Friday, February 3, 2023

Southwest Scrub - Bath Blend of the Month

The main ingredients in this scrub is blue cornmeal.  Blue cornmeal is an ancient food that can also make a full-body treatment that is rejuvenating.  The Hopi Indians of New Mexico have used blue cornmeal ritually and to improve vitality and make their skin more youthful.  If you cannot find blue cornmeal you can substitute white or yellow.

Blue cornmeal in a white bowl

Southwest Scrub (makes 12 oz.)

  • ½ cup ground blue cornmeal
  • ½ cup grated castile soap
  • ¼ cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp dried calendula petals
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp lavender buds

Place corn meal and soap in a large bowl.  Finely grind the oatmeal and herbs together using a spice grinder of a coffee grinder.  Add this mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stir well. Pour into a clean airtight container.

TO USE: Combine 2 Tablespoons to ¼ cup of mixture with enough water to make a paste and apply to damp face. Gently scrub and rinse off with warm water, then moisturize skin with a natural oil rich body lotion.  If you have sensitive skin you should avoid using this on your face.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sweet Sleep Tea - Tea Blend of the Month

I have had several people asking me about sleep teas and although I have several, I went looking for some recipes from other sources as base for some new ideas.  I found this great recipe from Tina Sams in her book “Living with Lavender.”

Tina experiences the same problem I do which is the inability to stay asleep or getting back to sleep after waking up. She is the one who turned me onto Holy Basil (Tulsi) to help control that. This recipe has a wonderful combination of relaxing herbs and stress reducing herbs that can also help one to sleep.

For more information on Tina and her many herb books and publications, check out her website

Sweet Sleep Herbs

  • 1 Tbls lemon balm
  • 1 Tbls chamomile
  • 1 Tbls passion flower (leaves, flowers and/or stems)
  • 1 tsp hibiscus
  • 1 tsp rose petals
  • 1 tsp lavender buds

Chop the ingredients so they are a consistent size and mix together, storing in a tight sealing jar. 

TO USE: Place 1 tsp in  cup of boiling water and steep 10 to 15 minutes.  Sweeten with a bit of honey if needed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Homemade Body Butter - Bath Blend of the Month

This will make a great gift, as well as a wonderful item for personal use during the drying winter months.  And your work will keep for up to 6 months.  That should last your through the winter. Like with all beauty items, you will have to weigh the ingredients to create the correct ratio. You will also need a hand mixer or an immersion blender.

Homemade Body Butter

  • 6 oz Coconut Oil
  • 2 oz Cocoa Butter
  • 2 oz Essential Oil of Choice
  • Food Coloring (Optional)


Clean your container in warm soapy water and allow to dry. While your container is drying melt both your coconut oil and cocoa butter. You can melt them over a double boiler, or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each burst.

Once the oil and butter have melted, place them in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes. Do not place in freezer. Once the oils and butter are opaque, using a stand or hand mixer or an immersion blender and beat on high for 4-5 minutes.

The mixture should become thick and creamy. If after 5 minutes of beating it doesn’t become thick, refrigerate for 5 more minutes and beat again.

Once the oils become creamy, refrigerate for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, add in your essential oil and food coloring and beat until well incorporated.

Once stiff peaks form, spoon into your clean container and seal. Will last up to 6 months in an airtight container.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Bath Ball Gift Jar

Need something class and special at the last minute.  Try this bath ball mix in a decorative jar. I have shared bath ball recipes in the past, but this recipe is minty and floral, curative, and makes a wonderful gift. Place a collection of bath balls, tied up in seasonal fabric in a quart canning jar, and present them to a teacher, pet sitter, or another person you want to reward with a little me time.

Bath Ball Blend

1 cup mint, dried
1 cup rosemary, dried
1 cup lavender, dried
1 cup rose petals, dried
1 cup comfrey leaves, dried and crumbled
1 cup lemon balm
4-inch squares of fabric

Combine dried herbs. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of mixture into the center of the fabric and tie the ends up with ribbon. Place balls in a glass and tie on instructions

To use: Use one ball per relaxing bath. You can tie the ball under the tap and let the water run through it, or steep the ball in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes and add the liquid to the bathwater.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Holiday Bath Salts - Bath Blend of the Month

We do not make many bath items at Backyard Patch Herbs anymore.  Twenty-five years ago, when I first started I made Dill Dip Mix, Italian Dressing Mix, 6 herbal teas and a Scented Bath Salt recipe.  As I learned more about herbs and experimented with my herbal harvests I crafted an explosion of items for cooking, tea and bath, numbering more than 250 products.

The variety of things you can create for the bath are massive.  The number of recipes I was maintaining and creating became a monster that I could not even display at a show because there was not enough room.  After serious consideration, I decided that those recipes would be retired from my catalog and I would instead share them here monthly instead.  If you have a favorite bath items you need me to make, you can always message me or speak to me at a show and I can make them special, but you will no longer find them on my websites once the current inventory is sold. We reserve the right to bring a few favorites back for the holidays, however.

This month's bath recipes of the month are two that I developed when my General Scented Bath Salts became "boring" to make.  Both of these are great for helping skin and soothing nerves during the winter season.

herbed bath salts in a snowflake decorated tin

Restorative Bath Salts 

The combination of essential oils in the blend is designed to relax and restore, not only the skin and muscles, but the mind as well.  When days get shorter and stresses increase sometime the body just needs a bit of help with rejuvenation, These salts are perfect for that.

  • ½ cup Epsom salts
  • ½ cup sea salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 15 drops frankincense oil
  • 15 drops lavender oil
  • 10 drops bergamot oil
  • 10 drops rose geranium oil

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add essential oils by the drop.  Stir well to combine and remove the essential oils lumps so the scent is evenly distributed into the base salts.  Once they are combined transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid.  

TO USE: Add 4 Tablespoons of salts while filling the tub.  You can also use 2 Tablespoons for a foot soak.

Warming Winter Bath Salts 

The combination of essential oils are scents that are good for men and women.  You can make it into a soaking salt or you can add grapeseed oil and make it into a salt scrub to use in both the shower and bath.  Just add enough grapeseed oil to cover the salts and the scoop out by the handful to use as a scrub.

  •  1 cup Epsom
  •   1 cup baking soda
  •   30 drops sandalwood oil
  •   10 drops sweet orange oil
  •   5 drops ginger oil
  •   3 drops patchouli oil

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add essential oils by the drop.  Stir well to combine and remove the essential oils lumps so the scent is evenly distributed into the base salts.  Once they are combined transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid.  

TO USE: Add 4 Tablespoons of salts while filling the tub.  You can also use 2 Tablespoons for a foot soak.

OPTIONAL: Add grapeseed oil to cover the salts once added to the jar and then scoop out one handful at a time in the bath or shower and use to scrub away the rough patches on elbows, knees and feet. Inhale the scents while you work to help soothe stress. Rinse thoroughly, both your and the shower to avoid falls.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Scented Cleansing Bath Salts - Bath Blend of the Month

This combination of salts and essential oils makes a blend that is uplifting in scent and cleansing in nature.  It is a perfect blend to take the edge off your day and give you a pick-me-up as the days get shorter.

Scented Bath Salts – a cleansing formula 

  • 1/3 cup Epsom salts
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 15 to 20 drops of essential oils (total)
    •   6 drops lavender essential oil
    •   6 drops grapefruit essential oil
    •   6 drops juniper essential oil

Combine the salts together in a bowl and mix thoroughly, working out any lumps.  Add the essential oils by drop, mixing after each addition to make sure they are thoroughly spread throughout the salts.  Place in a tightly lidded jar for storage.

To Use: add 1 to 2 Tbls to running bath water. Soak and Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Perennials Herbs to add to your landscape this Fall

Here are three Perennial herbs that you can plant in your fall garden so you can enjoy the flowers and eating them next year.

Edible flowers are a great addition to the landscape.  They have long-lasting flowers that not only add to the look of the garden space, but also add great flavors colors, and scents to your food dishes.  These three are easy to grow and simple to use. 

Perennials are a great plant to add to the garden at the end of the season so they can establish over winter and emerge for your enjoyment in Spring.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

I recommend Common Chives, rather than Garlic chives.  Common Chives flower first thing in the spring when few other things are flowering and the flowers can be used a number of ways.  I love to make herbal vinegar with my chive blossoms.  It is a lovely pink color with the gentlest flavor of onion,  You can also crumble the flowers into a salad or to flavor oil dipping sauces. Later when the flowers are finished you can sprinkle the chopped leaves sprinkled over baked potatoes, salads or pizza.

Add them to your landscape where you want a change in texture as the thin blade-like leaves will fountain out as the plant gets older.

Chives are great in vinegar and salads as an edible flower and you can find several recipes on this blog.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Bee balm is a wonderful perennial for drawing pollinators into your garden, but did you know it is an edible ornamental? Both the leaves and flowers are edible and have a strong, oregano-like flavor. You might also detect notes of mint, as this perennial is in the mint family. Don’t let the fact that they are in the mint family fool you—these are non-running, clump-forming, petite perennials for the front of the border or herb garden.

Another common name for bee balm is bergamot, as an herbal tea is is a great substitute for the bergamot oil in black tea that flavors Earl Grey.   The leaves or flowers of Monarda didyma can also be used fresh, chopped finely like you would use fresh oregano to flavor pasta dishes, in salad dressings or on your homemade pizza.

To use Bee Balm in recipes, check out these posts.

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Like bee balm, lavender is another plant we tend to think of mostly as an ornamental flowering perennial rather than an edible herb. You’ll find a number of different species at the garden center, but English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, is the one often used in recipes and garden. It tastes much like it smells—sweet and floral-like. Its fresh or dried flowers can be used in marinades and cooking blends, sprinkled over ice cream, steeped in lemonade or cocktails, or used to flavor shortbread cookies and other baked goods.

The plant must be well mulched in winter to come back the following year, but the tall flower spikes with purple buds and flowers can bloom from June to September. When not blocking it has a needle-shape leaf in a silver-gray color that adds a bit of scent and texture to your garden landscape.

So try out these perennials and plant them now in the fall and enjoy them next year to their fullest and most tasty.

Check out recipes with this herb here on the blog.
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