Posted in gardening, The Secret Garden, The Southern Garden

An Old Favorite

Does your hubby, son, or daughter have a favorite shirt or blanket. One that you know you could never throw out? No matter how thin and faded, no matter how many holes? Trust me, you don’t want to throw them out!

Sometimes it’s not only an article of cloth that can’t be thrown away. Some have plants that mean just as much to them. The plant might be tall and lanky or down to its last few spindly leaves, but they would never throw it away. Nor would they forgive you for doing it.

Plants are living, breathing things, and that alone will keep some from discarding the poor things. I’ve heard it more times than I can count; “I just can’t throw a plant away.”

And then there are the plants that hold a special place in the owner’s heart. Maybe it was a gift for a special occasion, like the birth of a child or an anniversary. Perhaps it was from a special holiday (Poinsettias and Lilies spring to mind).

Some plants are more about the reason we received them than the actual plant itself. A last gift from a special person, the sympathy gift over the loss of a loved one. Getting rid of these plants can seem like you’re getting rid of a tangible thread to the person.

So what do you do? With all this emotion tied to a plant, the guilt over its loss can be awful. First, you have to realize, plants have a life span. And just like humans, you can’t determine what that will be.

I suggest you baby these plants and enjoy them for as long as you can. Be sure to take care of them properly; water, fertilize, clean, trim and even repot as needed. Some may outgrow their space inside, maybe you can pot them into a larger pot and put them in the garden. Enjoy them for as long as you can, but don’t beat yourself up when the plant outlives itself. Remember the reason for the gift and then say goodbye. Perhaps a trip to the garden center will help to find a replacement plant to pot into the original container and hold a place of honor in your home.

Victoria LK Williams

Posted in gardening, The Secret Garden, The Southern Garden

Secret 2

The Secret Weapon

When I was growing up, both my mother and grandmother had this plant on the kitchen counter. They gave it, along with the housewarming gift, to anyone moving into their first home or apartment. They considered this plant essential to every home, and you could almost always find it in the kitchen.

I’m referring to the Aloe vera plant.

The primary reason my mom and grandma kept this plant in the kitchen wasn’t for its impressive looks, there are many better looking plants that will thrive in the indoors. No, they kept this plant in the kitchen because of its soothing, healing abilities in treating a burn, even as severe as a second-degree burn. Burn your hand on a hot pan, and a piece of the plant would be broken off, and they would apply the healing gel from the plant to the burn area. Scrap your skin and the aloe plant would come out as well.

Science proves the Aloe plant to be useful in other ways as well; used in a toothpaste for helping control cavity-causing bacteria, helping to heal wounds such as diabetes-induced foot ulcers. They can use the extracts from the plant as a natural antioxidant, an additive to creams for protection of skin damage after radiation therapy, and in acne creams. Although research isn’t conclusive at this point, the extracts are also being tested in the hopes of use against constipation, ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, depression, memory loss, and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

All that potential from one plant! It’s always best to discuss the use of anything you add to your skin or wounds with a doctor. Doctors also recommend you test for an allergic reaction before using.

Posted in gardening, The Secret Garden, The Southern Garden

Secret 1

The Garden holds many secrets; beneficial, beautiful and even deadly. Enter the door to the secrets if you dare!

The oleander plant is one of the south’s most beautiful shrubs. They can grow to 10′ tall and make the most beautiful hedge.

And the most deadly!

All parts of the Oleander plant are toxic. From the roots to the flowers. Even the sap can cause harm, starting with an irritating rash to something far worse. Inhaling the smoke from burning Oleander will also cause harm.

The Oleander plant contains not one, but two types of poisons; oleandrin and nerinne, both having powerful effects on the heart. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause diarrhea, vomiting, wrenching stomach pain, drowsiness, dizziness and an irregular heartbeat, leading to death.

Having treatment like having the stomach pumped with in 24 hours can increase the odds of your survival, but not always.

So remember, not all that is beautiful is perfect. Poison is definitely a flaw.

Victoria LK Williams