Rose Blog!

The hardy, fragrant Roses in my garden:

One of the first roses to bloom in the late Spring/early Summer is Rosa Glauca.  I grew it in partial shade in Longmont, in full sun here in Berthoud.  It’s a species rose that produces small hips, which I leave for the birds.  It’s a zone 5 rose, but acts much hardier and vigorous.  I brought a root division with me when we moved, and it got very large, very quickly.   I may have to divide it and add it to the hedgerow we are planting in the back.

June2017RosaGlauca
Here we see the beautiful arching form of Rosa Glauca in partial shade in my Longmont garden.  It’s going crazy here in Berthoud, sending up many new shoots (which it never did in Longmont)…  This would be a great rose to grow against a fence.  It has unusual blue-green foliage. Pretty!

RosaGlaucaJune2015-2
Rosa Rugosa is next!  A super durable and productive plant that gets quite large (6′ x 6′).  These roses can definitely be trimmed and shaped, but I planted mine in an area that I wanted to fill up.  Produces large hips once it matures and gets established.  Fragrant!   Continual bloom all summer, zone 3.  Important note: the rugosas and other old roses do not like chemical fertilizers such as Miracle Grow.  I always stick with organic supplements such as compost, rabbit and other organic manure, and Age Old Grow Organics plant food.

RosaRugosa2015
Lyda Rose is a modern zone 5 rose that grows to about 5′ with an arching form.  Blooms form in clusters throughout the summer and are much loved by bees.  Also exceptionally fragrant!  Charming!  Also wonderful to distill into a hydrosol.

LydaBudCU2014LEVeLS
Apothecary Rose!  Dating back to the 1300’s, this is a zone 4, exceptionally fragrant rose also known as Rosa gallica officinalis.  For a once-blooming rose, it is very impressive!  I brought this one from Longmont, too.  Last year it didn’t look so good and got powdery mildew, which I had never seen on any of my roses.  Did a little research, and  found that consistent watering + some special nutrients would make the rose much more resistant and vigorous. It worked!   I added banana peels, coffee grounds and egg shells to the mulch around this bush through the winter and spring.  It has been super floriferous for weeks on end.  Love this rose, and highly recommended it for Colorado and other locales.  The flowers make an amazing hydrosol and a delightful infused honey.  I’m also drying some for tea blends, which are divine!

Apothecary's Rose
The bees favor the Apothecary roses over other flowers blooming in my garden.  I’ve been watching every morning… Sometimes there are as many as four bees per flower!  I watched them waiting in line to get their turn.  Who can blame them?  So fragrant!

ApothecaryBees2017
Just one of the many bowls of Apothecary roses I have harvested this June.  I always leave at least 7 roses on the plant for the bees.  Apothecary rose petals retain their fragrance and flavor much longer than many other roses.

BowlApothecaryRoses2017
Morden Sunrise, a Canadian zone 3 rose, is one of our favorites!  Beautiful color and form, continual bloom, incredibly hardy, and here in Berthoud, very fragrant!

Morden's Sunrise

Rose catalogs indicate this rose grows to 3′ x 3′.  That’s in Zone 3.  Here in Zone 5, my rose is easily 4′ tall and almost as wide.  I expect it will be even taller next summer.  LOVE!!  The below photo was taken in Longmont, where this rose got a few hours of afternoon shade.  It bloomed all summer if promptly deadheaded, looking much like it does in this photo.

MordenSunriceShrubAug2014Feb2017
Here is Morden Sunrise in Berthoud where it receives full sun.  We amended the soil similarly in both gardens, with manure, rock dust and mycorrhizae.  Here in full sun it is COVERED in roses, and is also very fragrant, especially in the  morning.  The roses last a long time, and change color, thus the sunrise reference.  So beautiful!

MordenSunriseBerthoud2017
One of my first “old roses”, Rose de Rescht.  VERY fragrant, very productive, quite hardy.  This is my favorite rose for infusing in honey.  Delicious!  So even though it’s a zone 5 rose, it comes back strong year after year and blooms all summer.  The roses are small, dense and perfect.  Here in Berthoud, this rose is also sending out a lot of shoots and runners.  Must be all that rabbit manure!

Rose de Rescht - purchased at Harlequin's Gardens in Boulder.

Perfect little Rose de Rescht.

Rose de Rescht

I collect these roses every morning.  Bees don’t seem too attracted to them – they have a very small center and the petals are tightly arranged.

RosedeReschtJamSept2016

This year, I combined Rose de Rescht with Apothecary Roses and distilled a beautiful, deliciously fragrant hydrosol.

RoseHydrosolwRosesJune2017

Other roses that are getting established in the back are:

Lemon Zen, a noisette rose,  continual bloom, cinnamon fragrance, 5-8′ tall x 3-4′ wide
Moje Hammarberg – a zone 3 rugosa, 3-4′ x 3-4′, very fragrant, large tasty hips
Darlow’s Enigma – a large rambling rose, blooms heavily spring – frost, fragrant
Purple Pavement – zone 3 rugosa, 3′ x 3′, repeats, fragrant, hips
Rosa chinensis – zone 5, large continual bloom, drought tolerant, showy orange hips
Rosa canina – a zone 3 species, once blooming rose, arching form, rose hips

My recommendation for growing roses in Colorado:  best choices are the hardiest ones that can withstand rapid temperature changes, cold winters and hot summers, namely  old roses and zone 3 or 4 roses.  I have planted a few zone 5 roses recently, locating them in the warmest sections of the yard.  Hopefully they will be sturdy enough to make it through our changing climate fluctuations down the road.

When planting zone 5 roses, make sure the soil is deep and rich, and add protection in the winter.  Some zone 5 roses, such as Rose de Rescht, will return each year with great vigor. Some of the more vigorous roses do send out root runners, so plan ahead.

And make sure that at least a few of your  roses produce rose hips!

RoseHipsOnInfusionLid

I am growing Moje Hammarberg specifically because it produces large hips.  Once you have tasted rose hip jam, you will understand what I am talking about!  Rose hips are highly nutritious and Euell Gibbons’ recipe for raw rose hip jam allows all of the flavor and nutrients to come through.  That recipe and others  in another blog!

And remember: Organic gardens enriched with compost, rock dust and mycorrhizae create sustainable soil that becomes better over time, and the plants that grow there will have more to offer us in the way of nutrition, beauty and longevity.

Garden on, and garden organically!

Blessings to you and your gardens,
RedGlassesBlueHairOrangeBorder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah

Posted in Formulations and Recipes, Herbal Magic, Organic Gardening, Plants & Gardens, Roses | Leave a comment

What is blooming in the June Garden?

Roses will be coming on soon!  Blooming now…..

Every year is different, isn’t it?  Even though we had a challenging Spring,  we are moving right along with the new gardens in the back yard.  Stone walkways are going in.  I’m seeding a lot of easy plants directly – poppies, sunflowers, mallow, hollyhock and larkspur.  We’ll see how that goes as the summer progresses.  Patience is definitely a virtue I need to cultivate!

The perennials in the back gardens are a combination of 1 or 2 year old plants I moved from the front yard or got from friends’ gardens, small herbs I bought at Desert Canyon Farms on our way back from a trip to Santa Fe, and some very nice unusual perennials I ordered from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials.  Oh, and a few interesting rugosa and noisette roses I ordered from High Country Roses.  And I had to have another Darlow’s Enigma rambling rose, didn’t I?   Endangered herbs, such as Osha, and some of the more medicinal herbs, like Elecampane, were obtained from Strictly Medicinal.  Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder had the currants and hostaberries I was looking for.

More on all of these later.

Here are some of the plants that are blooming now.

I love Spiderwort!  This one gets morning sun and afternoon shade.  Perfect!
June2017SpiderwortBloom
I grow Spilanthes every year.  The flowers have amazing medicinal properties.  I dry some every summer, powder and blend into coconut oil with Prunella to make a stimulating, healing toothpaste.  Can also be tinctured to be used as an antibiotic.  Very young greens can be added to salad for an extra zing!  If you ever get a toothache, this plant will help!June2017Spilanthes
This is actually two clematis plants we installed together..It’s a very large trellis they are growing on, and we wanted to get maximum coverage and drama.  They didn’t look so good last year, but they are very happy this Spring!   A big pile of mulch (10″ deep) over their roots means they can take the hot afternoon sun that comes to their location around noon each day.  Then back into shade around 4:30 or 5:00 pm. Love this color!
June2017RubyClematisFront
I adore this Geranium ‘Bill Wallis’ – tiny perfect flowers!  Lots of them!  This is a zone 5 perennial that reaches 15″ tall x 20″ wide, has a very long bloom season AND reseeds!  Reblooms when cut back after the initial long bloom.  So charming!
June2017GeraniumBillWallis

Electric Blue Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus) is one of my favorites!  Loves a well drained hot exposure.  Here, it is growing next to Sulfur Buckwheat – another one of my favorites for hot sun, low water locations.  More photos later when it really gets going.June2017ElectricBluePenstemonBuckwheat

Rocky Mountain Blue Penstemon.  A must have for every Colorado garden.  Gets bigger each season, and is especially important for bumblebee populations. An infused oil of Penstemon flowers makes an amazing first aid remedy or moisturizer.
June2017RockyMtnPenstemon
A hybrid Penstemon.  Love the color!  Yet another plant that likes hot sun, well drained soil and relatively low water.  Bees, especially bumblebees, love this plant!
June2017PenstemonDkPink

Arnica is a beautiful plant that spreads nicely and reblooms after deadheading,  Linament!June2017ArnicaBlooming
Rosa Glauca!  A species rose that REALLY likes growing here in my Berthoud gardens.  It has reached 8′ or more, and there are buds lining every single arching branch from top to bottom!  It produces small rose hips, which I will leave for the birds.  Such a simple and lovely rose with blue/green foliage.  Spreads by root runner when happy.  Zone 3.
June2017RosaGlauca

Prunella lanceolata is beginning to bloom!  An antibiotic herb, it’s also great to use in dental formulas like mouthwash and tooth powder.  Helps regenerate receding gums.  A charming plant that is fun to grow.
Jun2017PrunellaLanceolata

Wood Betony (Betonica officinalis) is a nervine herb that is a lovely addition to the sunny garden.  Here, on June 7, it’s in bud.  Blooms with a vibrant lavender/purple bloom.  Harvest leaves prior to bloom.  Dry and infuse as a tea –  tastes similar to black tea.Jun2017WoodBetonyBudding
Shade garden with the very large, purple flowering comfrey and soon to bloom elecampane (to the right), violet, primula florindae (Giant Cowslip) and Osha.  The comfrey is a nutrient generating plant, elecampane purifies the soil and is an amazing respiratory herb, Osha is an endangered antibiotic herb, while Primula and Violets are soothing, nourishing herbs.  Flowers of Primula were used topically in olden times to restore and preserve the beautiful complexions of the ladies, and the tincture was given to calm hysteria.  Violets are highly nutritious!  We juice the leaves and add them to salads.Jun2017ShadeGardenOsha

View from the mailbox.  The Roxanne Geranium is stunning this year!  Catmint is growing and blooming all along the front next to the sidewalk.  It’s great for choking out bindweed and other weeds, and the bees adore it!  Deadhead for reliable rebloom and save the seed!  You can barely see the red rose next to the blue geranium – it’s just getting started – and you can see the Rocky Mountain Penstemon in the background.  Bees are very happy about all of these plants!Jun2017GeraniumMailbox

Other plants in my garden that I’m looking forward to with great anticipation:

Angelica stricta ‘Purpurea’ – reaches 4′ tall and wide with large purple flowers.
Sunflower Italian White – a vigorously flowering plant, 4′ x 4′ with branching habit.
Verbascum olympicum – 8′ tall x 3′ wide – impressive!  Major bee plant, respiratory herb.
Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Violetta’ – zone 4, 30″ tall, purple mullein.  Reseeds. ‘Nuf said!
Hollyhock Alcea ‘Halo Cerise’ + Sunflower Lemon Queen = Oh Snap!!!
Nicotiana – the fragrant, tall white flowering version
Alpine strawberry –  Produces highly nutritious, small, flavorful berries all summer.
Brown Eyed Susan – smaller, more plentiful flowers than blacked eyed variety. Bees!
Pink Muhly Grass – 3′ x 3′ cloud of pink grass in September. I must be patient!
Anthemis “St. John’s Chamomile” – vibrant orange flowers
Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Blue Barlow’ – violet blue blossoms to 30″ tall in part shade
Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ – color-changing flowers!  Lovely!
Penstemon pseudospectabilis – hot pink flowers for the hot dry garden.
… and lots MORE!!!!

As always, we enriched the soil with compost, manure, glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal inoculant. My favorite organic plant food is Age Old Grow.   Amazing!

Blessings to you and your gardens,

RedGlassesBlueHairOrangeBorder

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah

Posted in Herbal Magic, Organic Gardening, Plants & Gardens | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Spring Garden = ANTICIPATION!!

Spring has arrived!  Many of my garden perennials (planted last Spring) are surprising me with their size and vigor!  Pulsatilla is the first to bloom.  It looks all fragile and delicate with it’s soft ferny foliage and dramatic flowers, but it has zero problem with frosts or cold snaps once it springs forth in late March or early April.  I’ve seen it nodding over, covered in frost.  Then out comes the sun, and Pulsatilla acts like nothing ever happened!

Pulsatilla is my favorite Spring flower!

Pulsatilla is my favorite Spring flower!

Apr2017LavenderPulsatilla

Lavender Pulsatilla – Dreamy!

Pulsatilla will continue blooming, if deadheaded, for a number of weeks. So charming!

Comfrey is another one of my favorite plants.  I ordered this purple-flowering (fingers crossed) Comfrey from Horizon Herbs.  It’s HUGE this spring and powering up for some serious bloom time.  I am SO anticipating seeing those beautiful drooping flower clusters for the first time!   Comfrey is such an amazing plant.  It’s  a nutrient accumulator, a medicinal herb, a beautiful garden specimen, and provides an almost unending source of foliage for making compost tea.  I will be adding three more Comfrey plants to my new gardens this Spring.

Purple-flowering Comfrey!!

A very robust Comfrey plant powering up!!

Some of my other favorite plants:

Ajuga begins!

Ajuga begins!

Veronica and Bitterroot! Just getting started.

Veronica and Bitterroot! Just getting started.

Violets! Put some in your salad!

Violets! Put some in your salad!

I know – these aren’t blooming yet, but we can anticipate!!!!  Below: Electric Blue Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus) + Wisely Pink Sunrose = Oh Snap!!!!  I will post again when they are in bloom.  These plants look fabulous right now, which tells me I made good choices when deciding on their locations. The whole front garden is what I would consider well-draining soil that has been supplemented with rabbit, horse and goat manure, glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal inoculant.  Once 9am rolls around, the entire front yard is full sun until quite late in the day,  when it gets dappled sunlight until nightfall.  A great exposure for sages, penstemons, iris, rugosa roses, elecampane, mints, echinacea, campanula and oregano!

Wisely Pink Sun Rose + Electric Blue Penstemon

Wisely Pink Sun Rose + Electric Blue Penstemon = OH SNAP!!!!

I can’t say enough good things about Catmint.  It blooms early and repeats with great enthusiasm when deadheaded promptly.  Such a pretty color and texture!   Bees adore it, which pushes Catmint to the top of my list of “must haves” for the full sun garden.  It does reseed, but it reseeds into the cracks between garden and sidewalk and chokes out bindweed!  And I LIKE plants that spread out and reseed when they are as charming and beautiful as Catmint!  Grow some for the bees!

Catmint! Perfect for full sun, hot, dry areas. Deadhead for repeat!

Catmint! Perfect for full sun, hot, dry areas. Deadhead for repeat!

In the back yard, we find ourselves in the midst of building new large gardens that incorporate two permaculture features: swales and greywater!   Yes, it’s a lot of work, but we love the idea of developing a sustainable, water-wise ecosystem that will provide a haven for pollinators and birds while also providing medicinal and nutritive herbs, berries, vegetables and greens for us!  And a new learning experience!  When it comes to organic permaculture gardening, we want to know about it!  Here is what it looks like so far:

GardenGoingInMarch2017More on swales and greywater later on!  The books I referenced for this project: Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway and Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds, both listed in the bibliography below.

Our “Permaculture Gardens” in the front are coming along nicely.  Last year, we routed the grey water from our washing machine into the two raised garden beds in the front yard.  We don’t use detergent any more – we switched to the Magnetic Laundry System.  It really works!  Our clothes get very clean with zero detergent.

Each time we do a load of laundry, the water from the washing machine is channeled into the two front raised beds.  During the fall and winter, when plants are dormant, we flip a switch in the laundry room to redirect the water into the sewer.

Mints, St John's Wort, Celandine, Oregano, Iris and other hardy plants

Mints, St John’s Wort, Celandine, Oregano, Iris and other hardy plants

The above garden area is shaded during part of each day during the summer due to a large Aspen tree.  Around 2pm, the whole garden begins to receive hot afternoon sun.  All of the above plants are super adaptable and pretty happy growing in both partial shade and hot afternoon sun.  We keep this garden mulched quiet heavily.  Celandine and St. Johnny seem to especially enjoy this location, as do the chocolate and lavender mints.

Further out in the front yard, we dug out a mulch basin to capture rain water from the roof.  We packed the basin with wood mulch, and then continued the same mulch all throughout the garden.  On top of that, we layered leaves during late fall and winter.  All the plants are looking great!

Rugosa Roses, Elecampane, Comfrey and Penstemons coming on

Rugosa Roses, Elecampane, Comfrey and Penstemons coming on

Rugosas get quite large.   Species roses can spread by root runners, so I planted them on the center “island” to keep them contained.  They should each grow to 6′ tall x 4′ wide.  Rosa rugosa rubra and alba, planted diagonally across from each other so they can each receive full sun, even when they are large shrubs.   I’m growing these for the all-summer fragrant bloom and large tasty rose hips!

More about gardens as we move further into Spring!

Blessings to You and Your Gardens,

RedGlassesBlueHairOrangeBorder

Sarah



Recommended Reading:

“Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.” Toby Hemenway, tobyhemenway.com/book/gaias-garden/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.

Hartung, Tammi. Growing 101 Herbs That Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies. Pownal, VT, Storey Books, 2000.

Hemenway, Toby. Gaia’s Garden: a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. White River Junction, Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 2009.

Hensel, Julius. Bread from Stones. A New and Rational System of Land Fertilization and Physical Regeneration. Philadelphia, PA, A.J. Tafel, 1894.

“How Chemical Fertilizers Are Destroying Your Body, The Soil, and Your Food.” How Chemical Fertilizers Are Destroying Your Body, The Soil, and Your Food, healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/100-how-chemical-fertilizers-are-destroying-your-body-the-soil-and-your-food.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2015.

Lisle, Harvey. The Enlivened Rock Powders. Metairie, LA, Acres U.S.A., 1994.

Reynolds, Mary. “The Garden Awakening.” Bookdepository.com, GREEN BOOKS, 1 Oct. 2016, www.bookdepository.com/Garden-Awakening-Mary-Reynolds/9780857843135. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Whole Food Breakfast for my Dogs!

Hey!  I made this video to demonstrate how simple it is to make a tasty, whole-food meal for your dogs…

Please enjoy!  More videos coming soon!

Blessings,

Sarah, Lily, Frederic and Zandra

SelfLilyMay2014

lilyfredplayingjune2016
KittyBowlFace2014

 

 

Posted in Cats & Dogs, Food for Dogs & Cats, Health & Nutrition, Herbs for Dogs & Cats | 1 Comment

Nourishing Ourselves = Peace of Mind

About West Nile and Zika:


 From all my research on the subjects, I understand that both West Nile and the Zika virus  symptoms can be very mild – almost imperceptible – in many cases.  At other times, the symptoms are flu-like.  In rare cases, these viruses can be more invasive and damaging to the human body.  What accounts for the varying levels that these viral infections attain in the body?

I think much of the fear surrounding these diseases is based on a number of things, most significantly the state of our collective health in this country.  We are sadly uninformed about taking care of our own immune systems.

Nutrient Depletion + Toxins = Impaired Immunity

There is an epidemic going on, if you haven’t noticed. Chronic inflammation.  Heart disease.  Diabetes.  Cancer.  Thyroid imbalances.  Critically low Vitamin D levels seem to be the norm, even in folks that spend time in the sun. Food is processed, contains harmful oils, and unbalanced or missing nutrients. Sugar is everywhere, and we rely on caffein for energy.  We are surrounded by toxins.  How can any of this support good health and a strong immune system?  No wonder we are fearful about becoming infected with mosquito-borne illness.

During the clinical portion of my herbalist training, I got a good look at just how depleted our diets are.  Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks that support organ function, energy, and our ability to respond to and eliminate incoming viral or bacterial infections and toxins.  I watched dozens of clients and all of my fellow herbalists become more vibrant and healthy by simply supplementing with the basic required nutrients and focusing on a diet of whole, organic foods.  Making these changes in my own diet dramatically improved my health and probably saved my life.

Two of the most important nutrients for building and maintaining a strong immune system are Vitamins C and D.

Being Well Nourished = Strong Immunity

All vitamins and minerals are important – they’re required by the body, and are a vital part of maintaining organ function, energy flow, general health and a strong immune system. Take a good multi – preferably one with trace minerals. Every single day. I do, along with extra C, D, E, selenium, and a few others. Your body runs on and is energized, repaired, detoxified and maintained by the chemical reactions that are going on 24/7 inside your body. If the chemistry is right, with all the nutrients, enzymes and electrons present, accounted for and moving efficiently, then good health is the end result. When nutrients are missing, or when foreign substances are present, chemical reactions slow down or get blocked and the body can’t repair or even respond to incoming challenges. This is exactly how imbalances, inflammation and chronic disease begins.

Vitamin C, it turns out, is a very special and powerful nutrient that counteracts inflammation and chronic disease.  Vitamin D is also fundamental for maintaining the boundaries within the body. Keeping our Vitamin D levels above 50 by supplementing on a daily basis with at least 5,000 iu Vitamin D3 will go a long way toward maintaining a strong immune system.

More about Vitamin C

I first learned about high-dose vitamin C from Dr. Wendell Belfield’s books How to Have a Healthier Dog and The Very Healthy Cat Book. He treated, with great success, “incurable” diseases like Distemper in dogs and Feline Leukemia in cats. Despite all the doubters and nay-sayers, of which there were many, he persevered and is one of my personal heroes. He saved the lives of many animals who had been given up for dead by conventional veterinary medicine.  And he improved quality of life for many, many more.  All of my animal friends now receive extra Vitamin C every single day. Me, too.

There is so much to say about Vitamin C.  Primal Panacea by Dr. Thomas E. Levy, M.D., is one of many books that describes the incredibly healing properties of this common vitamin.

What you might not know about Vitamin C

Did you know that most animals make their own Vitamin C?  For some reason, humans and guinea pigs (and a few others) cannot. A goat, however, that is roughly the same body weight as a human, makes 13,000 milligrams per day when in good health and a supportive environment. When faced with life threatening disease or toxic challenge, goats can and do produce as much as 100,000 mg of vitamin C a day. 


“Yes, the vast majority of other mammals produce their own vitamin C, as do most birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. For all of these animals, vitamin C plays an essential role in protecting them from pathogens and toxins.

Humans, on the other hand, must satisfy their need for vitamin C through diet or supplementation. The fact that guinea pigs share in this inability to synthesize their own vitamin C is the primary reason these animals are used for research. Guinea pigs can be made sick or toxic much more easily than a vitamin C-producing animal, allowing many experiments to be performed more quickly and efficiently.”

That’s definitely something to ponder.

How does vitamin C actually work? There are thousands of published studies that demonstrate the efficacy of vitamin C in neutralizing toxins, curing infections, and acting as a strong antiviral. But how is this possible?

Dr. Levy explains it well. It seems that all toxins, including viral and bacterial infections, have something in common. They all cause damage by increasing oxidative stress. Oxidation is a process of electron exchange. When a substance loses electrons, that substance is considered to be oxidizing. Toxins and diseases cause damage by stealing or blocking electrons. Long story short, Vitamin C has an amazing capacity for readily exchanging electrons, helping neutralize harmful molecules and repair cellular damage via this amazing electron-exchanging ability.

Dr. Levy goes on to explain:


“That’s it. There is no other way in which a toxin can be toxic beyond the impairment of electron supply and flow in the biomolecules of the affected tissues. And this is precisely why properly dosed vitamin C, before the point of irreversible tissue damage, will neutralize the toxicity of any toxin exposure or poisoning encountered.”
And:

“In the 1940s Frederick Klenner, MD pioneered the use of mega-gram intravenous doses of vitamin C to effectively treat and often cure many different infections. These included ones even now considered to be incurable, such as polio, tetanus, and encephalitis. He also led the way in demonstrating the ability of vitamin C to act as the ultimate antidote in reversing the toxicity of otherwise fatal doses of agents such as carbon monoxide, pesticides, barbiturates, and even heavy metals.”

Wow. That’s a well-kept secret.

Nourishing Ourselves = Peace of Mind

What does all of this mean for us? It means that we all have access to Vitamin C – a substance that is safe, inexpensive and incredibly effective at treating infections of all kinds. We simply need to ingest it on a regular basis at the dose that works best for our individual bodies. It means that we don’t have to live in fear of contracting viruses or influenza, because when we have antioxidants such as Vitamin C circulating in our bodies, we resist becoming ill, or can prevent an infection from reaching a critical level. And it means that we actually have some control over how much our bodies are affected by living in this toxic and stressful world.

Keeping our bodies supplied with all of the required vitamins and minerals, eating organic whole foods, and supplementing with Vitamins D and C on a daily basis – these are pre-emptive measures that will protect us from exposure to any viral or bacterial infection – West Nile, Zika, or otherwise.

References:

“Andrew Saul – Megavitamin Specialist.” N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. How to Have a Healthier Dog: The Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog’s Life Cycles. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981. Print.

“DoctorYourself.com – How to Get a Vitamin C I.V. Ordered.” DoctorYourself.com – How to Get a Vitamin C I.V. Ordered. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

“DoctorYourself.com: Andrew Saul’s Natural Health Website.” DoctorYourself.com: Andrew Saul’s Natural Health Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

“Dr. Joel Wallach – The Best of Dead Doctors Don’t Lie.” YouTube. YouTube, 17 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.dach. “Vitamin C Saves Dying Man – Jeffrey Dach MD.” Jeffrey Dach MD. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Eid1BsSI7h18SKfAzv43Q. “Lecture on Vitamin C by Brilliant Suzanne Humphries.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016.

Levy, Thomas E. Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. Henderson, NV: Livon, 2002. Print.

Levy, Thomas E. Primal Panacea. Henderson, NV: MedFox Pub., 2011. Print.

Pauling, Linus. How to Live Longer and Feel Better. New York: W.H. Freeman, 1986. Print.

Rogers, Sherry A. Detoxify or Die. Sarasota, FL: Sand Key, 2002. Print.

Smith, Lendon H. Feed Your Body Right: Understanding Your Individual Body Chemistry for Proper Nutrition without Guesswork. New York, NY: M. Evans, 1994. Print.

Smith, Lendon H. Feed Your Kids Right: Dr. Smith’s Program for Your Child’s Total Health. New York: McGraw Hill, 1979. Print.

Wallach, Joel D., and Ma Lan. Dead Doctors Don’t Lie. Franklin, TN: Legacy Communications Group, 1999. Print.

“Welcome To Orthomolecular.org.” Welcome To Orthomolecular.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vigorous Old Roses and Fabulous Herbs For Colorado Gardens and Beyond

Darlow's Enigma reaching for the sky

Darlow’s Enigma reaching for the sky

This morning, I was remembering my first rambling rose experience.  I had  encountered Darlow’s Enigma at the Botanic Gardens growing on a large arch, meeting Honeysuckle and Wisteria in the middle.  It was a breathtaking sight, and I decided to replicate it in my garden.

[Note to self:  Wisteria has to grow and twine for 4-5 years before it blooms.  Sorry to say I will never get to see the amazing pergola my husband built laden with fragrant wisteria blossoms.  Sigh.]


I called ahead to Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder.  They had Darlow’s Enigma.  I went that same day to buy one.  What a bucket of twigs!!  I couldn’t believe that spindly rose start would turn into anything resembling the rambler at the Botanic Gardens.  But it did, and then some. Oh, snap!  It’s a huge rose that blooms all summer, into fall.  Superbly fragrant, especially in the morning hours.  Even though I had seen it at the Botanic Gardens, I wasn’t prepared for how big it got.  I was all enthralled with it’s beauty and fragrance and just wanted to have something like that in my garden.  And I didn’t think it would get that large in MY garden.  It’s all good, and quite impressive, but the new owners will need to do some serious pruning to keep it manageable.

DarlowTopPergola

Oh My!!! DARLOW’s ENIGMA reaching the top of a 12′ pergola.

So it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the dimensions of any rose you are installing.  Heirloom Roses.com is a fabulous resource for own-root roses, including pretty much all the info needed to determine the perfect location for each rose.   Their articles and youtube videos are also super helpful and informative.

Gardening blogs. Did you know that Darlow’s Enigma can grow to 2nd story height in less than 5 years?  Some rambling roses can cover the front of an entire house in a short amount of time.  That’s the kind of practical info you can find on a gardening blog.  Garden Web and Dave’s Garden are two good ones.  Free to join, great info.  Seeking info about roses, in particular, from those who have grown them can save you a lot of time and effort.  If a rose is known to be invasive or gigantic, then be sure you have the space and plant it where it can spread out joyfully.  Or find another rose – there are thousands of them!


High Country Roses.com is another source for own-root roses and good info.  Located in Denver, all of their roses are shipped as smaller, quart sized plants (smaller than the 1 gallon size from Heirloom), on their own roots.  Good pricing on a great selection of old roses, species roses and modern hybrids.  Patience is required, but well rewarded.

Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder has a lot of amazing roses to offer.  All on their own roots, and the folks who work there are super knowledgeable organic gardeners.


RosaRugosaRubraFlwsBudsCUI put two rugosas in our front yard, Rosa rugosa rubra (left) and Rose rugosa alba (white).  These roses are so old, they are labeled as “ancient.”   Originating in Japan, each one gets at least 6’ tall and 4-6’ wide.  I gave them plenty of room to reach their full potential and to spread out, which they evidently really like to do.  I planted them about 8’ apart in a large garden with other substantial, medicinal herbs, namely Elecampane, True Comfrey(purple flowering), Thyme, Penstemon, Yerba Mansa and Mallow.  Why such big roses?  Why not, if you have the space?  These are species roses that produce large, almost crabapple size hips.  Super delicious, extremely nutritious.  They bloom all summer with large, stunning, exceptionally fragrant flowers and are very hardy and vigorous roses who dislike chemical fertilizers of any kind.   Perfectly suited for my organic medicinal herb garden.  Did I mention they are Zone 3?  Adaptable, too.  Best results are seen with generous amounts of compost, manure and the addition of glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal inoculant.  If you are willing to do an initial soil amendment, and then generously add some compost and/or manure once a year, and if your garden offers 6-8 hours of sunlight, you will probably be able to grow these roses very successfully.  Go on, you know you want to!


LaRosaApothecaryRoseCULABELEI’m also growing two Apothecary roses, one I brought from our old location, and one I added this year.  This is another very old rose, dating back to the 12th century.    It blooms once, with great fragrance and vitality, for several weeks in early to mid summer, and then produces large hips in the Fall.  The dried petals of the Apothecary rose are know to retain their fragrance for years.  Perfect for dream pillows, kitty cushions, or used fresh for making infused honey, elixirs, or distilling into a fragrant hydrosol.  Rose hip jam is one of the most delightful foods on earth.  LOVE!


RosedeReschtBudsOct2014_edited-1Rose de Rescht is another very old rose originating in Persia.  The roses are small, with many petals, perfectly formed, and exceptionally, intoxicatingly fragrant.   The bush usually  measures 3-4′ x 3-4′, although can get larger.  Zone 4, so quite hardy here in Colorado.  Blooms and reblooms all summer, and the two I brought with me are loaded with buds and have sent out some runners already (which rarely happened at the old location).  Looks like I will have a small hedge of these delightful little roses very soon.  This rose seems to enjoy a moist, compost-rich soil.


In all the years I’ve been growing these roses, I’ve never seen black spot or any kind of insect infestation on any of them.  If I happen to see an aphid or two, I simply rinse the bush with a vigorous blast of water from the hose a couple days in a row.  Rinsing them off interrupts the aphids’  reproductive cycle.  Adios, aphids!

None of these roses respond well to chemical fertilizers, and in fact may actually turn brown and shrivel up if exposed.  Stick with compost, Mile Hi Rose Food and Age Old Grow organic fertilizer to keep them happy.  Add a sprinkle of glacial rock dust, and water in with mycorrhizal inoculant.

All this to say that old roses have withstood the test of time.  They’ve been growing and thriving for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in many locations and environments all over our beautiful planet.  Roses grown on their own roots are much more durable, reliable and vibrant than grafted hybrid roses.  When you plant old roses, you are planting a piece of botanical history and connecting with ancestral gardeners who also loved them dearly.


Medicinal Herbs that Love to Grow in Colorado

So many herbs love to grow here in Colorado.  And they certainly grow well in many other areas, as well.  The ones I like to grow and will be discussing here are beautiful and medicinal – really good herbs to have on hand – and pretty easy, too.  I suggest growing them with the intention of harvesting and consuming them, just as you would any food crop.  While they are growing, you can enjoy their vigor and beauty.


Elecampane, Inula helenium

Elecampane, Inula helenium


Elecampane, or Inula helenium, is an herb that offers both respiratory and digestive support.  The roots contain more inulin – the food that feeds friendly bacteria in our digestive systems – than any other herb.  Parts used: flowers, roots.  These beautiful and vigorous plants grow 4-6′ tall and 3-4′ wide, and have vibrant and lovely flowers in mid to late summer.  Harvest the flowers for medicine and an extended bloom period.  They enjoy a sunny spot with mulched and composted soil.  They enjoy growing along a river bank, so I planted mine next to the mulch basin we installed early this Spring as part of our permaculture adventure.  Water from the roof is channeled into the basin whenever it rains.  I will continue adding Yerba Mansa (described below) around the edges of the basin, as that plant purifies the soil and also likes to grow near water sources.  We have also added plentiful amounts of mycorrhizal inoculant to all of the gardens in the front yard, which also helps purify the soil.


ElecampaneFlowers2014_edited-1

After one, or maybe a couple seasons, Elecampane will grow and spread.  You can then dig up part of the plant, dry the roots, and powder, tincture or make an infused honey for relief and resolution of respiratory infections, flu, etc.  One of my favorite plants!  A beautiful and valuable addition to any herb garden.

I add Elecampane powder to my dog’s green formula to support digestive and respiratory health.  Elecampane is a good herb to take preventatively if you are prone to respiratory infections or need digestive support.


YerbaMansaPots92313

Yerba mansa is an antibiotic herb that is sometimes substituted for the endangered Goldenseal.  It’s a very interesting plant that likes moist soil and a sunny exposure.  I grew mine in our old location next to a rose, where it traveled all along the edges of the raised garden bed, and under and around rocks.  Yerba mansa may end up in places you didn’t plant it originally.  Surprise!


Here in our new gardens, one Yerba mansa plant is growing in partial shade near one of our grey-water outlets, and one is in full sun on the edge of the mulch basin that captures rain water from the roof of our house.  Plant this moisture loving herb near a downspout, or other moist area of your garden.

YerbaMansaWhen this plant is happy, it sends beautiful, long runners out to root and form new plants.  When it blooms, it sends up odd, yet pretty white flowers.  Harvest the whole plant when in bloom, and use leaf, flower and root to make a powerful tincture or infused honey.  This is a great remedy for coughs and colds, and can also be used topically as a compress  to relieve painful joints.  Grow it in your vegetable garden and treat it like a perennial green.  Just leave some of the plants for next year.  If it gets too big, or ends up in remote corners of your garden, pot it up and give some to a friend!


Chamomile and Calendula are herbs that are super easy to grow and have many, many uses from skin care to digestive support.  Both are quite lovely and will readily reseed.  Once they start blooming, it’s a good idea to harvest every other day or so.  They will keep going all summer into fall.  Personally, I love collecting both Chamomile and Calendula flowers.  When the plants become too large, or get rangy, I cut them back and let them re-grow and begin the bloom cycle again.


Chamomilecupe2014Chamomile is a wonderful sedative herb. Also anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and muscle relaxing.  Helpful for treating digestive complaints and discomfort, skin conditions such as eczema and diaper rash, insomnia and headaches.  Freshly gathered and dried Chamomile is so much nicer than any chamomile tea or loose herb you can buy.  Chamomile-infused honey is delicious and excellent as a 20-minute facial, fabulous to add to an evening tea, and is also useful for dogs who need to relax.   Grows in any sunny location, even in very dry spots. Easy to grow from seed in a large pot.


Calendula2014MyFavFlowersCalendula flowers make some of the best infused oil of all time.  Somehow their beautiful medicine turns ordinary organic olive oil into an amazing healing and beautifying substance.  Really wonderful.  Flowers can be dried, powdered and added to green formulas for people and pets to aid in healing the digestive tract.  Grow Calendula from seed in a sunny location.  Easy peasy!  Best in a garden, not in a pot.


Many medicinal herbs are very generous and vigorous –  almost unstoppable once they get started.  Easy to grow are: Motherwort for cardiovascular support,  Nettle for the amazing nutrition it supplies, Echinacea of all kinds for immune support and beauty, Poppies for their sedating properties and delightful flowers, Skullcap for nervous system support, Lemon Verbena for the most wonderful fragrance on earth, Oregano and Thyme for their delicious and anti-microbial properties.  Cannabis really likes growing here in Colorado, too.  Juicing the leaves, or including some fresh leaves in a smoothie gives relief from inflammation and joint pain.  Infusing freshly dried Cannabis buds in coconut oil creates a superb beauty and healing cream or salve with a multitude of beneficial properties.  It does smell like Cannabis for a few minutes after you apply it.  Add an earthy essential oil, like Vetiver, to balance out the fragrance if you like.

Gardening is my favorite Never-Ending Story!


One of my all time favorite herb gardening books is Growing 101 Herbs that Heal by Tami Hartung.  Get a copy!

Blessings to you and your gardens,

       Sarah

SelfLilyMay2014

 

Posted in Herbal Magic, Herbs for Dogs & Cats, Organic Gardening, Plants & Gardens | Leave a comment

Vitamin C – The Untold Story

What you don’t know….

Rose Hips = Vitamin C !

Rose Hips = Vitamin C !

Vitamin C.  If you know me, you have heard me mention this vitamin.  There is so much to say about it.  Lately, I’ve been reading Primal Panacea by Dr. Thomas E. Levy, M.D.   This is the book that finally pushed me over the edge – I had to blog about it!

I remember back in college reading about using Vitamin C to treat cold symptoms.  I also remember taking a couple 1,000 mg caps and not getting any noticeable results…

Turns out, it’s all about the dose.


CHART-mineral interrelationshipsOK, first of all, we know that all vitamins and minerals are important – they’re required by the body, and are a vital part of maintaining organ function, energy flow, general health.  Take a good multi – preferably one with trace minerals.  Every single day.  I do, along with extra C, E, D, selenium, CoQ10, and a few others.  Your body runs on and is energized, repaired, detoxified and maintained by the chemical reactions that are going on 24/7 inside you.  If the chemistry is right, with all the nutrients, enzymes and electrons present, accounted for and moving efficiently, then good health is the end result.  When nutrients are missing, or when foreign substances are present, chemical reactions slow down or get blocked, the body can’t repair or even respond to incoming challenges, and things start to go south, as they say.


HOW-TO-HAVE-A-HEALTHIER-DOGI first learned about high-dose vitamin C from Dr. Wendell Belfield’s books How to Have a Healthier Dog and The Very Healthy Cat Book.  He treated, with great success, “incurable” diseases like Distemper in dogs and Feline Leukemia in cats. Despite all the doubters and nay-sayers, of which there were many, he persevered and is one of my personal heroes.  He saved the lives of many animals,  and improved quality of life for many, many more.  All of my animal friends now receive extra Vitamin C every single day.


Did you know that most animals make their own Vitamin C?  For some reason, humans and guinea pigs (and a few others) cannot.  A goat, however, that is roughly the same body weight as a human makes 13,000 milligrams per day when in good health and a supportive environment.  When faced with life threatening disease or toxic challenge, goats can and do produce as much as 100,000 mg of vitamin C a day.  Whaaaat?

“Yes, the vast majority of other mammals produce their own vitamin C, as do most birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.  For all of these animals, vitamin C plays an essential role in protecting them from pathogens and toxins.

Humans, on the other hand, must satisfy their need for vitamin C through diet or supplementation. The fact that guinea pigs share in this inability to synthesize their own vitamin C is the primary reason these animals are used for research.  Guinea pigs can be made sick or toxic much more easily than a vitamin C-producing animal, allowing many experiments to be performed more quickly and efficiently.”

Oh, snap!  Dr. Levy has this whole Vitamin C thing completely nailed down.  How sad for the guinea pigs…

Have you ever wondered about how vitamin C actually works?  There are thousands of published studies that demonstrate the efficacy of vitamin C in neutralizing toxins, curing most infections, and acting as an antiviral. But how is this possible?

It seems that all toxins and infections have something in common. They all cause damage by increasing oxidative stress.  Oxidation is a process of electron exchange. When a substance loses electrons, that substance is considered to be oxidizing.   Long story short, Vitamin C exchanges electrons readily, helping neutralize harmful molecules and repair cellular damage via this amazing electron-exchanging ability.  Who knew?

Thankfully, Dr. Levy (and others before him) figured it out:

“That’s it. There is no other way in which a toxin can be toxic beyond the impairment of electron supply and flow in the biomolecules of the affected tissues.  And this is precisely why properly dosed vitamin C, before the point of irreversible tissue damage, will neutralize the toxicity of any toxin exposure or poisoning encountered.”

“In the 1940s Frederick Klenner, MD pioneered the use of mega-gram intravenous doses of vitamin C to effectively treat and often cure many different infections.  These included ones even now considered to be incurable, such as polio, tetanus, and encephalitis. He also led the way in demonstrating the ability of vitamin C to act as the ultimate antidote in reversing the toxicity of otherwise fatal doses of agents such as carbon monoxide, pesticides, barbiturates, and even heavy metals.”

Wow.  That’s a well-kept secret.


My first personally relevant Vitamin C experience occurred when I had a very unpleasant flu-like infection.  My back and shoulders were incredibly achey and painful.  Couldn’t sleep.   I was just about to take an ibuprofen.  Instead, I put 2 tsps of Sodium Ascorbate (about 6,000 mg Vitamin C) in 16 oz of water, and chugged it.  Went back to bed.  About 15 minutes later, I actually felt the inflammation leaving my back and shoulders.  My shoulders, neck and back continued to pleasantly tingle as the pain further dissipated, and I fell into a sound and restful sleep.  Major convincer.

JuicingCarrotsCeleryBeetGreensNov2014Since then, I have experimented with different doses and forms.  Researched a lot.  Now I average somewhere between 6,000 and 9,000 mg of Vitamin C per day.  I feel so much better!   Inflammation is way way down for me, energy up, and life is good.  I’ve done a lot of other things, like food elimination, juicing, daily walks, Feldenkrais classes, organic gardening, skin brushing, coffee enemas and saunas, all of which have speeded my recovery from what used to be chronic, debilitating inflammation and a generally unresourceful approach to life. The simple act of lifting an empty plant pot would result in a week-long bout of neck and back pain and general malaise.  Chronic inflammation makes life much harder – your outlook and decisions can be strongly influenced by the never-ending cycle of discomfort.  And you lose mobility.

Maintaining mobility is important.  Moving your body = moving your lymphatic fluid.  Gotta keep those cells moving.  I’m incredibly invested in maintaining mobility because my gardens need me.  I like being able to dig up roses and haul stuff around.  I help my husband load rocks and shovel manure.  We do all kinds of outdoor projects together.  I take my dog for a walk every day.  All with little or no pain.  Not bad for girl in her 60’s!


I use sodium ascorbate powder in my drinking water throughout the day and night.  Both Linus Pauling and Dr. Thomas E Levy recommend this form.  Sodium ascorbate is the form recommended by Dr. Belfield for dogs and cats, as well.  I’ve been ingesting sodium ascorbate for a few years now, so I feel it is perfectly safe in regard to sodium, in case you were wondering.  It’s a buffered form of C, so can be taken without stomach upset.

Vitamin C, being water soluble, is best when taken frequently throughout the day.  You may have to work up to a dose of 5,000 mg or more.  Just try it for a couple weeks and see how you feel.  Go gradually, because taking more than you need (or can absorb) in a short amount of time can lead to gassiness and/or diarrhea. Put 1,000 mg in a tall glass of water and drink half now, half in an hour or so.  Then repeat throughout the day.


Or make a Magic Cherry Soda!
MagicCherrySoda

1 oz Knudsen’s Cherry Juice
7 drops Vanilla Stevia
1 oz Coconut Milk
1/4 tsp sodium ascorbate powder (800 mg Vitamin C)

Stir above together, then fill the glass with bubbly water.  Delicious and anti-inflammatory.  Hydrating.

Cheers!


I personally aim to keep my body flooded with Vitamin C at all times.  Dr. Levy agrees:

 “Vitamin C is the best way to maintain good health.  Infections rarely have the opportunity to take hold when vitamin C levels are normal in the body.”

“Every health problem will respond to treatment and recover better when patients are receiving adequate levels of vitamin C.”

Did you know that the dreaded Shingles virus has been very successfully treated with IV administration of Vitamin C?  In three separate published studies, Shingles was successfully treated and resolved with high dose Vitamin C.  In one of those studies, complete resolution of  the disease was seen in 100% of the 327 cases studied within 72 hours.  Can you imagine?  All those painful symptoms, the energetic depletion, the anguish and the aftereffects of an extended period of extreme inflammation…. instead of lasting two months, GONE in 72 hours.  There are clinics all over the U.S. who offer IV administration of Vitamin C.  You will have to seek them out.  See reading list for references.

So how much Vitamin C do we humans need every day?  It varies from person to person.  This is what Andrew Saul has to say:

“You certainly would need more than the RDA because just about every animal on earth makes 10 or 15 times the amount of vitamin C in the RDA. So I would say you need at least 1,500 milligrams a day and that would be low. And I would recommend you take what a gorilla would get every day in their daily diet, around 4,000-4,500 milligrams of vitamin C a day.”

If you have the flu, then 2,000 mg every hour is recommended.  Seriously.  This can be incredibly helpful for lessening symptoms quickly and shortening the duration of the illness.

And what about our beloved animal companions?  Here is what Dr. Belfield writes:

 “In the wilds on his own, beyond the reach and ‘wisdom’ of food processors, the dog does indeed seek out vitamin C sources in his food.  He eats the ingested material of the prey, which is rich in Vitamin C.  He eats the liver where the ascorbic acid is produced, and the adrenal glands, a storehouse of vitamin C…  He eats it raw, while man gives it to him cooked.  Cooking destroys vitamin C.  In the wilds the dog also eats vegetables, fruit and berries, additional sources of vitamin C.  People say that the dog makes enough and doesn’t need more.  On his own, in nature, the dog acts like he needs more….  I believe that supplementation of vitamin C is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for the health of your pet.”


Lily & Chandra 814-2Thank you, Dr. Belfield!  Vitamin C has been super helpful for Lily and  Zandra.  Recommended dosage for animals under 20 pounds is 500 – 1,500 mg in divided doses throughout the day. Animals who weigh 20-50 pounds would receive 1,500 – 3,000 mg a day, 50-100 pound animals receive 3,000 – 6,000 mg per day, and animals over 100 pounds benefit from 6,000 – 7,500 mg per day in divided doses.  Puppies and kittens can receive pediatric vitamin C drops.


Vitamin C has helped  me measurably reduce and stave off inflammation, as well as resolve several other imbalances that used to show up on a regular basis (swollen ear lobes, swollen ankles, chronic neck pain).  Now if I have an inflammation flare up, it only lasts for one day, or half a day instead of weeks on end.  I can recover from a day of digging in the garden much more quickly now than when I was in my 40’s!

If you have chronic inflammation, are prone to catch colds, flu or respiratory infections, have been exposed to pesticides, herbicides or other toxins, or simply feel stressed and tired a lot of the time, perhaps it’s time to increase your daily or weekly intake by adding sodium ascorbate to your drinking water several times each week, or every day for a while.  I think you will notice an improvement in the way you feel.

Blessings!

Sarah

Resources and Recommended Reading

Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. How to Have a Healthier Dog: The Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog’s Life Cycles. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981. Print.

Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. The Very Healthy Cat Book: A Vitamin and Mineral Program for Optimal Feline Health. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. Print.

“DoctorYourself.com – How to Get a Vitamin C I.V. Ordered.” DoctorYourself.com – How to Get a Vitamin C I.V. Ordered. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

“DoctorYourself.com: Andrew Saul’s Natural Health Website.” DoctorYourself.com: Andrew Saul’s Natural Health Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

“Dr. Joel Wallach – The Best of Dead Doctors Don’t Lie.” YouTube. YouTube, 17 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Eid1BsSI7h18SKfAzv43Q. “Lecture on Vitamin C by Brilliant Suzanne Humphries.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016.

Huggins, Hal, and Thomas E. Levy. Uninformed Consent the Hidden Dangers in Dental Care. Newburyport: Hampton Roads, 1999. Print.

“Intravenous Vitamin C and Cancer Boulder / Denver.” NatureMed Boulder. N.p., 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 May 2016.

Levy, Thomas E. Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. Henderson, NV: Livon, 2002. Print.

Levy, Thomas E. Primal Panacea. Henderson, NV: MedFox Pub., 2011. Print.

“List of Clinics in the United States Offering Alternative Therapies – Welcome To Cancer Cure Foundation.” List of Clinics in the United States Offering Alternative Therapies – Welcome To Cancer Cure Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

Pauling, Linus. How to Live Longer and Feel Better. New York: W.H. Freeman, 1986. Print.

Rogers, Sherry A. Detoxify or Die. Sarasota, FL: Sand Key, 2002. Print.

Smith, Lendon H. Feed Your Body Right: Understanding Your Individual Body Chemistry for Proper Nutrition without Guesswork. New York, NY: M. Evans, 1994. Print.

Smith, Lendon H. Feed Your Kids Right: Dr. Smith’s Program for Your Child’s Total Health. New York: McGraw Hill, 1979. Print.

Wallach, Joel D., and Ma Lan. Dead Doctors Don’t Lie. Franklin, TN: Legacy Communications Group, 1999. Print.

“Welcome To Orthomolecular.org.” Welcome To Orthomolecular.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Posted in Book Reviews, Empowering Yourself Back to Health, Food Elimination, Food for Dogs & Cats, Health & Nutrition | 2 Comments

Springtime arrives! Roses, Berries and Vines…

It’s so exciting watching the new gardens come to life!

Roses First

I brought seven roses from our Longmont gardens. Apothecary, Francesca, Rose de Rescht, Angel Face, Ebb Tide, Lyda Rose, and Rosa Glauca.  Most had only been planted in the ground for one season.  Two were still in pots.  Believe me, if mature roses were easy to dig up, I would have brought a few more.  The Rosa Glauca got to come along as I took a successful root division from the main plant.  So thankful.


Apothecary's RoseThe Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis) is a very old rose dating back to the 1300’s. The leaves, flowers and hips of this rose are nutritive and medicinal. The dried petals hold their wonderful old rose fragrance for many months. One of my very favorite roses to infuse in honey. This rose reaches 3-4′ tall x 4-5′ wide.  Zone 4.


RosaGlaucaJune2015-2Rosa glauca is a charming species rose with small, perfect, single flowers that bloom all along it’s arching stems – up to 6′ tall. The bluish foliage is beautifully tinged with shades of lavender. Very unique and hardy.  Produces small hips and has lovely fall color.  Such a graceful and lovable rose.  Zone 5.



AngelFaceOct14Angel Face and Ebb Tide are two of my favorite lavender and purple roses.  Each one is exceptionally and intoxicatingly fragrant.  Each rose blooms repeatedly through the summer, and into Fall.  The photo of Angel Face, left, was taken in October on my birthday!  While many lavender roses are quite soft and easily damaged, Angel Face has sturdy petals that are almost rubbery in texture.

EbbTide2015JuneThese roses grow to about 4′ in height by 2-3′ in width, although if they were very well nourished and received lots of sun, they could grow larger.

Zone 5.  Love!


 

Rose de Rescht - purchased at Harlequin's Gardens in Boulder.

Rose de Rescht – purchased at Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder.

Rose de Rescht has also proven to be a fragrant, robust and dependable rose that repeats generously through summer and into fall. It’s a beautiful deep magenta rose – the flowers are perfect, small and dense, and very very fragrant. One of my favorites for distilling into Rose hydrosol.  This is a very productive rose when happy.  Grows 3′ x 3-4′.   Zone 5.



FrancescaOh, Francesca! Now growing in a southern exposure in good garden soil that we amended with rabbit manure, horse manure, compost, glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal innoculant. I have a thing for apricot roses, and this one reaches 5 x 5, has a strong honeysuckle fragrance, and blooms continuously all season. 


Rosa Rugosa Rubra, Rosa Rugosa Alba, Jude the Obscure, and Apricot Impressionist are the four newest additions to my gardens.

RosaRugosa2015Rugosas are robust and vigorous roses, Zone 3.  Both Rubra and Alba are exceptionally fragrant, and both produce large, tasty and nutritious rose hips after blooming and reblooming all summer.  Thorny, yes, so plant away from walkways.  And the Rugosas do NOT like chemical fertilizer of any kind, making them perfect for the organic garden.  Durable, large and resistant to most pests, I placed these roses in full sun in the front yard where passers by will be able to enjoy the fragrance.  Dimensions are 6-7′ tall x 4-5′ wide.  Zone 3.


New Roses

Jude the Obscure is an apricot rose, also exceptionally fragrant, continually
blooming and reaching 4-5′ tall. I’ve read so much about it’s amazing fragrance, and when I learned that it blooms continuously, I had to give it a go.  It will be new for me this year, so I don’t have a photo.  Same for Apricot Impressionist, which can be grown as a tall shrub or climber, is also exceptionally fragrant, and blooms continuously all season.

Be Patient.  Spring is definitely coming!

I tried to rush things in my haste to start planting my front gardens, and asked to have these four new roses shipped in March. I thought they would arrive in a dormant, or semi-dormant state, but instead they were completely leafed out. The cold March we had knocked them back… I was so mad at myself! It’s hard to be patient.  Let me say right here that it is way WAY better to hold off and plant once the weather warms.  So if you find yourself ordering plants or heading out to the garden with your tomato seedlings before your last frost date, go jump on a rebounder, make a salad or bake something instead!  Patience is a virtue, especially in the garden.

That said, everything is recovering nicely, and ALL of the roses, even the very small ones that I brought with me, are showing new growth.  More roses coming later!  Oh snap!


Berries!

I first learned about Honeyberries (aka edible Blue Honeysuckle)  from the One Green World catalog.  Great reading.  Their web site is informative, too.  I just love leafing through the printed catalog.  They really know their stuff when it comes to flowering and fruiting shrubs, trees and vines.

Honeyberries thrive in Canada (originally hailing from Siberia), and are labeled as Zone 3.  The berries are similar in color and size to blueberries, but are elongated instead of round, and, unlike blueberries, don’t require being planted into a bale of peat moss to grow here in Colorado.  Highly nutritious and desirable for eating, we ordered three – two for fruiting, one for pollinating.  Super durable, early blooming, highly nutritious, adaptable to various soils and sun exposures AND delicious.  Fine in partial or even full shade.  Can burn in afternoon sun, so a morning exposure is best where summers are hot.

So our three Honeyberry bushes came with us.  Turns out that they are the most adorable little shrubs – even in March, and were covered with blooms starting in late March and early April (re: zone 3).  They don’t mind the cold and snow one tiny bit!  Right now, on a snowy May 1, they are incredibly leafy and vigorous.  It probably feels downright balmy to them!  I hope that some tiny pollinators found their way into the flowers, as they did last year, and we should have some tasty, blueberry-like berries in a few months.

We grew Goji Berries at our old location, and did not bring them along because they had grown to such an enormous size in one year.   Fortunately we were able to get a rooted cutting from a friend, and will start again – this time giving that bad boy a lot of space!
Zone 5.


Coming soon will be Elderberry, Hawthorn and Raspberry.  So thankful for the large back lot at our new location. We will be installing gardens one by one, and implementing permaculture strategies to channel both rainwater and greywater (from the shower and washing machine) into the garden beds.

Vines

SchisandraFlowersI am really excited about Schisandra chinensis. Finally this amazing  and durable plant that has been living in a large pot for 3 years will have a permanent place to vine and flower. The plant prefers a partially shaded exposure, while the vines climb upward (8 – 10′) toward the sun. I have the perfect place for it!  We may only have to wait one more year for berries.  Sweet.  Well, it’s actually a “five-flavor” berry in the Chinese Medicine tradition (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent).  Schisandra is an adaptogenic herb that supports longevity and vitality.  Having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Schisandra is considered one of the most protective of all medicinal plants.  And it’s going to be growing in my garden!  Also known as Chinese Magnolia Vine.  Zone 4.


CodonopsisFlowersEchinaceaCodonopsis will also be gracing my garden.  A charming vine whose roots are often referred to as “Poor Man’s Ginseng.”  Eventually I will have to try some of the amazing recipes I’ve come across…  But for a few years, I will simply enjoy watching this lovely vine grow and bloom with its charming, bell-shaped flowers.  Zone 5. 


PassifloraLgtPassiflora?  Of course! This vine will be located in one of the back gardens – those areas reserved for the more vigorous, more substantial plants.  Cannot wait to see it  blooming on the fence.  This one is Passiflora incarnata, and has proven to be very hardy and vigorous here in Colorado.

I got my first Passiflora from One Green World.  It arrived on a trellis, in bud and bloom!  I thought I had to baby it along, so planted it in a large clay pot and sat it in full sun in the garden next to the trellis.  It did twine and bloom for much of that summer, and in the Fall when we tried to carry the plant into the house, the roots had grown out the bottom of the pot and into the garden below.  The rest is history, as we discovered the following spring.  In mid to late May, Passiflora incarnata returns each year, sending up new shoots – sometimes in random places.  Guess that’s why it’s often referred to as “Maypop.”  Passiflora is one of my all time favorite nervine herbs.  Fragrant, exotic and easy to grow if you have the space for it.   Very vigorous and generous plant.  Use leaf, stems and flowers when in bloom to tincture or dry for tea. Zone 5.  


Of course I’m very thankful for all the herbs that made the transition to the new location. Giant Cowslip, Wood Betony, Skullcap, Ajuga, Echinaceas, Mugwort, Arnica, Thyme, Geranium, St. John’s Wort, Yerba Mansa, Oregano, Mints and Penstemons, welcome to your new home! We’re still trying to figure out how Chickweed followed us here.  I think it likes us.  More on these and other herbs later.

Blessings to You and Your Gardens,

Sarah

Posted in Health & Nutrition, Herbal Magic, Organic Gardening, Plants & Gardens, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yet another blog about whole foods

SelfLilyMay2014
Soon I’ll be blogging about my new gardens in extreme detail, but I just wanted to get in one more reminder about the amazing healing power of species-appropriate whole foods.  For humans and dogs, and, really, all living beings, this is so important.

So many folks still feed dry and canned dog food to their beloved companions. But then, the American human diet is in shambles, too. It’s difficult to resist all the advertising and fast food that surrounds us.

Feeding whole, species-appropriate foods to your dog or cat is similar in many ways to a human adopting a Paleo diet. It means taking a look at what we were designed to eat. Or we can look at it another way by asking: What kinds of foods really WORK for us and our animal friends? Which foods provide bioavailable, easy to digest nutrients that support organ systems and supply the necessary nutrients for cellular vitality? Can these foods be delicious, too? (Yes!) We all need a series of very specific nutrients to allow the chemistry of our bodies work at top efficiency. Having vibrant energy for participating in fun and meaningful activities, being able to rebuild muscles and joints, living pain-free, recovering and healing from injury or illness, simply enjoying being inside our bodies, looking good, feeling happy and relaxed – all these are supported by consuming high quality protein, vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds and fruit in whatever combination works best for you or your animal companion.

Heat processed dog and cat food may seem like a good and tasty food for your friend. And it’s pretty much available everywhere, just like McDonald’s burgers and fries, Pringles potato chips, Velveeta, Spam or Stouffer’s frozen dinners. But hidden in the ingredients and processing are substances that cause problems in our bodily functions at the cellular level. Damaged fats, chemical preservatives, artificial flavors and a general lack of nutrition make it challenging for our bodies to extract any existing nutrients and excrete the waste products, taxing the digestive and immune systems. Over time, the lack of nutrients plus the extra burden of chemicals and damaged ingredients takes a toll, often showing up as inflammation in the form of frequent infections, allergies, pain and discomfort, swelling, and many other imbalances.

The fats we ingest supply our bodies with the essential fatty acids from which our cells are composed. I’m POSITIVE I don’t want my cell walls to be constructed of damaged fats. That goes for my animal companions too. Freeze dried, raw, dehydrated or lightly cooked foods are infinitely more digestible and bioavailable than any dry or canned food, and the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids and other nutrients remain intact. More delicious for your dog, too. Give it a try for one month. You will see results.

Zero enzymes in dry and canned food. Zero, zip, nada. That’s a problem.

The enzymes that circulate in our bodies are not just for digesting our food. And we each have an allotted number of enzymes to expend throughout our lifetimes. Enzyme activity transports nutrients, helps the body grow and rebuild, removes toxins, and generally keeps things moving in a positive manner all throughout our various organ systems. We all benefit greatly from consuming enzyme-rich, raw foods as part of our diet. Raw greens, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables have a lot to offer in the way of nutrition and healing for both humans and animal companions.

Wild canines eating a species-appropriate raw diet expend very few of their own enzymes to digest their food, because the food is fresh and loaded with living enzymes that actually contribute greatly to the digestive process. These same wild canines have an interesting physiological reaction when fed dry food – the pancreas enlarges in order to produce more enzymes to compensate for the lack of enzymes in the food. Their personal enzyme bank begins to become depleted.

The same type of thing happens to humans who eat a lot of processed food, sugar, damaged fat, and chemicals.  Our digestive systems become congested or inflamed, which leads to further issues down the road.  Or we might develop an itchy rash, ear infection or other unpleasant symptom. Inflammation takes many forms.  It’s a message from the body!  Don’t ignore it.  You can improve your diet in small increments.  With dogs and cats, you can make the change to whole food more quickly.

The congestion/inflammation scenario often spirals downward as we age, and as our enzyme and nutrient banks become overdrawn. Inflammation, in its many forms, creeps in and becomes chronic. If we medicate instead of resolving the imbalance, the problem becomes compounded as the organs of elimination have to work harder to break down and excrete yet another foreign substance.

Why deplete your dog’s digestive and immune systems with food that is unrecognizable, baked at very high temperatures, and has an almost indefinite shelf life? Heat processed foods are the biggest contributors to allergies, ear infections, itching, overweight, dental issues, digestive disorders – including pancreatitis, body odor and even worse. I have spoken with literally thousands of people regarding this subject over the years.

The good news?  Health and well being can be recovered by switching to a whole food diet. I’ve seen these miraculous recoveries happen for thousands of dogs and cats.  People, too!  My own experience with including more nutritious foods and supplements in my own diet has been nothing short of miraculous.  I focus on what really works for me – greens, some fruit, lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other high quality proteins. I avoid “problem” foods.

Here are some food options for your canine friend that are super nourishing, delicious and economical. Added benefits include: way fewer visits to the vet, better dental health, optimal body weight, emotional balance, shiny coats, and good energy. And very happy dogs at meal time. Keep in mind that dehydrated foods expand when they are rehydrated, so the 8 pound bag of Sojos Complete makes about 40 pounds of food. Really economical.

High quality protein can include eggs (raw yolks,  or boiled, scrambled, poached), freshwater fish (a frozen fish makes a great meal for a large dog!), human foods to share with your dog (meatloaf, bison burgers, turkey meat, soups, stews, salads, sweet potatoes), and any of the dehydrated, freeze dried or raw dog food blends (Primal, Stella & Chewy’s, Dr. Harvey’s, Sojos, Only Natural Pet). Or any combination of the above! Really a good idea to rotate proteins and ingredients.

Including raw fruits and vegetables in your dog’s diet offers amazing health benefits. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, kale, chard, spinach, lettuces, apples, and berries are all excellent sources of enzymes, minerals, bioflavonoids, and vitamins. Great for keeping those teeth clean and shiny.

Lily loves her greens, and it shows!

Lily loves her greens, and it shows!

Lily adores raw sweet potato and broccoli. She loves cabbage. Apples and raw almonds are also favorite treats. Eating a whole food diet with additional supplements was literally a life-saver for her.  Most of what I now know about canine nutrition I learned from my adorable, beloved Lily.

Greens and nutritive herbs are super good for dogs. During the last couple summers, I grew a big pot of oats. I noticed my dogs made a beeline to munch on the oat grass every morning. I grew oats in order to make milky oat tincture, and the fact that the dogs ate the grass with such enthusiasm (which didn’t stop the plant from producing oats later) was a major side benefit. They also grazed on the leaves of Rudbeckia on a regular basis. My little dog would grab a bite of comfrey leaf almost every day as we wandered through the garden.

OzStockresz

When I deadheaded and pruned Echinacea purpurea, I would throw a few stems to my dogs. My big shepherd, Ozzie, would rip off the leaves and eat them with gusto.

I make a rotation of green blends for my animal friends. It’s easy to do, and cost effective when you make it yourself. Here is one simple formula for dogs:

1/4 c wheat grass powder
1/4 c Spirulina
1/4 c nutritional yeast powder
1/4 c NOW brand Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C)
1/4 c organic grated coconut

Give 1 tsp per meal for a 20 pound dog. Make a larger batch for multiple dogs or big dogs. Great stuff!

Wheat Grass and Spirulina are remineralizing, cleansing, and support your dog’s digestive system.  Other super nourishing green powders: Nettle, Violet Leaf, Dandelion.

Nutritional Yeast is loaded with B vitamins for good energy, calm nervous system, nourished liver function.

Vitamin C – we could all use some extra C! Since our world is so stressful and toxic, I add this important detoxifying nutrient based on my own amazing experiences of ingesting way more than the Recommended Daily Allowance on a regular basis. Thank you, Linus Pauling, Andrew Saul and Dr. Tom Levy, among others. Wendell Belfield, DVM, has done extensive research on immunity and nutrition in both dogs and cats, for which I will be eternally grateful. His books are a joy to read. Dr. Belfield recommends the sodium ascorbate form of Vitamin C for dogs and cats (and Linus Pauling recommends it for people). My companions receive this nutrient every day.

Coconut provides beneficial essential fatty acids, and the added bonus of fiber and beneficial anti-bacterial properties for digestive support.

My philosophy about feeding my animals and myself is to make every bite count. For dog treats, I often feed raw vegetables, raw nuts and a few fruits (apples and berries). Absolutely no baked treats for any of my animal friends.

And, of course, both dogs and cats benefit greatly from consuming organ meat. I’m not a big fan of handling raw liver and such, so I buy freeze dried lamb lung, boar’s heart, liver, tripe and other delicacies and use them as treats.

ChandraBeautyShotFeb15Since cats are obligate carnivores, supplying some organ meat throughout the day creates a balanced state in my feline friend, Zandra. And she is gorgeous! Just ask her!

Zandra’s green blend right now:
1 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c spirulina
1/4 c sodium ascorbate powder
1/4 c lecithin granules
1/4 c barley grass powder

Oh, she loves it!!!

KittyBowlFace2014

I hope you are already feeding a whole food diet to your animal friends.  If not, give it some serious consideration.  Results are often miraculous!  Your animals will definitely thank you.

If you are looking for ideas, check out my e-book,  The Whole Food Recipe Book for Dogs and Cats.

Blessings,
Sarah

Recommended Reading

Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. How to Have a Healthier Dog: The Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog’s Life Cycles. New York: New American Library, 1981. Print.

Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. The Very Healthy Cat Book: A Vitamin and Mineral Program for Optimal Feline Health. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. Print.

Bernard, Michelle T. Raising Cats Naturally: How to Care for Your Cat the Way Nature Intended. Lincolnton, NC: Blakkatz Pub., 2003. Print.

Frazier, Anitra, Norma Eckroate, and Anitra Frazier. The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2008. Print.

Goldstein, Martin. The Nature of Animal Healing. New York: Random House International, 2001. Print.

Kidd, Randy. Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Cat Care. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2000. Print.

Kidd, Randy. Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care. Pownal: Storey, 2000. Print.

Lipman, Frank, and Stephanie Gunning. Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality, and Long-term Health. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2003. Print.

Martin, Ann N. Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts about Pet Food. Troutdale, Or.: NewSagePress, 2008. Print.

Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: Including the Nutritional Profiles of 106 Commonly Used Herbs and Foods. Bountiful, Utah (P.O. Box 761, Bountiful 84010): Pedersen Pub., 1987. Print.

Pitcairn, Richard, and Susan Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. [S.l.]: Rodale P., U.S., 83:. Print.

Plechner, Alfred J., and Martin Zucker. Pets at Risk: From Allergies to Cancer, Remedies for an Unsuspected Epidemic. Troutdale, OR: NewSage, 2003. Print.

Pottenger, Francis M., Elaine Pottenger, and Robert T. Pottenger. Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition. La Mesa, CA (P.O. Box 2614, La Mesa 92041): Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1983. Print.

Puotinen, C. J. The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care. Los Angeles: Keats Pub., 2000. Print.

Schwartz, Cheryl. Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1996. Print.

Tilford, Gregory L., Mary Wulff-Tilford, and Mary Wulff-Tilford. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. Laguna Hills, CA: BowTie, 2009. Print.

Zucker, Martin. The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs: Safe and Effective Alternative Treatments and Healing Techniques from the Nation’s Top Holistic Veterinarians. New York: Three Rivers, 1999. Print.

Posted in Cats & Dogs, Empowering Yourself Back to Health, Food for Dogs & Cats, Health & Nutrition, Herbs for Dogs & Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Digs, Houseplant Health and Spring Garden Plans

LivingDiningJan2016At last!  We finally got moved in to our beautiful new home in Berthoud, Colorado.  It took way longer than expected, but we are settling in nicely. The living room is set up so my plants can enjoy the south and west exposures.  The sun pours in all day long.  Lucky us!


I love my Crown of Thorns. It never stops blooming, and is the most vibrant when receiving several hours of direct sunlight every day, preferably afternoon sun.  I water this beautiful plant deeply 1x per week, more or less.  If water is collecting in the drainage dish, I wait a few more days before watering again.  Once it warms up in the Spring, this plant lives outside, in constant full bloom, until Fall.  Beautiful!!!

Jan2016CrownThorns


Jan2016OrchidBloomingMy orchid is recovering from living outside in the dry Colorado climate for the months before and after the move. It has been blooming now for several weeks – a minor miracle since it was quite damaged before I brought it in. I almost gave up on it!  Once I trimmed off the brown tips and removed all of the dead foliage, the eastern light in the back room was very therapeutic, speeding recovery and encouraging new growth.  Now in the living room, it receives bright indirect for most of the day, with a couple hours of direct western light after 3 pm, which is fabulous this time of year. Smells like vanilla!

During the Spring and Summer, the western light will filter through our neighbor’s trees. Lovely!   As long as it’s bright, many orchids prefer indirect and will sometimes burn if placed in direct sunlight.  Looking forward to the longer, brighter days of Spring.


Jan2016StreptoMy Streptocarpus is getting ready to bloom. Now that the days are getting longer, I water this particular plant 2x/week. I even soak it in the kitchen sink every so often. If you’ve never grown a Streptocarpus, they are highly floriferous and can get quite large when given the right conditions.  They do like to be consistently moist and well fed, so might be considered higher maintenance than a spider plant or aloe.  Worth the effort when bloom time arrives! A photo of the flowers from last year….
Strepto 42013


JAN2016Aloe
In the northwest exposure, I have a beautiful Aloe. It’s so happy there! The Aloe gets watered every other week or so. They take a while to adjust after being transplanted or moved, but then it seems as though all of a sudden they look really vibrant and happy.  Now I just need to start ingesting the gel!  Great for the digestive system. Easy to grow once they get started.

 


Jan2016RoseGeraniumRose Geraniums (Pelargonium graveolens) are notorious for being heavy feeders. They love to be watered deeply when in a growth period, which is most of the time, and they grow very vigorously. If you time it right, the transition from outside to inside will go smoothly, with only a few leaves lost.  Bring it in before temperatures drop and place in your sunniest location!  If you lose track of time, and it does get chilled, your scented geranium might drop all of it’s foliage. Just prune it back and put it in a sunny window, gradually increasing watering and feeding as new foliage appears.  It WILL regrow.  I was lucky and only lost a few lower leaves during transition this year, while the top of the plant remained beautiful and lush.  I’m going to leave it in my east-facing office, as it seems to adore the morning light.


Rose geraniumPelargonium’s foliage is amazing on it’s own – wonderfully fragrant and robust.  This is the plant I distill Rose Geranium hydrosol from.  I  haven’t quite figured out which nutrients encourage abundant blossoms yet. I’m going to try adding a tablespoon of magnesium along with the Age Old Grow in the next watering. If it doesn’t bloom for me indoors, when I move it out in late Spring I will start feeding it blood meal, as an herbalist friend of mine had constant blooms when she did so. Can’t use blood meal indoors with a dog and cat in the house.

I regularly dump coffee grounds on my Rose Geranium, and often water my orchid and Streptocarpus with “coffee water.”  Now that the days are getting longer, I water once a week using organic Age Old Grow, 1 Tbs per 3 gallons of water.  All things considered, I think my plants look fabulous!


Jan2016StringHeartsOne more plant that I love to grow indoors is String of Hearts.  It’s a very durable plant that will grow slowly and steadily even if ignored or fairly vigorously when receiving reasonably bright light and regular deep watering every 7-10 days. It likes to remain a little dry.  Bright indirect light, or an eastern exposure is good.   I’ve seen these lovely plants grow 7-8′ long, from the top of an herb cabinet to the floor in just a few months.  Beautiful!  Here, the plant is growing a clay pot, which I place inside a tall, heavy urn-like pot.  This is a division I took from the original plant.  It blooms with very tiny trumpet shaped flowers once a year or so.   I love this plant!  Growing here in a very sunny east exposure and feeding/watering 1x/week to encourage growth.

New Gardens Coming This Spring!

Of course I’m making plans for the new herb gardens we will be building in the Spring.  I’ll be ordering seeds for some of the easy-to-germinate herbs – Chamomile, Calendula, Chickweed (Stellaria media), Oats (Avena sativa), and Nigella sativa (Black Seed) to name a few.   I will get most of my seeds and some of my plants from Horizon Herbs (now called Strictly Medicinal Seeds) – all organic and they carry the most medicinal varieties of the herbs I want to grow.  Chickweed is our favorite Spring-to-Fall salad herb with many healing properties.  Oats are fun and easy to grow.  My dogs love the grass in spring and early summer.  It’s usually the first thing they snack on in the morning.  Later, the oats appear, and I harvest them when “milky”  to make the nourishing and calming Milky Oat nervine tincture.  This will be my first time growing Nigella, common name Black Seed.  Beautiful flowers, cool seed pods afterwards, and the seeds have a multitude of healing properties.

Calendula2014MyFavFlowers

Of course, I brought some favorite herb plants with me.  I just couldn’t leave my special Echinaceas (Tennesseensis, Paradoxa and Pallida) behind.

PrimulaflorindaeCUJuly2014CARD
Same for Feverfew, hot & spicy Oregano, Violets, Plantain, Skullcap, Catmint, Thyme, Chocolate Mint, Schizandra, and an unusual butterfly bush that I bought at the Botanic Gardens two years ago.  Hoping my Primula florindae (Giant Cowslip) (pictured right) comes back in the Spring.

Even though it seemed a little crazy to dig up and bring all those plants along, and we really had to scramble to get them into the ground, it’s going to be awesome when those front gardens come to life in the Spring.


I also brought two Rose de Rescht, an Apothecary Rose, Lyda Rose, Angel Face, Ebb Tide (left), a very fragrant orange-apricot rose called Francesca and a beautiful species rose, Rosa Glauca (below).  The roses were challenging to dig up as their roots reach down deep into the earth, even after only one season.  I was fortunate to successfully dig up and transplant a volunteer shoot from Rosa Glauca.

RosaGlaucaJune2015

Here at the new house, we constructed two gardens in the front yard, complete with rabbit and horse manure (found the rabbit manure on CraigsList), compost, mycorrhizal inoculant, and mineral rock dust.   AND, we got everything planted before the weather turned cold.  We were so busy!  The previous owners had mulched the existing gardens with “playground mulch” – little pieces of rubber!  I had to rake it all up, put it in buckets, and we hauled it over to the local recycling center.  Who mulches with rubber bits?  We also had to deconstruct a dilapidated chicken coop and do some fairly major cleanup in the back yard.  It’s ready for our gardens now.

FrontGardensSept2015

Perennials can take a long time to germinate, so I look forward to buying lots of herb plants from Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder, Colorado (organic nursery!).  They also have an amazing selection of own-root roses.  I will be adding at least one Rosa Rugosa Rubra (below), and possibly a few other species roses.  Now that I know how delicious and incredibly nourishing rose hips are, growing large, productive roses is a must!  Mmmmm.  All parts of the rose are medicinal – leaves, petals, hips, and even the twigs and branches were used by Native Americans.

RosaRugosa2015

More garden talk as we get closer to Spring!

Blessings to you and your gardens,
                             Sarah

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