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aromatherapy

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…

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…

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…

holy aloe

I got this aloe plant for medicinal purposes, since aloe gel is a wonderful moisturizer and a great first aid balm for minor scrapes and burns.

At first I couldn’t bring myself to harvest any of its tiny leaves, I thought it needed all of its foliage to adjust to the new location and stabilize what looked like a very unsure bearing, easily uprooted. Read more…

pamper your skin

If any hands deserve pampering and care, there would be those of gardeners. They scoop and putter, weed and feed and by the end of the day their hands get rough and blistered, with dirt under the fingernails and hardened cuticles; it is hard work to bring forth the miracle of harvest. Read more…

lemon balm

The scent of lemon balm is warm, citrusy and soothing, a fistful of good cheer on a cloudy day. This resilient herb will thrive in any garden and it is not fussy about the soil, sunlight or water, which is why some came to see it as a symbol for overcoming difficulty. Read more…

cooking with lavender

Lavender is of course the go to plant for skin care and aromatherapy, but it can hold its own with the rest of the mints and spices in the kitchen cupboard.

I discovered Herbes de Provence a while back, a spice mix that contains a good quantity of lavender, and it keeps finding its way on every roast and in every stew ever since. Read more…

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lavender

Lavender is a wonderful herb for skin care. Its essential oil heals sunburn, irritation, bites and scrapes, improves the texture and tone of blemish prone skin and is so gentle it can be applied undiluted to the skin. Read more…

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natural disinfectant

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. Read more…

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