N as in Nepeta

N as in Nepeta. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Nepeta

Species: Nepeta x faassenii

Common names: garden catmint and Faassen’s catnip Swedish name: kantnepeta

 

Nepeta is a genus with about 250 species of flowering plants commonly known as catmints. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has also naturalized in North America. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. Nepeta plants are usually aromatic in foliage and flowers. The name catmint or catnip the plants got because of the effect some members of this group have on house cats. The nepetalactone contained in some Nepeta species binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. This is why cat toys often have dried catnip inside. Some catmint species are used in herbal medicine for their mild sedative effect on humans. Nepeta attracts pollinators, such as honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Making them suitable for wildlife gardens.

Nepeta x faassenii is a hybrid the parent species are Nepeta racemosa and Nepeta nepetella. The seeds are sterile so the plant is not an invasive species, unlike some other Nepeta species.

N as in Nepeta. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Nepeta x faassenii. Photo: jmb_craftypickle ©

Description: Nepeta x faassenii is a bushy perennial forming a cluster of ascending stems bearing grey-green leaves and terminal whorls of light violet-blue flowers in summer and early autumn. Nepeta x faassenii is cultivated for its attractive aromatic foliage and masses of blue flowers, as groundcover, border edging, or in pots or rock gardens. It is drought tolerant, and can be deer resistant. Numerous cultivars are available in the trade. Some varieties have white or pink flowers. My favorite, which I often use, is ‘Walker´s Low’.

How to grow: Nepeta x faassenii prefers a well-drained chalky soil in full sun. It tolerates partial shade but have a tendency to lose its steadiness. It will grow in nutrient-poor and dry soils. Continued blooming is encouraged by deadheading spent flowers. Trim after flowering to keep plants compact and to encourage a second flowering. Nepeta x faassenii is easy to maintain and is hardy. It is lovely as a border/edging plant especially against hard materials, like paths and cliffs. Propagation by division or cuttings.

 

Rock and gravel gardens

When we think of a garden or garden bed most of us picture something like these:

N as in Nepeta. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Garden. N as in Nepeta. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there are many ways a garden can look like or a garden bed can be built. In my previous post K for Kolkwitzia I wrote about garden design and how to arrange a garden bed. I guess some of you assumed I only meant gardens like the above. But there are a great variety among gardens. One of my favorite garden styles is a natural, gravel and rock garden. These are useful in harsh, dry or windy environments with little rainfall. They may look something like these:

Rock Garden. N as in Nepeta. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Gravel Garden. N as in Nepeta. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

A Swedish rock garden in the archipelago. Photo: Torsten Wallin

A Swedish rock garden in the archipelago. Photo: Torsten Wallin


© The photo is licensed by Creative Commons and some rights are reserved. License Attribution 2.0

M as in Matteuccia

M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Onocleaceae

Genus: Matteuccia

Species: Matteuccia struthiopteris

Common names: ostrich fern, fiddlehead ferns or shuttlecock fern
Swedish name: strutbräken

Matteuccia struthiopteris is said to be the only species in the genus Matteuccia. Depending on how it is classified some include M. orientalis and M. intermedia (both Asian species). The name struthiopteris is derived from the shape of the sterile fronds where struthio meaning ostrich and pterion meaning wing. The ostrich fern is a popular ornamental plant in gardens. The sprouts are edible and picked all over Japan (where it is called kogomi). The immature fronds, called fiddleheads, are also used as a cooked vegetable.

M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Matteuccia struthiopteris. Photo: Ryan Somma ©

Description: Matteuccia struthiopteris is a perennial, deciduous and robust fern with creeping rhizomes. The bright green fronds (leaves) are sterile instead its sporangia is placed on stolons, brownish fertile fronds. The plant forms colonies of erect rosettes to 1.5m in height with the green fronds surrounding the fertile fronds. The sporangia and stolons are developed in autumn, staying erect over the winter and release the spores in early spring. This feature gives it a decoration value in winter. Matteuccia struthiopteris is otherwise most beautiful in spring when the large, pale green, fronds start to unfurl and filter the sunlight. Later the green fronds droop and disappear which should be taken into account. It is useful for very wet sites.

How to grow: Matteuccia struthiopteris prefers moist and shade to half shade. It needs to be sheltered to remain its beauty over the season. It is a great woodland plant and a nice ground cover under shrubs or trees. Remove dead fronds in early spring. Propagate by sowing spores as soon as ripe or by division in spring. Low maintenance.

Seasonal value – beauty all year

When we are to purchase new plants we often start to look in catalogs, garden books or browse for plants online. Most plants are just represented with a picture of the flowers leaving foliage, buds or other values behind. We need to learn to study all the characteristics and take every season into consideration. I will give you some examples and then I challenge you to look for more plants with seasonal value. Look at different bark/stems, twigs, buds, seed pods, stolons, grass (grains), bloom and foliage.

M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Chestnut bud

M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Magnolia bud

Himalayan birch stem/bark. M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Himalayan birch stem/bark.

Cherry bark. M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Cherry stem/bark.

Matteuccia stolon. M as in Matteuccia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Ostrich fern stolons


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L as in Lavandula

Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Lamiaceae

Genus:  Lavandula

Species: Lavandula augustifolia

Common names: Lavender, common lavender, Old English Lavender Swedish name: lavendel, äkta lavendel

 

Lavandula is a genus of 39 known species of flowering plants, including annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial plants, shrub-like perennials, subshrubs and shrubs. It is found in a belt from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, via the Mediterranean and southwest Asia to southeast India. In temperate climates Lavandula is widely used as ornamental plants in gardens and landscapes, as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. Commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula augustifolia, is often referred to as lavender. There is a color named for the shade of the flowers of the common lavender. Commercially the plant is grown mainly for the production of essential oil.

L as in Lavendula. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Lavandula augustifolia.

Description:. Lavandula angustifolia is a perennial, grey-green subshrub with blue-purple flowers and small, thin silvery leaves. It has a characteristic aromatic fragrance. Lavender has many varieties and comes with flowers of different shades of blue, pink and white. Some common varieties are ‘Hidcote Blue’ (blue-purple), ‘Edelweiss’ (white), ‘Joan Davis’ (dark pink), ‘Martha Roderick’ (light blue). Lavender attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

How to grow: Lavandula angustifolia is a Mediterranean plant and flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. It needs little or no fertilizer which also keeps the fragrance at its best. Good air circulation is required since it may root rot if it gets to moist. Lavender may be pruned and trimmed. My recommendation is to cut it down quite hard every two years to avoid a scrappy look. It is suitable as a low hedge, edging or border plant. And belongs in every herbal and spice garden.

 

Natural beauty products

Lavandula angustifolia yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. The oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The extracts of lavender are also used as fragrances for bath products and in aromatherapy. Bunches of lavender may repel insects. It was and still is used in linen cupboards to prevent moths. It is a nice craft to make small lavender cushions and put them in the closet to spread a pleasant scent.

Lavandula angustifolia is also known as a medical herb. To put lavender buds and flowers in your pillow is said to aid sleep and relaxation. An infusion of flower heads added to a cup of boiling water is used to soothe and relax at bedtime.

L as in Lavendula. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

I love the scent of lavender both in the garden and in my homemade natural beauty products. So I thought I would share a few recipes with you. Some I have tried others are on my to-do list.

 


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Creative K Kids

K as in Kolkwitzia

K as in Kolkwitzia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Caprifoliaceae

Genus: Kolkwitzia

Species: Kolkwitzia amabilis

Common names: beauty bush Swedish name: paradisbuske

 

The Kolkwitzia genus contains just one shrub species from one area in China. It is closely related to Weigela. The Latin amabilis means “lovely”. It is very rare and threatened in the wild. Kolkwitzia amabilis has an horticultural value and is popular to use in gardens. While in blossom it really deserves its common name beauty bush.

K as in Kolkwitzia. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Kolkwitzia amabilis. Photo: Martin Nikolaj Christensen ©

Description: Kolkwitzia amabilis is wide and tall deciduous shrub, with light brown flaky bark and graceful arching branches. It is usually as wide as it is tall. The plant blooms in late spring-summer. The bell-shaped flowers are light to dark pink with a yellow throat. They are growing in pairs, as with all Caprifoliaceae. The flowers form showy, numerous sprays giving the shrub a magnificent blossom. Dark-green foliage adds appeal when not in bloom. Its fruit is a hairy, ovoid capsule almost looking like a grilled chicken. The shrub has a nice fruity scent. There is a hybrid of Kolkwitzia amabilis named ‘Pink Cloud’. A variety with compact and lower growth but still as beautiful.

How to grow: It prefers a fertile, well-drained soil. Grows best in sun to half shade. Propagation is by cuttings. It needs to be pruned to avoid a scrappy look. Remove damaged, dead and weak wood by cutting the twig to the ground to encourage new growth and a healthy appearance. Once in a while the shrub needs a renewal. Pick out a few thick, old twigs and cut them to the ground to get a more airy and loose base. Overall it requires low maintenance.

Garden design part I – how to arrange a flower bed

I believe in creativity and a personal style. I am not a great fan of any boundaries. Garden design is an art form and should express the talent of the gardener or creator. But there are always the natural restrains and plants have different requirements. So knowledge and experience is a great access and necessary to succeed at least in a long-term. To create a garden bed is much like being a composer writing a symphony. There are some things to take into account when arranging a garden bed:

  1. The surroundings – look around what kind of houses or buildings and other gardens is present in the area, does the garden have a history, characteristic of the period the house and garden was built
  2. The location – what preconditions do you have taken garden zone, microclimate, soil, sun/shade into account
  3. The purpose – for what are you going to use the area, next to the garden bed, playground, relax, social (like a dinner place), edible (food production), entrance/passing by
  4. The flow – are there other constructions, natural lines or a beautiful view to take into consideration. From where will you see the garden bed
  5. Maintenance level – how much work/how much time do you want to spend
  6. Seasonal value – when will you use the garden, which time of the year will you see the garden bed most. For example a home garden, a summer-house and a school have different seasonal needs regarding bloom, fruit and winter decoration.

I will get back to the choice of plants later. Which will be the next step after you sorted out the questions above.

 


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I as in Impatiens

I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Balsaminaceae

Genus: Impatiens

Species: Impatiens hawkeri

Common names: New Guinea impatiens Swedish name: lyckliga lotta

 

Impatiens is a large genus of about 850 to 1000 species of flowering plants, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and the tropics. Some have a special dispersal mechanism where the mature seed capsules burst in an explosive way. The seeds are sent up to several meters away. The name Impatiens is derived from this mechanism since it is triggered when the capsules are touched. All Impatiens taste bitter and seem to be slightly toxic upon ingestion, causing symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Impatiens are popular to use in garden beds and containers. Hybrids of busy lizzie (Impatiens walleriana) and New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), have commercial importance as garden plants. Impatiens hawkeri was first collected in the Territory of Papua in 1884 and soon became popular as a greenhouse plant. The flowers are visited by bumblebees so it may be useful in a wildlife garden.

I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Impatiens hawkeri. Photo: Forest and Kim Starr ©

Description: To most of you busy lizzie probably is more familiar than the New Guinea impatiens. So why am I not talking about it instead? During recent years buzy lizzie have been affected by a pest. It is a kind of mildew spreading in wet and rainy conditions causing the plants to wither leaving only a green soup. It seems like the New Guinea impatiens is resistant to this pest. That is why I use it instead. Impatiens hawkeri consists of plants with a great variety of flower and leaf colors sold in nurseries. Many are beautiful with dark ornamental foliage and vibrant flower colors, bright orange or pink.

How to grow: Impatiens hawkeri is both an indoor and an outdoor plant. It prefers light or partial shade, sometimes it is said to suit in dense shade. My experience is that it needs a few hours of sun/light to thrive. But keep it shaded from hot, direct sun in summer. It needs a moist but well draining soil and is a bit fussy about water. It does not like the soil to dry completely. So keep the soil evenly moist, but not over watered. Remember that flowering plants are thirsty, and they dry out quickly in containers. Propagation is by stem tip cuttings or by seed.  Many hybrids do not set seed or the flowers can be sterile. Some plants will not come true from seed.

Pest control

I am a green gardener. I think that environmental and nature care is part of being a gardener. I like to enjoy a living, thriving garden where wildlife is welcome. But of course I want my ornamental plants and veggies to be left alone. Not being affected by any pests or diseases. So how do I keep my green treasures safe? And if disaster strikes what do I do?

Wildlife garden. I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

There are a couple of ground rules to keep in mind

  1. Plant rotation – never plant the same species at the same spot year after year. Make a rotation scheme for the garden bed. This is of great importance in a veggie garden.
  2. Polycultures – diversity is crucial do not be too focused on one species learn to love variety and let wildflowers have a place in your garden
  3. The right plant in the right place – adapt to nature rather than work against it. Learn more about your plants. Just by looking on them you will understand how it works. Large thin leaves with no hair – commonly shade plants. Grey/silvery, hairy leaves or fleshy, waxy succulent leaves – commonly sun lovers. These are just a few features to look for.
  4. Garden patrol – take a daily stroll in the garden look at your plants. Any signs of something being wrong? Do they need water? How about weeds – time to make an effort?
  5. Correct composting – never put affected plant material or soil in your compost. Put them in the garbage or burn them. Some diseases are worse than others.
  6. The right care – plants are living and need proper care. They can not pull up their roots and move to get what they need. It is your job and responsibility.
Ladybug. Wildlife garden. I as in Impatiens.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Ladybug – the gardener´s friend.

And if a pest or disease get its grip anyway

  • Remove affected parts
  • Identify the pest and read about it
  • Use biological pest control – use predators or parasites preying on the pest to eliminate it. For example nematode against fungus gnats (Bardysia spp.)
  • Use mechanical pest control – simply remove the pest by hand. Pick larvae, squeeze lice
  • Use chemical pest control – make a mix of water, soap and alcohol to spray on your plants – works against lice among other things. Baking soda mixed with water may work on mildew. These are the only chemicals I use. Conventional pesticides and herbicides – never!

And if you do not manage to control it? Well, that is life and a part of gardening.

 


 

© The photo is licensed by Creative Commons and some rights are reserved. License Attribution 2.0

 

H as in Hydrangea

H as in Hydrangea.  Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Hydrangeaceae

Genus: Hydrangea

Species: Hydrangea petiolaris (syn. Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)

Common names: climbing hydrangea Swedish name: klätterhortensia

 

Hydrangea is a genus of 70-75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia and the Americas. Most common form are shrubs but some are small trees or lianas climbing up trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen. Cultivated species are all deciduous.  Several Hydrangea spieces are old plants – 50 million year old fossils of seeds have been found in the western US. Hydrangea petiolaris is native in Japan, Korea and Sakhalin. Where it grows up trees and rock faces, climbing with small aerial roots on the stems.

H as in Hydrangea. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Hydrangea petiolaris. Photo: Rachel James ©

Description: Hydrangea petiolaris is a deciduous woody climbing vine plant. With flat white flower heads. The center core of subdued, fertile flowers is surrounded by outer rings of showy, sterile flowers. The fruit is a dry urn-shaped capsule containing several small winged seeds. It is a plant with year-round interest. Beautiful foliage and blossom. The leaves turn yellow in the autumn. The dried flowers stay on the plant during the winter giving it a decorative value. Flowers can be used in arrangements both fresh and dried. Hydrangea petiolaris attracts bees, butterflies and birds.

How to grow: Hydrangea petiolaris is a useful low-maintenance climber for a shady garden area for example a north wall. It is at its best where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade, but it works well in dense shade. If grown with consistently moist soils it can tolerate the full sun. Best grown in rich, fertile, moist but well-drained soils. It usually is used climbing on fences, walls or trellis but can also be used as a ground cover. Slow to establish, but quite vigorous thereafter. Propagate by seeds or stem cuttings. Pruning is not required but possible.

Climbing plants

Plants may have different organs or tools for climbing. It is interesting to look at the climbing parts and as a gardener or house owner it is good to know since some plants can be destructive. Therefore not recommended to grown on a wall of a house or a valuable structure. Some will need more support than others to grow appropriate. There are two main groups of climbing plants true climbers and trellis plants. The big difference is that true climbers have the capacity to climb with out support by attaching to the surface. Whereas trellis plants need constant support to climb otherwise they will fall to the ground or at least start to hang down.

It is the true climbers you may have to be careful growing against your house. Depending on the walls condition and material. The trellis plants do no harm but make sure they get enough water. Do plant them at least half a meter from the house.

 


© The photo is licensed by Creative Commons and some rights are reserved. License Attribution 2.0

G as in Geranium

G as in Geranium. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Family: Geraniaceae

Genus: Geranium

Species: Geranium sp.

Common names: cranesbill Swedish name: näva

 

Geranium is a genus of about 430 species of flowering annual, biennial, and perennial plants. They are found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, but mostly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region. In Sweden for example there are 14 species of wild growing Geranium. The common name cranesbill derives from the beak-like appearance of the fruit capsule of some of the species. The Geranium genus has a distinctive mechanism for seed dispersal. Where the fruit capsule springs open when ripe and casts the seeds some distance.

There are many cultivated species of Geranium most are hardy perennials treasured for their attractive flowers and foliage. Several hybrids have been awarded, ‘Rozanne’ is one of them.

Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Geranium sp.

Description: The long, palmately cleft leaves are broadly circular in form. The flowers have five petals and are coloured white, pink, purple or blue, often with distinctive veining. Some species have spreading rhizomes. Among those there are two cultivars I often use for their ground covering function along with rich blossom. Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘St Ola’ and Geranium macrorrhizum. Both are lovely to use with other perennials as well as with shrubs and trees.

How to grow: Geraniums will grow in any soil as long as it is not waterlogged. The majority need only reasonably fertile and moist soil. A few prefer gritty, well-drained soil. They are normally grown in part shade to full sun. But some works even in shade therefore suitable for woodlands and as ground cover under shrubs. Propagation is by cuttings in summer, by seed, or by division in autumn or spring.

Spieces dependent of forest fires to survive and thrive

The great forest fire in Tyresta National Park, Sweden.

In August 1999 ten per cent of the national park and nature reserve burnt down. For about two weeks fire fighters tried to extinguished the fire before getting it under control. The extremely hot and dry conditions contributed to the extent of the fire and made it very difficult to put out.

The fire in Tyresta National Park was a tragedy in many ways. The park is known as a valuable area of unspoilt natural beauty. It is uncommon with such an old forest so close to a large city, Stockholm. Many plant and animal species dependent on an unharmed habitat were threatened and lost. At the same time, fires are a natural part of the life circle in primeval forests and from an ecological point of view not a disaster. Fire may start a natural regeneration of the forest.

Controlled burning. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

The natural chaos in the aftermath of a fire is beneficial for many species. Geranium lanuginosum and Geranium bohemicum are two floral species that depends on fire for their seeds to germinate. They have to be heated to 50-100 °C. Their seeds may lie latent in the soil surviving for a long time (in some parts of Tyresta for 200 years). In today’s society we are extinguishing the forest fires very fast which leads to only small areas of forests get burnt yearly. Due to this many fire dependent species are endangered or close to extinction. Svedjebruk, controlled slash-and-burn, is necessary to save and keep these spieces alive.

Bokashi Composting

It is time to summon this weeks #CTWW Challenge – Compost. The theme during April is 2015 Year of the Soil. Read more about the theme and challenge on Reduce Footprints.

I wrote a short post about different compost methods earlier – read it in the post Greener Gardening Tools in the section called Compostation systems. Since I live in an apartment a compost can be hard to manage. I thought of a worm compost but realized it would take up too much space. And the poor worms would not be able to leave the bin. So I got the advice of a friend of mine to try Bokashi.

Bokashi Composting | My Green Nook

In a Bokashi the compostation is driven by microbes which you add in form of a granulate. The process is called fermentation and requires an anaerobic environment (non-oxygen process). I have started it up and will hopefully receive a terrific soil in June. I compost kitchen scraps like peels and other vegetable based matter in a bucket with an airtight lid. In a real Bokashi bucket there is a tap at the bottom where you get a concentrated nutritious fluid. After dilution you can use it to water your flowers with (both indoors and outdoors). When the bucket is filled (which in my case went very fast) the compost should rest in a couple of weeks letting the scrap get fermented. Then you mix the Bokashi with soil and keep it warm for about three weeks to end the process. In this stage the process is aerobic (needs oxygen) so do not cover the soil. Finally you get a very nice soil to plant your flowers or grow your veggies in. I will keep you updated.

F as in Filipendula

F as in Filipendula. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Filipendula

Species: Filipendula ulmaria

Common names: meadow-sweet, mead wort Swedish name: älggräs, älgört

The Filipendula genus includes 12 species of perennial herbaceous flowering plants native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Filipendula ulmaria is a well-known herbal and medicinal plant. The flowers were commonly used in mead, wine, cordial and herbal remedies. They can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor. It has many medicinal properties. Dried, the flowers are used in potpourri. The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavour, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers. In history it was used as a strewing herb in festive times. The herb was then strewn on the floors to give the rooms a pleasant aroma. The content of salicylates (formally acetylsalicylic acid) and tannins made it a valuable medicinal herb. Treating a wide variety of health conditions and illnesses. The name aspirin is derived from the old name of Filipendula ulmariaSpiraea ulmaria – which gave rise to the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A common group of painkillers.

F as in Filipendula. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Filipendula ulmaria. Photo: John Johnston ©

Description: Filipendula ulmaria is a tall, grand plant with  delicate, graceful, creamy-white flowers clustered close together at the top. It is having a very strong, sweet scent reminding of honey and almond. A more common species used in gardens are Filipendula rubra (Queen-of-the-prairie).

How to grow: Filipendula ulmaria likes moist and may be suitable near a pond or a shady marshy area of the garden. A woodland edge may also work. Native it thrives in ditches along fields and in forest meadows. Seeds can be purchased from well sorted seed companies often specialized on herbal and medicinal plants.

Recipe:

  • Meadow-sweet cordial make your own summer drink (non alcoholic), the recipe is like the one of elderflower cordial
  • Herbal tea (infusion) a cup of well-doing tea when you caught a cold or have a headache¹

¹ Disclaimer: Be careful when using herbal remedies since the effects may be uncertain. Since meadow-sweet contains salicylates it can affect the stomach negatively especially in high concentrations. I don´t recommend herbal medicine as a substitute for modern medicine in any way. Always consult the professional health care.

© The photo is licensed by Creative Commons and some rights are reserved. License Attribution 2.0

 

E as in Eryngium

E as in Eryngium. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Eryngium

Species: Eryngium planum

Common names: sea holly Swedish name: rysk martorn

 

Eryngium is a genus of flowering plants including about 250 species. The different spieces are distributed almost worldwide wherever their growing conditions are met. The majority are grassland plants but some belongs in rocky or coastal areas. The Eryngium genus contains both annuals and perennials. Several species of Eryngium have been used as food and medicine. The Native American people used many of them for varied purposes. Eryngium yields an essential oil and extracts have anti-inflammatory properties. The roots have been used as vegetables or sweetmeats. Young shoots and leaves are sometimes used like asparagus.

Eryngium planum is native in central and southeastern Europe as well as central Asia. The essential oils and bioactive compounds of it are used in European folk medicine as diuretic, stimulant, and appetizer. Ethanolic extracts of shoots and roots show a significant antifungal and moderate antibacterial activity.

E as in Eryngium. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Eryngium sp.

Description: Eryngium planum is a herbaceous perennial thistle with branched silvery-blue stems, and numerous small blue conical flower heads surrounded by spiky bracts in summer. It is very beautiful to use in flower arrangements, fresh or dried (eternal). It is also attractive to use in garden beds, since it is a very hardy species adding superb color. The shimmering blue being a nice contrast to yellow or gold neighbours. Attracts butterflies.

How to grow: Eryngium planum is easy to divide in early spring. It requires low maintenance and is easy to take care of. Tolerant of hot, dry sites, and soils high in salts which makes it suitable in coastal gardens and along roads which may be salted during winter time.

Herbal and medicinal plants: traditional and folk medicine has laid the ground for many modern medicines produced today. Without the research and knowledge gained in history modern medicine would have looked very different. If it even had existed. Nature is still a source of new remedies and studies are done on newly discovered plants. To be able to make new medicines for modern diseases. I think it is a very interesting history to take part of so I thought I would share this link with you:

Sadly the use of traditional medicine has led to extinction or alarming threats of several spieces. Since harvesting and collecting have been to intensive. Meanwhile modern medicine have leaked out in our water systems via the sewers causing disturbances in the reproduction of aquatic species among other things. Yet again we have sustainability issues to tackle to ensure a healthy planet.