Let’s see who’s there

If you have been reading my blog, I am sure you know by now that gardening and maintaining a garden is just not my thing. But when it comes to foraging, now that is more up my alley. Although, you can claim removing last year’s dead stems and leaves is actually “gardening,” I view it more like exploration. Because the very act of removing all last year’s detritus from my little medicinal garden is always thrilling. It reminds me of when I would take Mathew into the woods to see what critters were living under logs and rocks. We would very slowly and carefully pick the object up to see who was there. It was always very exciting.  That’s how I approach my little garden. Mind you, it is a very small garden perhaps only 10′ x 10′, but an enormous amount of love and intention goes into it.

waking up the gardenAs I started to remove last year’s detritus, the first plants to reveal themselves were Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris), Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and Catnip (Nepeta cataria). I think I could also see a very shy Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) peaking through. Since I removed everything that would impede their journey to the surface and as long as the weather continues to be “spring like,” I suspect now all the plants will have an easier time revealing themselves, and by the end of the week more will breaking through the earth.

Waking up Lady's Mantle

Waking up Lady’s Mantle

This will be the 6th year I will be nurturing the garden. Every year, I add one or two more herbs to get to know and learn. Some of them I had never worked with before, so it has been very interesting. Gratefully, most of the herbs love the garden, coming back and flourish year after year. Unfortunately, some have enjoyed the garden a little bit too much. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and Catnip (Nepeta cataria) adore the garden but since they thrive all over our land, there is no reason for them to take up space here.  Other plants have found their way into my garden and are welcome, such as Red Clover (Trifolium pretense). Several years ago, I learned how tenacious Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) was, silly me, I planted it in the center of the garden, thinking it would look nice. It really did until it started to crowd all the other plants who were stifled by its beautiful large overbearing leaves and flower stalks.  The next fall, we tried our best to take it all out so the other plants could breathe again. We replanted the Comfrey between Mike’s baby apple trees, where is will help the trees thrive. Comfrey’s root system efficiently mines potassium, calcium along with other minerals enriching the soil around it. We did not do the best job eradicating it from the garden, as it keeps revealing itself, less each year but nevertheless she is always there. Truthfully, I am not too sure that it is possible to totally eradicate Comfrey, but I guess time will tell. It is a fabulous reminder that we really cannot manage nature. One of the very reasons I am more of a forager at heart than a gardener.

 

 

What’s under there?

If you have been reading my blog, I am sure you know by now that gardening does not come naturally to me. Foraging does. Perhaps I am approaching gardening differently this year, because the very act of removing last year’s dead stems and leaves from my little medicinal garden was thrilling. It reminded me of when I would take Mathew into the woods to see what critters were living under logs and rocks. We would very slowly and carefully pick the object up, to see who was there. It was always very exciting.  That is how I’m approaching my little garden this year. Mind you, it is a very small garden perhaps only 10′ x 7′, but an enormous amount of love and intention goes into it.

waking up the gardenAs I started to remove last year’s detritus, the first plants to reveal themselves were Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris), Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and Catnip (Nepeta cataria). I think I could also see a very shy Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) peaking through. Since I removed everything that would impede their journey to the surface and as long as the weather continues to be “spring like,” I suspect now all the plants will have an easier time revealing themselves, and by the end of the week more will breaking through the earth.

Waking up Lady's Mantle

Waking up Lady’s Mantle

This will be the 4th year I will be nurturing the garden. Every year, I add one or two more herbs to get to know and learn. Some of them I had never worked with before, so it has been very interesting. Gratefully, most of the herbs love the garden, coming back and thriving year after year. Unfortunately, some have enjoyed the garden a little bit too much. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and Catnip (Nepeta cataria) adore the garden but since they thrive all over our land, there is no reason for them to take up space here.  Other plants have found their way into my garden and are welcome, such as Red Clover (Trifolium pretense). Last year, I learned how tenacious Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) was, silly me, I planted it in the center of the garden, thinking it would look nice. It really did until it started to crowd all the other plants who were stifled by its beautiful large overbearing leaves and flower stalks.  Last fall, we tried our best to take it all out so the other plants could breathe again. We replanted the comfrey between Mike’s baby apple trees, where is will help the trees thrive. Comfrey’s root system efficiently mines potassium, calcium along with other minerals enriching the soil around it. Hopefully, we did a good job eradicating it from the garden. Truthfully, I am not too sure that it is possible but I guess time will tell. It is a fabulous reminder that we really cannot manage nature. One of the very reasons I am more of a forager at heart than a gardener.

 

 

Never leave home without your mother

Motherwort growing around our home

Motherwort growing around our house

As I have mentioned before, some herbalists believe that when you are in need, the right healing herb will present itself. I don’t know how I feel about this belief but I will tell that when we moved to our current home there were several plants growing abundantly around the property that I did not know much about then but have since become close allies to our family. Today I would like to introduce you to Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca). There is an old saying, “Never leave home without your Mother.” Well, that has definitely become the mantra in our home.

Motherwort is an amazing heart tonic. Its botanical name Leonurus translates as “lion-hearted.” It nourishes and strengthens the heart muscle and its blood vessels. It helps with circulation and increases oxygen in the blood. I have found it excellent for slowing heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat and lowering blood pressure as well as easing stressed nerves and relieving anxiety.

Last year, Mike and I decided to get life insurance. As part of the application process, there was a medical assessment and exam. I typically have low average blood pressure 90/57, Mike’s at the time was on the high end of average and he was in the habit of checking his blood pressure regularly. The morning of the examine we both checked our blood pressure and mine was very high, 140/90, certainly a first for me. Mike suggested Motherwort, as he had become a fan of its hypertension and stress relieving qualities. I took some Motherwort and during the examination, my blood pressure was taken three times, each time it was 100/60, it was back to normal. I was very impressed with the speed and how well it worked. I knew it was good, but wow!

As I am approaching 50, my body is changing from childbearing to maturity. Some people use the term “crone” years but that does not sit well with me. As my body and hormone levels change, I have been experiencing quite of few “issues” from sleepless nights, hot flashes, faintness, to anxiety, heart palpitation, and uncontrollable rage. Thank goodness for Motherwort as it has been a champion in relieving these symptoms. Although I have a few other symptoms that Motherwort does not address, it sure does provide quite a bit of relief for these changing and turbulent times. Motherwort helps bring on delayed or suppressed menstrual flow, so if you experience flooding during your menses, it is a good idea to stop during flowing times and simply resume afterwards. It is also best to avoid Motherwort during early pregnancy, even though it is known to strengthen the uterus, it can stimulate contractions.

Motherwort tea has a rather bitter taste so most people prefer to take it by tincture. Its bitterness does aid in digestion and regularity. We are very fortunate to live on a land where we are surrounded by Motherwort. Every year, I tincture it, so we never have to be without our mother.

If you are having a difficult time, look to your mother for comfort and support. She will feed your nerves, relax you and help you deal with life’s trial and tribulations.

Don’t leave home without your mother, I never do.Motherwort tincture

All information is shared for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition.