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nature’s antiseptics

There are two strong antiseptics directly extracted from plants: one is tea tree oil, only found in the leaves of the Australian plant, and the other one is thymol, a potent antimicrobial found in thyme and oregano, a substance bee balms also have in abundance.

If you ever brushed against a clump of monardas you surely noticed that their leaves’ spicy fragrance is stronger than any other plant’s from the mint family, mint itself included. Read more…

mauve

If you were wondering what exactly the color mauve looks like, this is it. We know that because this is the flower that gave the color its name: mauve des bois, French mallow.

The flower has many names, the oddest of which is cheeseweed, a name inspired by the tightly packed seed heads that look like miniature cheese wheels. All the parts of the plant are edible, and this is fortunate, considering how prolific mallow is at producing offspring. Read more…

lemon verbena

I know, when you think cooking herb, lemon verbena is not the first plant that comes to mind. A lot of people, especially here, up north, where it is not winter hardy, may not be familiar with this wonderful plant, so I’ll do the honors.

It has the fragrance and taste of lemon zest, with just a hint of green herb, and it can be used in any recipe that asks for lemon flavor, from meat stews and salads to fish dishes, candy or sophisticated desserts. Read more…

rose propagation, rose pruning

The most common method of rose propagation is through stem cuttings. Cut a sturdy, still green stem around six inches long, making sure it has at least five leaves and preferably a spent flower. Bruise the end by crushing it or splitting it lengthwise, dip it in rooting hormone, which can be found at the plant nursery, and stick it in the ground in a location protected from excessive heat or draught. Place a glass jar over it and press it firmly into the soil, making sure no parts of the cutting touch the glass, so that condensation doesn’t encourage mold. Read more…

buttercups

On 01, Mar 2016 | No Comments | In plants | By All Year Garden

Guess which were the first flowers to bloom this year? Spring finally made up its mind, not before one last fluffy snow. Despite this desperate attempt, winter lost its power and the wet blanket swiftly melted to provide the plants with welcome moisture. Read more…

lavender

Since plant foliage usually doesn’t come in this hue, even for lavender itself, and this is the first time lavender came out of winter looking alive, I didn’t know if this was old growth I should prune or evergreen growth I should leave alone, so I looked up lavender care online. Read more…

still winter

First, I’ll point out the obvious: the snow cover from last week is still here and is not going to melt because temperatures have stayed consistently below freezing. Read more…

how to make honey

First, you have to be a bee. I was curious, so I looked up how bees make honey and wished I never found out. The process requires two bee stomachs, saliva and prolonged mastication of the nectar to make it gooey. We’re basically enjoying twice regurgitated bee spit mixture. Read more…

chamomile lawns

If you have a sunny slope that is difficult to mow, in a location with well drained, sandy soil, try a chamomile lawn.

The delightful apple scent is a reward in itself, and using chamomile as a groundcover offers some advantages, like low mowing, feeding and watering needs, but the plant is definitely not low maintenance. Read more…

growing fruit trees

Children are usually very excited about growing their own fruit, and even though most urban gardens can’t accommodate an orchard, there are ways to include fruit trees in your landscape. Many of them come in miniature form and can be grown in pots in all but the smallest of spaces, on a patio or a balcony corner. Read more…