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Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)

Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)

Although castor bean is a gorgeous, showy plant in the garden, the seeds are poisonous. So why would one want to grow it? Read on to find out...

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Green Chile Season

Green Chile Season

It's that time of year again--the green chiles are here! The Hatch chile tractor trailers has been pulling into towns across the nation to deliver these glorious New Mexico capsicums. I also have them in my garden, however I get a case to freeze so I can have my capsaicin fix all winter long. Here are a few favorite ways to use them.

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Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

If you are ever going to South Carolina, or just passing through, make this garden a stop on your list of places to visit. Besides wonderful gardens and ancient live oak trees, fountains and vistas, there are trails, a native animal collection, children's garden, pollinator garden, labyrinth, a small butterfly house, gift shop and cafe--and an incredibly amazing sculpture collection. Plan to spend a day.

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Summer Gardening in the Ozarks

Summer Gardening in the Ozarks

It's hot down here in the Ozarks--really hot and humid--with temps mostly in the high 90s everyday. There has been a good bit of rain, though gardens are thirsty and some are parched if they haven't been watered. However, there is still a great deal of garden bounty to be had.

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Monarda spp.

Monarda spp.

Right now my beebalms, also known as monarda are ablaze with color in the garden. Their flowers have an inimitable shaggy-headed appearance which attract all sorts of pollinators. If you don't have any monardas in your garden, now is the time to plant them. They are like brightly colored firecrackers in the garden, bursting with bloom just in time for the Fourth of July.

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Beat the Heat--Cool Down with Mint!

Beat the Heat--Cool Down with Mint!

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As temperatures soar outside, we need relief from the heat. Mint is a naturally cooling and refreshing herb that most of us have right in our own backyards (usually in abundance due to its rampant spreading habit). Here are a few ideas and recipes for cooling down with mint.

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Celebrate Summer!  Easy Cucumber Recipes

Celebrate Summer! Easy Cucumber Recipes

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Today is officially the first day of summer--we celebrate the solstice and Father's Day both! The garden is revving up as is the summer heat--the salad greens are bolting--however I've picked my first two cucumbers and last night I pitted 4 quarts of sour cherries for the freezer. What's happening in you garden? Try one of these cooling cucumber recipes to welcome the season!

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Saving and Savoring, A Celebration of Rare and Endangered Plants and Herbs at U.S. Botanic Garden

Saving and Savoring, A Celebration of Rare and Endangered Plants and Herbs at U.S. Botanic Garden

Our U.S. Botanic Garden, as well as U.S. National Arboretum, are treasure troves of plants from around the world, as well as great resources for events, programs and classes, and information about plants. The gardens change with the seasons as do the featured themes--they are great places to visit--so plan a trip to see these national treasures!

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Growers and Gardeners Networking

Growers and Gardeners Networking

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Recently my local farmers' market had a fundraiser at a nearby farm and it was fun and educational to visit with the friends and supporters of the market and the farmers who bring wonderful produce and products to market, not to mention there was lots of good food and beverage. Here are a few photos of garden grown produce and things new to me...

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More Williamsburg and HSA Conference

More Williamsburg and HSA Conference

On my last blog, I highlighted the Colonial Gardens in Williamsburg, having to limit myself to just 12 images. Here are 12 more with details on the conference, farmers' market, two great books, and a few more herbs.

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 Visit to Williamsburg for HSA Conference

Visit to Williamsburg for HSA Conference

I recently attended and presented at the annual Herb Society of America conference, which took place this year in Colonial Williamsburg. If you haven't visited Williamsburg, Virginia, or been there recently--it is a wonderful place for a getaway or family vacation. There is lots to see and do, many gardens to walk through, it is educational and historic and there are no rides (well except for a horse and buggy)and no plastic. Things there are built out of wood and stone and brick as was done in colonial times.

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On the Road: Medicinal Herb Field Trip and Workshop in the Arkansas Ozarks

On the Road: Medicinal Herb Field Trip and Workshop in the Arkansas Ozarks

Last weekend was the annual Medicinal Herb Field Trip and Workshop at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. It sure is springtime in the Ozarks--check out the pix--and you'll feel like you were out on the trail with us!

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On the Road: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

On the Road: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

I've read about and seen photos of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and always wanted to visit. Finally made it there and was impressed with the vast space, the rock structures and buildings, not to mention the fauna and flora. Come take a look...

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On the Road: American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas

On the Road: American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas

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This spring has been busy with a road trip from Arkansas to Texas and back--we saw miles and miles of Texas! We started with a program on 'Shrubs, Switchel and Beveridge: The Art of Creating Fruited Vinegars' at the ABC. Check out the gardens at the American Botanical Council. Check out the gardens at the ABC, why you should go visit, and become a member!

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Springtime: on the road again

Springtime: on the road again

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Well I departed from the frigid temps in Maryland with over 12-inches of snow on the ground to head south to begin another series of springtime herbal events. While still chilly here in Arkansas, the snow has melted, the precipitation is rain with temps in the 50s and the daffodils are up three or four inches and budded, though not yet open. The first night I arrived the peepers were peepin’ around the pond and in the ditches—a sure sign of spring. Read on to find out upcoming events...

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Winters Passing

Winter's Passing

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Today is the last day of February--gardeners take heart and prepare for spring! Although it might not seem like it with these frigid temperatures and snow and sleet still in the forecast--it will happen. Be sure to still feed our fine feathered friends in this weather! March brings all sorts of spring and green celebrations from the full worm moon, daylight saving time, St. Patrick's Day and the vernal equinox--hallelujah!

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Gardeners Wish List Fulfilled!

Gardener's Wish List Fulfilled!

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This gardener must have been very good last year because she received an abundance of presents this holiday season. Here are a few items, which most gardeners will appreciate!

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Winter: Tis the Season

Winter: Tis the Season

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Today, December 21, is the first day of winter; the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Although the Winter Solstice marks Midwinter, it is a day which I look forward to, since from now on the days become longer. From this day until the first of January is a time for reflection and repose, as well as celebration.

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Fire Cider Vinegar

Fire Cider Vinegar

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This elixir is well known amongst herbalists, created by Rosemary Gladstar, and has been made by many of us for years now. December 6 was World Fire Cider Vinegar Day. Check out this easy recipe--I make this every fall after I harvest my horseradish--to use throughout the winter months for a general tonic and to help fight colds and flu.

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Celebrate National Cookie Day with Herbal Butter Cookies

Celebrate National Cookie Day with Herbal Butter Cookies

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December 4 is National Cookie Day and since this is a special holiday month--why not celebrate with cookies? Check out this recipe for a delightfully versatile cookie featuring herbs from the garden--with many variations--they are really easy to make and can be made ahead.

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