The Fall Garden & More Rose Talk

AsterLemonBalmCampLavSept2017I keep thinking I will blog about another subject, but my attention always turns back to the garden because my first-year perennials are showing some amazing growth.  Some are blooming out of sequence, which often happens with first year gardens.

Roses are blooming!  So today’s blog includes more specifics about some of the roses I grow and why.  I do like to go on about the roses!

And, I will also be talking about plant groupings and some interesting color combinations I have been inspired to put together.

First, the roses

I’m no stranger to Rugosa roses.  I grew Hansa roses in our Longmont gardens next to the driveway in a fairly hot and dry location.  With consistent and regular deep watering, they did quite well.  I noticed that Rugosas are planted and bloom quite prolifically in the huge berm that goes down the middle of Ken Pratt Blvd in Longmont.  These roses can take that kind of environment  if watered consistently.  They do well in tamer gardens, too.

HansaRose copyTechnically, rugosas are species roses native to eastern Asia.  They do best in rich soil  and full sun.  Their nutrient requirement is usually met by generously adding compost, aged manure, mycorrhizae and glacial rock dust when planting.  These roses are care-free,  bloom all summer and produce a nourishing, delicious fruit – rose hips.  Rose petals are also very healing and nutritious.  Rose-infused honey is fragrant and delicious, and amazingly healing when used topically.

This is Rosa Rugosa Rubra.
RosaRugosa2015Most rugosas are Zone 3 roses, which makes them extra-hardy in our Zone 5 locale.  So if there is a sudden cold snap in October or November following warm weather, these roses will barely notice.  Most are quite vigorous.  Pay attention to the height and width in the description, and plan accordingly.  I like to read about roses at Heirloom Roses and High Country Roses.

Always read up on any new roses you are considering for your garden.

I’m especially excited about my newest Rugosa, Moje Hammarberg.  OK, it’s a strange name, but back in the day, roses were named after significant people in the rose’s country of origin – in this case, Sweden.  Look up “Roses named after people” and you will see how many folks have been immortalized by having a rose named for them, and how far back this tradition goes.  Way back!

Back to Moje Hammarberg – I’m looking forward to seeing and tasting the large rose hips that are purported to taste like plums.  Look at the incredibly beautiful roses and the number of buds.  Very fragrant, too!  Oh snap!RugosaRoseMoje2017Aug

A couple years ago, I discovered one of Euell Gibbons’ books that had a no-cook recipe for rose hip jam.  At that time, there was a huge organic rose bush covered in hips in my own back yard, so I took the opportunity, collected and cleaned several pints of rose hips, and made the jam per Euell’s instruction (only less sugar).  Turned out to be amazingly and delightfully delicious!  Euell’s chapter on roses describe the highly nutritious properties of rose hips.  After tasting the jam, I developed what some might call a minor obsession with growing roses that fruit.  I will include this delightful and nourishing jam recipe in a later blog along with some of my other favorite and delicious herbal formulations.  Don’t miss that one!

RoseInfusionHipsSept2014So to summarize, with the rugosa family, you get incredibly fragrant, beautiful, medicinal blooms all summer, tasty nutritious hips in the fall, a constant supply of  pollen for the bees, and lush visual beauty for your garden.  Moje has already sent up a vigorous new shoot in my garden, confirming that my idea of growing a hedge of this particular rose might be the way to go. You go, Moje Hammarberg!

Another group of old and charming roses are the Gallica roses.  One particular Gallica that is outstanding, super productive and hardy is the Apothecary Rose.  It’s a Zone 4 Gallica that dates back to the thirteenth century. That’s right!  It’s a very old rose.  It blo0ms once in early summer with an amazing profusion of large, fragrant, stunning flowers that the bees line up for.  I use the petals for infused honey,  hydrosols and Rose Elixir!  Most recently, I combined dried Apothecary roses, lemon verbena and organic black tea to make an outstanding morning blend that is SOOO delicious!  I add coconut milk and honey. OMGApothecaryJune2016

Bees adore and frequent the Apothecary Rose.
ApothecaryBees2017  I collected some of the whole rose blossoms for drying and using in formulations.
BowlApothecaryRoses2017Amazing, no?  Generous and medicinal!  Thank you, Apothecary Rose!

Perennial Combinations

Now, let’s talk about some of my favorite perennial combinations:

First of all, I was inspired to plant a collection of pink flowering hot/dry perennials together:   Pink Hollyhocks, Echinacea pallida and Pink Muhly Grass are framed out with a tall blue lavender and an unusual white lavender.  Next year, all should be blooming together!  All love this hot/dry full sun garden.  Perfect!  HollyGrassEchinaceaLavenders2017AugPink Muhly grass is purported to throw out a cloud of dramatic pink “flowers”  toward the later part of it’s flowering cycle.  Fingers crossed!  Or maybe next year.

I also have this stunning deep pink yarrow nearby, Achillea millefolium ‘Rosa Maria’
DarkPinkYarrow2017On the other side of this same garden is a grouping of orange flowering perennials!  Orange flowers are so charming and bright, especially as the morning sun shines across the garden and the bees arrive for their first visit of the day.

One of my favorite orange flowering hot/dry plants that is currently blooming is this Horned Poppy, Glaucium flavum.  This is one of those ever blooming perennials that the bees love.  It does require a few minutes of deadheading every other day to keep it blooming from mid-summer until frost.  I’m a big fan of deadheading everything from California poppies to Larkspur to Catmint – they will all rebloom numerous times if seed pods are removed in a timely fashion.  It’s one of my favorite activities in the garden!  Gives me a chance to hang out with the bees and smell the roses wafting on the breeze.  Sadly, dragonflies have disappeared altogether due to the tragic misuse of pesticides here in Berthoud.  More on that later.
HornedPoppy2017AugAsclepliasTuberosaJuly2017Next year, a beautiful assortment of pink and orange flowers will be blooming all together – those mentioned above, and in addition, Penstemon palmeri (pale pink, fragrant), Penstemon pseudospectabilis (hot pink), St John’s Chamomile (Anthemis sancti-johannis) (bright orange), Digitalis Obscura (dusty apricot), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) (orange) and Totally Tangerine Geum (luminescent tangerine orange).  There are other colors and textures, but this is the first time I have purposely grouped common colors together and included lots of orange!

One of the strategies I use to fill the garden with interesting combinations is to obtain small plants and grow them together in a pot.  They seem to grow and mature more quickly this way, and often I will actually plant them together in the garden in late summer or early fall.  Growing them in a pot like this gives me a chance to observe how the plants grow, and, while they are potted up, I can move them around to  various locations to see which environment best meets their criteria. And by the time fall rolls around, they have well developed root systems that can quickly take hold and establish in cooler fall temps.

In the below photo, I have Queen Anne’s Lace, blue sage and Rabbitbrush.  I will keep the sage and Queen Anne together, and grow the Rabbitbrush in the farther reaches of the yard, where Pampas Grass, Russian Sage, Pink Hollyhocks and Lemon Queen Sunflower will also grow.  The Queen Anne will be beautiful blooming in combination with the blue sage, along with dark blue Larkspur, Orange Hyssop, lavender Wood Betony and orange California Poppy – all full sun.  Such interesting textures and beautiful colors to anticipate!

Both Queen Anne’s Lace and this particular Sage are known to freely reseed, which is fine by me.  I can always share the small plants with other gardeners, or move some to other locations in the yard.  Since I deadhead on a regular basis, it’s rare for anything in my gardens to get out of control, even Nettle.

This Brown Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia triloba, is very attractive to bees.  I didn’t know it would get this tall and wide, so will move it in the Spring.  This is an example of a combination that isn’t working for the neighboring plants.  The flowers are darling and very long lasting.  I got this plant at Desert Canyon Farm in Canyon City, one of my favorite places to buy organic plants.  I had hoped it would grow and harmonize with a blue Spiderwort and a white-flowering Husker Red Penstemon, but a new plant will have to take it’s place in the Spring because it’s just too large for the space.  Charming plant, though!  I will find the perfect location for it since it’s so adorable and the bees love it!  So much taller and wider than any of my other Rudbeckias!BrownEyedSusan2017Aug
One of my current favorite plants is this humble Goldenrod.  It will get much taller and wider down the road. Goldenrod has many medicinal properties, and does not cause allergies! It has the following herbal properties and so much more: anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic. Highly beneficial for the kidneys, Goldenrod both nourishes and restores.  I love the tiny, perfect flowers.


Below are some small sprigs of Goldenrod in a collection of other antibiotic herbs that are going to be a part of a “fire cider” – a blend of vinegar, honey, horseradish, garlic and medicinal herbs.  Wonderful to keep on hand for any flu or cold, or to take preventatively. Delicious when used in a salad dressing.  I will discuss this and other formulations in a future blog about my favorite herbal recipes.  Herbs are so amazing!


Some herbs start out small the first year, but come back full force and with great gusto the following year.  St. John’s Wort and Celandine are two examples, and this particular Oregano (below) is one more.  This is a beautiful variety that dries well.  I always keep a dried bouquet of it around, along with some of those adorable hops oregano flowers.  So sweet, and the color lasts for years.


Below is the FIRST bumblebee I’ve seen in my gardens since the pesticide fogging began in our town.  I also saw one dragonfly earlier this week… in past years there would have been dozens in many sizes, shapes and colors, but almost all of them are gone now.  They may make a comeback if our elected officials get a brain and figure out that larviciding is way more effective and safe than spraying neurotoxic pesticides into our environment.  Otherwise, this town is doomed to be overrun with mosquitoes, wasps and dead bees.  Tragic.  And completely avoidable.  I bought these zinnia seeds from an organic grower on ETSY!  At least my garden is safe for our pollinators.


Penstemon pseudospectabilis has made a showing here in September, just blooming as I am finishing this blog post.  I’m so looking forward to next year when it will bloom with abandon on it’s normal schedule (June).  Such a beauty! This plant, too, has many medicinal properties.  One of my favorite penstemons.


And here are some combinations that I am planting now to create a mixed hedgerow across the back yard in that crazy swale we built – it’s a ditch of sorts, 18-24 inches deep, that runs the entire width of the back yard.  The slope of our property lends itself to this type of gardening, providing the swale and the entire lower section of the yard, with extra moisture that travels down the slope to be stored directly in the earth.  We will also be routing the grey water from our shower into this area.

There are 9 deep pockets of soil all along this swale.  Each pocket or section measures 4′ x 3′.   The front edges of the swale gardens are edged with logs, perfect for dramatic, draping or adorable ground covers.  Using vigorous ground covers along the fronts of new gardens helps keep the weeds out while providing a living mulch and much joy when they bloom.


Each section will be planted with two, three or four perennials to create a mixture of colors and textures.  I am always keeping colors in mind as I assign plants to spaces.  Here we have pink hollyhocks and garden sage.  I’m thinking of adding an early blooming yellow flowering Celandine to this section.  All three of those plants enjoy full sun or some shade and can compete with and adapt to each other.  If the hollyhocks get too leafy, I cut them back in a respectful manner so that everyone gets enough sun.  Imagine next spring and summer!  Pretty!

AsterCampanulaLavenderSept222017This grouping is almost complete with a beautiful fall blooming purple aster in the back, a lovely, spreading purple-flowering campanula that blooms mid-summer, and a Lavender in the front of this garden.  Adding a trailing Veronica (lavender) or perhaps a deep purple Pulsatilla will fill out this section of the swale nicely.  I also have an orange butterfly weed that needs a new location…that would also be be stunning!

Along the back fence will be another type of hedgerow, this one with much more substantial shrubs, vines and fruiting bushes.  Already planted are two elderberries, a lilac, two Hawthorns and a Goji Berry.  All get quite large, and are planted 12-15  feet apart, 4-5 feet away from the fence.

Between the Lilac and the first Elderberry, we will be planting this stunning Clematis Polish Spirit on a very tall trellis that is firmly attached to the fence.  The clematis will grow on one side and onto the adjoining fence, while Darlow’s Enigma Rambling Rose fills in on the other side.



Hopefully they will meet in the middle!  Both are long-blooming and vigorous.

DarlowSmallPollinators2015Darlow’s Enigma rose blooms from early summer until frost and is exceptionally fragrant and attractive to our pollinator friends, the bees.  “Vigorous” doesn’t begin to describe how large and beautiful this rose becomes in just a couple seasons, especially with support.  I can almost smell the fragrance wafting across the back yard!

This is a photo of  a Darlow’s Enigma that grew on a large pergola in my Longmont garden.  Love this stunning rose!!!

Darlow's Enigma reaching for the sky

Darlow’s Enigma reaching for the sky

We will finish planting along the fence, filling in with Rosa Canina, Rosa Glauca, and some tall ornamental grasses.  Toward the front of this long garden will be lower growing, yet substantial shrubs, such as Blue Mist Spirea, Russian Sage and perhaps currant or gooseberry shrubs.

Much of the inspiration for our gardens comes from a lovely book, The Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds.  She weaves together permaculture and sustainable gardening strategies, inspiration and awareness to create a very encouraging and helpful book in these troubled times.

I have been deeply saddened by our town’s decision to use neurotoxic, endocrine disrupting pesticide fogging to control mosquitoes.  The extreme and completely unnecessary protocol adopted by city council has done severe and obvious damage to the ecosystem that once existed here in Berthoud.  Dragonflies, one of the more voracious mosquito predators, have been wiped out with only a few survivors in my neighborhood.  Same for bumblebees and other pollinators.  Honeybee populations have also suffered, and have been seen dead or dying the morning after.

I believe our ecosystem can recover if immediate measures are taken to adopt a larvicide only policy similar to that of the cities of Denver and Boulder.  This can be done easily and efficiently, and is infinitely more effective than fogging.

It’s shocking to me how widespread the use of chemicals has become in our town, our homes and our gardens.  These herbicides and insecticides end up in our water, in our homes, and in our bodies when used year after year, season after season.  There are much better ways to control weeds and unwanted insects, and I expected more from the Town of Berthoud, since it is called “The Garden Spot of Colorado.”  How can folks garden organically and feel safe about eating the food they grow when the entire town is fogged numerous times each summer?  That is the pattern that has been laid out for us, but we can say no and come up with more creative, practical, effective and ecological solutions.  Praying for wisdom and a new, improved city council!

Blessings to you and your gardens,









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

Delicious & Medicinal Herbs from My Gardens

Growing and consuming herbs and nutritive greens and berries is one of my greatest joys in life.  There are a lot of herbs and berries that LOVE growing here in Colorado, and here are just a few:

One of my favorite, magical, must-have-in-my-garden  herbs is Lemon Verbena.  It’s not a showy herb, although I do love the wispy flowers it sends up.  I grow it for the heavenly, mind-altering, divine fragrance and flavor of the foliage.  Even the stems are incredibly fragrant.  And the flavor is lemony and delectable, especially when infused with black tea and purple rose petals.  So delicious!!  My plants are growing with great abandon this year, so thankfully I should have plenty for tea and pillow-stuffing.

Lemon Verbena growing in my organic garden...Heavenly!

Lemon Verbena growing in my organic garden…Heavenly!

Lemon Verbena has an affinity for the mouth and throat, so it makes an amazing tea for a sore throat or dry scratchy cough.  I have, on occasion, combined it with chamomile and plantain, steeped for 30 minutes and served with honey and coconut milk. Heavenly!

And where would I be without Chamomile?
ChamomileQuartJarJune2016Chamomile infused honey is divine! Also great for topical application if you can resist eating it.  Makes a great canine calming remedy, too.

This strawberry plant is super productive and vigorous!  It’s a Dutch hybrid that I got from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials.  The strawberries are large and delicious!  It’s taking off and sending out runners in all directions.  I have two of the runners rooting into pots so that I can locate more plants in other areas of the garden where they can really spread out.  I see some strawberry sherbet in my future!



So darn delicious!!!

I also acquired a beautiful little Alpine Strawberry from Annie’s.  The fruits are small, and the flavor is quite concentrated.  I collect a small handful of these every day.  Usually I share with my husband.  Sometimes I eat them all at once.   And sometimes the dogs get a taste!  Charming little fruits!


Smell, yet concentrated flavor and nutrition in these Alpine strawberries.

Here we have a gathering of nutritive and medicinal herbs:  Violet, Plantain, Rosemary, Echinacea, Cannabis, Thyme, Stella Plantain and Lemon Balm are pictured here.  We often chop these herbs into a salad.  Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Echinacea and Thyme are often infused into a medicinal honey – sometimes all together.  Always good to have on hand!  And delicious!  Great on pancakes!


One of my favorite herbs is Yerba Mansa (below).  It’s actually quite easy to grow here in Colorado when watered well in it’s first year.  It spreads by sending out long runners.  This is a very powerful antibiotic herb that can be used in place of the endangered Goldenseal.  Harvest a few clumps when the plant is in bloom, and tincture all parts, including the root.


MedHoneyYerba2015Yerba mansa leaves and root.

A beautiful herb for respiratory imbalances is Elecampane, or Inula helenium.  I grew this in Longmont, where it reached 3′ in height and bloomed for several months during late summer.  Little did I know what would happen in my Berthoud garden…


Here it is in Berthoud (below) reaching six feet into the sky!  Who knew??


The Elecampane root is the most commonly used part of the plant – very aromatic.  The root can be dried and powdered, tinctured, or infused into honey.  Another generous and valuable garden beauty!  Give it room!

And then there is Verbena hastata…A beautiful and charming medicinal plant – classified as a neurotrophorestorative – it helps restore and tone the nervous system.   Tincture the flowers and upper leaves to create a strong medicinal tonifying formula.  These can also be dried and infused as a tea.  Both tincture and tea are quite bitter.  Combine with California Poppy, Skullcap and other nervine herbs for a wider-reaching formula to calm and support the nervous system.


The beautiful color, shape and tiny perfection of the Verbena hastata florescences is breathtaking.  The entire plant has a calming energy, don’t you think?

Sunset Hyssop (Agastache rupestris) is a very fragrant plant with edible flowers that can be added to salads or even used to decorate cakes.  An infused honey made with these delightful flowers is tasty and medicinal, good for sore throats and digestive imbalances.


The whole plant is fragrant, smelling something like root beer.  Charming!!!

Rosa rugosa “Purple Pavement” from High Country Roses  is just getting started.  Classified as a zone 3 rose, it grows to 3′ x 3′, repeat blooms, is very fragrant, and produces large red hips in the late summer/fall.  Once you have tasted rose hips, it becomes a priority to grow roses that fruit!


The bees LOVE rugosa roses!


Rugosa roses do not like chemical fertilizers, such as Miracle Grow. Use Age Old Grow Organic plant food!  It’s amazing stuff.  And of course, glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal inoculant.

The lavender spikes below are the flowers of Wood Betony (Stachys betonica), an herb that was highly prized during the Middle Ages.  Considered a magical herb, it was used in protective spells as well as in herbal formulations to treat everything from toothache to “the bites of mad dogs”.   Some herbalists recommend harvesting the leaves before the plant blooms, others harvest during the bloom cycle.  I have dried the leaves and used them as a substitute for black tea.  Quite tasty!


Wood Betony enjoys growing in my Colorado garden.

Bee Balm is another medicinal plant that is also quite pretty and floriferous.


Preparing flowers for an infused honey…. love the color and fragrance.


Echinacea, Valerian Flowers, Lemon Balm, Mallow, Oregano, Prunella, Bee Balm, Chamomile and a California Poppy…gathered to make a medicinal elixir with honey and brandy.  We use this elixir as a  preventative during cold and flu season, taking 1-2 droppers per day.  In the case of cold, sore throat or flu, we up the dosage to 4 droppers throughout the day along with adding lots of fresh garlic to our food!


Coming next year: currants and other fruiting shrubs, plantings of Blue Mist Spirea for the bees, and Russian Sage and Red Yucca because we’re in Colorado and they like it here!

Blessings to you and your gardens,


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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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.


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


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!


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,









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!
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!
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!

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.
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!

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.

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.

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,








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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!


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,



Recommended Reading:

“Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.” Toby Hemenway, 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, Accessed 11 Mar. 2015.

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

Reynolds, Mary. “The Garden Awakening.”, GREEN BOOKS, 1 Oct. 2016, 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!


Sarah, Lily, Frederic and Zandra





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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.”

“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.


“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.

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

“ Andrew Saul’s Natural Health Website.” 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:// “Vitamin C Saves Dying Man – Jeffrey Dach MD.” Jeffrey Dach MD. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

Http:// “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” Welcome To N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

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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.


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 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 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.


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.


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,




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!

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.


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.



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.

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

“ Andrew Saul’s Natural Health Website.” 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:// “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” Welcome To 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!


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.


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,


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