Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Cleaning using essential oils

I have done many posts on spring cleaning, so please use the search tool to find them.  I have a number of recipes and tips I have shared before.  However, this Spring I am doing a program at the Wauconda Area Public Library on Green Cleaning, entitled "Spring Cleaning with Herbs" and I thought I would share a couple of the recipes I am experimenting with for the program. 

If you are interested in the program being held April 4 at 7 PM, here is a link to the library: Wauconda Area Library Events Calendar

Herbal Antibacterial Disinfectant
Ideal in kitchens and bathrooms and can be stored indefinitely.

2 Tbls. borax
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cups hot water
20 drops tea tree oil

Combine the borax and lemon juice with water in a spray bottle.  Cap and shake well to dissolve the minerals.  Add the tea tree oil and shake again to disperse the oil.  Use as you would any commercial all-purpose cleaner.

Creamy Non-abrasive Cleaner
Perfect for acrylic and fiberglass surfaces, this smooth cleanser won’t scratch tubs, stovetops or laminate counter tops.

¼ cup borax
Liquid vegetable oil based liquid soap (castile soap)
½ tsp lemon essential oil

Combine borax with just enough liquid soap to create a thick paste.  Add essential oil and blend well.  To use, scoop a small amount of cleanser onto a damp sponge.  Scrub surface and rinse well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cleavers - Herb of the Week

)updated May 2017)

March 28 is National Weed Day (it might be weeding day, but it is March so I am not weeding anything yet!), so I decided to make the herb of the week a plant you would not grow but may harvest and use as it grows wild and is considered by many to be a weed.

I remember having a lot of fun with cleavers or “velcro weed” as a child.  This wonderful sticky, annual plant often grows wild and prolifically against fences, in hedgerows, crop fields and beneath trees.  we used to play in the farm field next door grabbing it and throwing it at each other.  My sister would make messages on my back.  Usually "Bite me!"  Back then I was not into the medical properties of anything, let along a playful weed, but recently I came across information on Urban Herbology  that details its use as a as a cleansing herb.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) - Herb of the Week

Cleavers (Galium aprine)
The pinnate-shape leaves of Galium aparine grow in whorls of 4 to 8 around its stem, which can get up to 6 feet long.  The plant’s sticky nature comes from tiny hooked hairs growing out from the leaves and ridges of the stems.  The clever cleaver uses the  sticky hairs to grow upward as it can cling to other plants, as well as fences and trees.  The seeds set in small sticky hairy burrs that will also cling to your clothing, aiding in seed dispersal. These seeds can lay dormant for up to 7 years, meaning the plant is generally unaffected by drought or other unsavory conditions.

Cleavers must spread seed as it is an annual, dying out entirely during winter, to spring anew each Spring  Native to the grassy savanna along river banks in Canada, the eastern half of the U.S., and along the Pacific Coast. It does produce a taproot, so can be hard to eradicate during the growing season.  The stem is slender, weak and square. Small, white or greenish-white flowers appear from May to September. The plant exudes a strong, honey-like odor, but actually has a bitter flavor.  

The herb is said to promotes lymphatic flow, to be cooling, soothing and cleansing. It is best harvested when young and prolific.  Depending on your weather this can be as easy as March, but it becomes most abundant after the first week of summer.  It can be added to salads, though the hairs give an interesting effect, or cooked in a little water as a leaf vegetable. 
If gathering it for making a medicinal tincture, you should strive to collect the plant in July, for a spring tonic gather as easily in the year as you can when shoots are still young.

Because it grows wild, Native Americans of the Eastern U.S and Midwest used it as a medicine for the treatment of gonorrhea.
Sweet Woodruff

PLEASE NOTE: As ever, when harvesting from the wild you should use a good field guide, be aware of look-a-like plants.  I think the most likely plant to be confused with Cleavers (Galium aparine)  is Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum).  In the same family they have a similar whorl of leaves and small white flowers that appear in May, but Sweet Woodruff has smooth slightly darker leaves that are a bit more pointed.  They also prefer a more shady area to grow in.  Sweet Woodruff is a helpful herb for insect and moth repellents, but unlike 
Cleavers it contains substances which can be poisonous in very large doses. Sweet Woodruff is also a perennial that will stay close to the same area year after year, while annual Cleavers get spread around because of the sticky stems and seeds.

Cleavers is often used by herbalists for cystitis, swollen glands, swollen breasts, PMS, mild lymphedema, prostatitis and as a diuretic for a general spring clean.  Susun Weed reports that it can also be helpful in reducing allergic reactions.  Due to it’s gentle diuretic cleansing action, Galium aparine often also helps to ease some skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema and gout.

Historically cleavers are seen as a wonderful cleansing remedy, clearing toxins from the system and reducing heat and inflammation. Cleavers has a diuretic action, aiding elimination of wastes, and also acts to enhance the lymphatic system, promoting lymphatic drainage of toxins and wastes so that they can be excreted via the urinary system. These actions combine to make cleavers  excellent for fluid retention, skin problems,. Including eczema, psoriasis, acne, boils, abscesses, urinary infections. urinary stones and gravel, arthritis and gout. Cleavers can be used for lymphatic problems, such as lymphatic congestion and swollen lymph glands, congestion of the breasts, and is said to have anti-tumor activity, particularly when in the skin or breasts, and the lymphatic system.

Cleavers makes an excellent facial wash as it tightens the skin. For those with the customary wrinkles and sags that come with age, making a wash with this herb might be something to consider (see below.)

Cleavers cools heat and inflammation in the body, seen in conditions such as cystitis, arthritis, inflammatory skin problems and digestive problems. Its bitter properties stimulate liver function and enhance digestion and absorption. A cooling drink made of cleavers was traditionally given every spring to "clear the blood".

The fresh leaves can be applied to cuts or wounds to check bleeding and speed healing. The juice or an infusion can be used to bathe varicose ulcers, or the fresh leaves can be made into a poultice. You can also blanch the fresh leaves and add to soups or as a substitute for spinach in quiche or similar recipes.

I thought about picking some to put on the sunburn I got out bike riding in Wisconsin this past weekend, where I took this picture.  But I decided to gather it at home instead.

Cleavers tea (version 1)3 heaped tablespoons of dried or fresh herb
2 cups boiling water

Allow to stand for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  When cool take mouthful doses throughout the day.

Cleavers tea (version 2)
1 tsp cleavers
1 tsp. uva ursi
1 cup boiling water

Place herbs in water and allow to steep for thirty minutes then drain. Add honey to sweeten if the tea is too bitter.

Tincture of Cleavers2 cups 100 proof vodka or Everclear4 to 5 feet of Cleaver plant material

Harvest the top two thirds of plant when in flower or setting seed (July is a great time.) Crush some of the plant in mortar and pestle with a bit of vodka, then place in a glass jar and cover with more alcohol.  Allow to steep for 5 to 6 weeks, remembering to shake daily.

UPDATE: For details on making a tincture, see my post from March 2017

To use: According to Urban Herbology you can take a dose of 0.5ml – 1ml in a glass of water a few times daily when called for.

Cleavers Facial Wash 
This wash will help to tighten up loose skin folds. Gradual results should become evident within 2 weeks. You should begin to see a brightening and smoothing of skin making it look less tired.

1 Quart water
3 1/2 Tbls. Dried cleavers

Bring quart of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add dried cleavers. Cover and steep for 40 min. 

To Use: Soak a wash cloth or small terrycloth hand in the chilled tea, then wash face and neck or apply as a compress over face for up to 10 minutes several times a day.

UPDATE: Sources sited in this article include:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chives - Herb of the Week

twisted stems of unicorn chives
Chives are the smallest species of the edible onions. A perennial plant, they are native to Europe, Asia and North America. Allium schoenoprasum is the only species of Allium native to both the New and the Old World.  Chives are the smallest of the onion family and there are a few types to choose from. I found a plant called Unicorn Chives this Spring at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and just loved the look of the twisted leaves. (Check out Ted’s Green House for these.)  There are also Garlic Chives and other varieties, but for today we are going to discuss the standard oniony culinary chives.

Allium schoenoprasum or Chives is today’s Herb of the Week.
(I seem to have lost the ability to use a calendar, so I am sorry that the herb of the week has not been on Wednesday for a bit, we have corrected the problem!)

Its English name, chive, derives from the French word cive, from cepa, the Latin word for onion. The plant belongs to the same family as onions, leeks, and garlic. Although they are native to Asia and Eastern Europe, by the sixteenth century chives were common plants in herb gardens throughout Europe. Chives are hardy, draught tolerant, perennials, eight to twenty inches tall, that grow in clumps from underground bulbs. The leaves are round and hollow, similar to onions, but smaller in diameter. In early spring, chives produce large round flower heads consisting of purple to pink flowers.

Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages, although their usage dates back to 5000 years ago. They were sometimes referred to as "rush leeks" (from the Greek schoinos meaning rush and prason meaning leek). The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They believed that eating chives could increase blood pressure and act as a diuretic.  Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling. It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil.

In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora (Försök til en flora), Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches Retzius also describes how farmers would plant chives between the rocks making up the borders of their flowerbeds, to keep the plants free from pests (such as Japanese beetles). The growing plant repels unwanted insect life, and the juice of the leaves can be used for the same purpose, as well as fighting fungal infections, mildew and scab. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.

Chives are one of the "finesherbes" of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil and parsley.  Its flowers are attractive to bees, which are important for gardens with an abundance of plants in need of pollination.  All around an easy plant to grow with a wonderful variety of uses.
You can eat every part of the chive plant. The edible flowers add color to the salad bowl or other garnish, the grass-like leaves can be cut up and added to cooked potatoes, salads, sauces and even sandwiches, and the bulb can be used as a mild onion.

Although the flower stalk is edible, once the flower has been produced, there is very little taste or nutrients left in the stalk. Discard the flower stalks, and use the flowers to make a perfect oniony vinegar.

To Grow
Chives are hardy perennial plants that thrive in well drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun.

Chives are also easily propagated by division and can be easily dug up and divided when they get too large.  Plus, the attractive purple flowers scatter their seeds, so you likely see numerous chive seedlings each spring.  Chive seed germinates easily, but slowly and need warmed soil about 70 degrees F to germinate, so you need to start them indoors early if you want to harvest them during the first season.

Sow seed about 1/2 inch deep in flats containing a peat-based soilless mix. Maintain constant moisture and a soil temperature of 60 to 70 F. In four to six weeks, the young plants can be planted outdoors, preferably after all danger of frost is past. Chives can also be direct seeded outside when the soil is warm, but then few if any leaves should be harvested that first year. Plant out in well dug soil, preferably with some organic compost mixed in. You won't need to feed chives once they're in the ground, unless your ground is particularly poor, in which case you should give the chive plants a monthly feed.

Chives may be propagated by simply dividing large clumps into smaller clumps of about 5 bulbs each at any time during the growing season. All plantings should be divided every two to three years to prevent over-crowding. Space plants 4 to 15 inches apart in rows 20 or more inches apart, depending on the width of the cultivator that will be used. Chives are bothered by few disease or insect pests.

Chives grow best in full sun in a fairly rich, moist soil, which is high in organic matter.  Chives will, however, tolerate partial shade and most soil types. Chives should be fertilized several times during the growing season with a balanced commercial fertilizer or bone meal and manure. Chives should be kept well watered and weeded. Chives like sun but do like a little shade during long hot summers. They are fairly good at tolerating drought conditions, but are happiest in moist well-drained soil.

In cold regions, chives die back to the underground bulbs in winter, with the new leaves appearing in early spring.

Growing chives in containers is also possible! Keep a pot in the kitchen. Remember to water and the plant will see you right through the season. When the flowers start to die back, cut the plant down to about 2-3 inches (5-8cms) high and the chives will grow again.

After three or four years, the chive plant should be divided. Dig up carefully, then gently, but firmly, separate the clumps of bulbs and re-plant.  You get too much dying undergrowth if you let it get too large.
During the winter months your chive plant may die back completely. Don't worry, it'll come back in the spring.  I had one indoors in a pot and it died back so I put the pot outside, thinking we had lost it.  Just this week when I was moving plants back outside here was the pot with a bunch of new growth.
Harvesting & Preserving

Leaves can be harvested after established plants are 6 inches tall. To harvest, simply cut the leaves 2 inches above the ground. Usually, in home gardens or small herb operations, all the leaves of a clump of plants are not cut off at one time. This allows that same clump of plants to be cut over and over again throughout the growing season. All plants should be cut regularly to encourage new bulblets to develop, to prevent leaves from becoming tough.

You can begin harvesting about six weeks after planting or as soon as established plants resume growth in the spring. As you need leaves, cut the outer ones right back to the base. Use them fresh or frozen; they do not retain their flavor well when dried. 

Cut chives as you need them. Use scissors and leave 2-3 inches (5-8cms) of leaf on the plant. When the flowers start to dry and die back, you can cut down the whole plant ( to 2-3 inches (5-8cms) high ) and the chives will grow again.  You can also do this when the plant starts to look old and you will get young tender new shoots.

Drying:  I had always been told you could not dry chives so until recently I never tried.  But last fall an on-line herb friend said if you cut the stems and place them in a paper bag and put that in your refrigerator you will get perfectly dried herbs.  I tried it and lo and behold I had great dried chives.  Much better than the freeze dried herbs I have been using all these years.  Once the chives are dry place them in jars out of direct light. 

Freezing: My favorite way to preserve chives for my personal use is to freeze them.  Freeze chopped leaves quickly in an ice cube tray with a premeasured serving covered with water.  Place the frozen cubes in sealable freezer bags and label with the item and measurements.  Then remove the number of cubes you need for any dish.

To Use
Chives are usually used fresh and are a common addition to baked potatoes, cream soups, and egg dishes. There is some evidence that chives can improve digestion and reduce high blood pressure. The oil has antibacterial properties. 

Use the flowers in the kitchen or leave to bloom on the plant. The purple flowers look spectacular on a well-established plant.  Chive flowers or leaves can be added to just about any meal you would normally add onions to, and they're very good for you!

Chives are high in vitamin C and Vitamin A and have similar properties to all the onion family. Many people believe this family of plants aids digestion and helps prevents colds and flu. They certainly make a tasty medicine! Chive are also a good natural source for calcium and iron.

The medicinal properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for their limited use as a medicinal herb. Containing numerous sulfide compounds, chives are reported to have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system. They also have mild stimulant and diuretic and antiseptic properties. As chives are usually served in small amounts and never as the main dish, negative effects are rarely encountered, although just like all onions digestive problems may occur following over-consumption.

Chive Blossom Vinegar
Cut and wash chive flowers once they have fully opened.  You can cut flowers and keep in a zip lock bag with a damp paper towel until you have enough to make a batch of vinegar.

Once herbs have dried from washing, place them in a glass jar and bruise them with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Cover them with vinegar of your choice that you have warmed in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes.  Seal the jar with a non-reactive (plastic) lid and let sit for at least two weeks shaking daily. Strain and rebottle.  The vinegar is ready once it takes on a light pick color from the chive flowers.  You can use it to make dressings, marinades and sauces. 

Chive Dip
This dip is a wonderful accompaniment to fresh raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes.

1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh chives, snipped with scissors
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt or garlic salt to taste (optional)

In a medium sized mixing bowl mix add all ingredients and mix well. Let chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before using to allow all the flavors to meld together.

Not-Your-Mama’s Mashed Sour Cream and Chive Potatoes
Serves up to 12
Turnips and herbed cheese add an extra layer of flavor to these sour cream and chive mashers.

4 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 pound turnips or celery root or parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/3 cups cream cheese or goat cheese (even better is you mix some Backyard Patch Boursin Blend into the cheese)
1 cup sour cream
Milk, for mashing
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chives, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes and turnips until tender. Drain and place back into the hot pot. Add the cheese and sour cream to the pot and mash, adding just enough milk to loosen to your preference. Add salt, pepper and chives and taste to adjust the seasonings.

Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup finely minced parsley
3 tablespoons finely minced chives or green onions
2 tablespoons anchovy paste or finely minced anchovies
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to blend. Refrigerate so it will thicken and the flavors will blend. For a more creamy dressing, put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Tuesday - Making an Herbal Serum

This is a treatment for all skin types that works very well on oily skin.  Even oily skin needs some light moisturizing.  The spices in this mixture help with counteracting bacteria and toxins on skin’s surface which collect more easily if your skin is oily.  I made this for my husband to use around his beard where his skin would be dry while the rest of his skin was always oily.

This is a quick and easy item to make and very easy to complete. 

All you need is:

1 small cinnamon stick
2 Tbls. jojoba oil
2 drops tea-tree oil
2 drops cedarwood essential oil
2 drops grapefruit essential oil

Along with a mortar and pestle, a jar with a tight fitting lid and a final product jar, preferably with dropper.

Lightly crush the cinnamon into small chips using a mortar and pestle.  Place the pieces in a small container with a lid.  Add the jojoba oil and steep for 10 days. 

Strain out the cinnamon using a funnel and a coffee filter. 

Squeeze out as much oil from the pieces of cinnamon as possible.  This will give you a nicely clear oil.  Place this oil in a smaller lidded container.

Add the essential oils.

Tea Tree essential oil will give you many anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.  it is considered a healing and disinfectant wonder-drug. It also boosts up immunity.  It has a very robust aroma. 

Cedarwood essential oil in aromatherapy skin care extends to acne, dandruff, dermatitis, eczema, fungal infections, greasy skin, and ulcer.

Grapefruit essential oil handles cellulitis, dull skin, toxin build-up, and water retention. this oil has a sweet and tangy aroma which off sets the stronger Tea tree oil.

Once you have all the oils in the infused jojoba oil, shake vigorously.

Keeping the mixture in a small bottle with a dropper makes it easy to use.  Place a few drops on your fingers and allow it to warm between your fingertips and lightly massage into clean slightly damp skin.

This stuff is great for extra dry spots, like elbows, ankles, heels and such as well as an all over moisturizer for those with oily skin as a little goes a long way.

The Backyard Patch is thinking about offering this item for sale.  Is it something you might be interested in?
We have many other Bath / Spa items available on our Etsy site.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Herb Lore for St. Patrick's Day

Nearly every country and culture has its own herb lore – native plants that that were long believed to promote good health, and even good luck, to those who ate, drank, or carried them. My family and especially the family of my husband are both German and Irish.  In celebration of my husbands Patron Saint, St. Patrick, I thought today would be a great day to focus on special herbs of Ireland.
Ireland has a wealth of herbal lore passed on by local healers.  Unlike much of Europe that turned away from herbal remedies and healing methods with the start of the Industrial Age, Ireland held onto those herbal traditions.  So here is a quick look at some herbal remedies passed down by the “fairy doctors” of old Éire.
Herbs of Ireland
Comfrey Root: Used for healing minor cuts, scrapes, and burns, battling inflammation from diaper rash, varicose veins, and arthritis, and reducing swelling from bruises, sprains, or pulled muscles.

Dandelion Leaves: Used externally on wounds as an antibacterial, and to remove corns and warts. Used internally to promote healthy kidneys, prevent gallstones, fight jaundice, ease constipation, and soothe edema, joint pain, gout, eczema, and acne.

Eyebright: A solution of eyebright was used as an eyewash or compress to reduce inflammation from conjunctivitis, eyestrain, styes, and general eye irritation. It was also taken internally for allergies, bronchitis, colds, and sinus infections.

Feverfew: Used as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, fevers, skin conditions, stomach aches, and asthma. Also used to promote more regular menstrual cycles and ease childbirth.

Garlic (wild): Used to soothe coughs, asthma, and shortness of breath.

Horehound: Used as a cough expectorant and mild laxative, and to bring on menstruation.

Marshmallow Leaves: Used in dressings to soothe sprains and swelling.

Meadowsweet: Used to treat arthritis pain. (Contains salicylic acid, which is chemically similar to an active ingredient in aspirin).

Mullein: Used as a decongestant and expectorant for respiratory illnesses. Also used to soothe sore throats, treat diarrhea, and cure earaches.

Nettles: Used to treat rashes, eczema, arthritis, gout, and diarrhea. [unless your allergic!]

Sphagnum Moss: Used to dress wounds.

Vervain: Used to promote a healthy liver, fight fatigue, reduce fever, prevent insomnia, soothe asthma, and promote more regular menstrual cycles.

Willow Bark: Used to treat arthritis pain. (Contains salicylic acid, which is chemically similar to an active ingredient in aspirin).

Yarrow: Used to reduce bleeding in wounds, ulcers, hemorrhoids, etc. Also used to reduce inflammation and treat aches and pains. (Contains salicylic acid, which is chemically similar to an active ingredient in aspirin).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicago Flower and Garden Show

I took a boat load of photos at this year's Chicago Flower and Garden Show.  It was filled with ideas, especially if you are a patio gardener or container gardener.  This yearly show used the theme Hort Couture, this year for gardens as fashion.  I liked the theme, but the execution was a bit lacking in some places, while in others it was spot on perfect.

This was part of the fun and colorful entrance

There were many things to note and to my pleasure a great number of herb gardens and herb plants and edible flowers.  I have been to garden shows before where herbs were relegated to an afterthought and that was not the case here, in fact one whole garden focused on herbs and edibles with a French theme that I just adored.

I recommend you visit the Chicago Flower and Garden Show which is running through March 18 at Navy Pier, tickets on-line are cheaper and the parking in the desk is discounted this week.  And with the weather they are predicting this week, you need to get outside anyway!

Here are a smattering of images of things that caught my attention. The first thing I noticed as we rounded the entrance was the fragrance.  Tulips, lilacs and mixture of other floral scents wafted through the air, instantly lifting your spirits! 

This was part of the French Herb garden (# 11) "Front Yard Food a la Francais."   It was a nice use of a pallet for height and a base rather than wall planting it.  This would be perfect on a narrow patio!

There are also ideas that are not plants, like this clever design for patio lights made from Mason Jars!

There were beautiful tulips and a great rendition of the White House garden too!
White House Garden #5
There were water features galore and some were subtle and others were robust and filled with fish and bridges.  My favorites were this one you could put over a cistern in the path and another with a gentle cascade and Asian accents.

Notice the small Asian touch to the right?
There was much about urban gardening, including raising chickens and conservation of water and other resources and the teaching garden was very well done.  Our favorite garden was the Hope and Healing garden (#7) sponsored by Humana.  It was very pink but focused on a great theme of Surviving Cancer of a brave facade with a slicing path though the center that featured a thriving well rooted tree.  There were many aspects of this garden we enjoyed and I am sure my husband will speak of it as well when he guest writes later this week about the historical touches at the event.
Hope Garden Petunias struggling among the reeds
Overall the Chicago Flower and Garden show is worthy of attention and the little extras like culinary demonstrations, teaching garden lectures, the ability to plant a container garden, and enjoy a garden-centered market place are all worth the price of admission.

Here is the great staff member, Jeff  at Ted's Green House of Tinley Park that I played stump the staff with when I asked when the herb Unicorn Chives might bloom.  He was knowledgeable enough to recognize that it had a flat leaf like Garlic Chives so it would probably bloom at the same time of year, but he had to confirm that with someone else.  I did get the most amazing Rose-scented Thyme here.  What a great way to celebrate Rose the herb of the year!  I recommend checking out Ted's Greenhouse.  They even carry smallage and a number of other new and exotic herbs I have enver seen a nursery carry (check out the herb of the week on Lovage and Smallage if you want to know more about this herb.)

I leave you with the promise that there was a lot to see and do at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show which provided me with ideas for future blogs so stay posted to see more from this event.

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