be able to make a little extra money by planting a lavender field. There are countless ways to make money lavender farming. For instance, you can sell fresh or dried lavender, or create fragrant sachets, lotions, soaps, teas, flavorings, medicines, essential oils and other products. How do you go about growing a field of lavender? The following information explains more. Growing Conditions for Lavender Farming Lavender grows in Mediterranean climates where summers are warm and dry and winters are cool and mild. Don’t be discouraged if your climate isn’t ideal; some of America’s loveliest lavender farms are located in the rainy Pacific Northwest and the chilly Midwest. Some hardy lavenders tolerate winters as far north as USDA plant hardiness zones 5 or 6, but plants […]
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Lavender is a tough, adaptable plant that grows beautifully without a lot of fuss and moving a lavender plant to a new location isn’t difficult as long as you prepare the new spot carefully. Newly transplanted lavender requires a bit of tender loving care until the roots are established. Take a look at our tips on how to transplant lavender and when to divide plants. When to Divide and Transplant Lavender Transplanting lavender can be done in spring or fall in mild climates, but spring is the best time for moving a lavender plant in climates with cold winters. Lavender accepts transplanting better when the weather isn’t too hot. Try to pick a cool (but not cold) day for transplanting. How to Transplant Lavender Prepare the soil in the new location ahead of time. Be sure the spot is sunny and that the soil drains well, as lavender will rot […]
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Herbal remedies are all the rage at the moment, but their use actually dates back centuries. Peppermint, for example, was first cultivated in England in the late 17th century but has been documented as being in use in ancient Egypt. Around 1,000 BC, ancient civilizations used peppermint for its health benefits, but is peppermint really good for you, and if so, what benefits does peppermint have? Is Peppermint Good for You? Peppermint is a naturally occurring hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and watermint (Mentha aquatic). The benefits of peppermint have been hyped for centuries for everything from gastrointestinal distress to relaxation. While some ancient remedies utilizing peppermint for health may be questionable, modern science has proven that, yes, peppermint is good for you, although there are some cautions to that statement. Read on to learn about the benefits of peppermint as well as its limitations. What Benefits Does Peppermint Have? […]
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