Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

A Healing Garden

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Having a garden full of herbs gives you more than just a pleasant taste to your food. Some herbs can add health benefits too. From curing headaches to relieving indigestion, they can come in handy in our daily life. Any kitchen garden worth its salt will include healing herbs along with your favorite cooking herbs.
Our forefathers knew this and often used herbs before they could get medical treatment. Their wisdom and experience guided a healer’s hands to find and cultivate the right plants to ease and comfort the ills a family member might feel. Herbs are even found in the pages of the Bible: Proverbs list Cinnamon as a stimulant, used to increase the appetite from someone suffering from the flu. Matthew speaks of Mint being used for headaches and fevers. Esther talks of Myrrh used for skin wounds and boils.

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I think it’s fascinating how plants help us. It seems a shame we’ve gotten so far removed from using natural remedies and growing our own natural remedies. It’s seems so much easier to open a bottle of vitamins or pain reliever which you purchased over-the-counter than it is to put the effort into growing a few medicinal herbs.

Why not plant a few? You don’t have to have an entire herb garden; you can plant a few in with your flowered pots, line your vegetable garden, or even just put a few on your windowsill in decorative clay pots.
Listed below you’ll find just a few herbs and what they were commonly used for as a healing plant. It is essential to know how and how much of each herb to take. There are many trained professionals in this field of medicinal herbs that should be consulted before you try to use these plants on your own.

ALWAYS consult your doctor before trying to use herbs as a healing method.

Oregano: smooth’s the stomach muscles
Mint: can ease hiccups
Ginger: anti-nausea remedy
Garlic: a natural antiseptic
Cloves: an anti-microbial
Sage: antiseptic and antibiotic
Thyme: relaxes respiratory muscles
Basil: relives gas and upset stomach
Black Pepper: to relieve indigestion
Cinnamon: helps lower blood pressure
Rosemary, Sage and Oregano: lowers fevers

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Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

Out with the Old

There’s something both heartbreaking and exhilarating about redoing a landscaping. It’s sad to tear out old plants that have reached their maturity and are declining, but it is also necessary for a new landscape to be installed.

When I’m called in to do a re-landscape, the first thing I look at are the bones of the landscaping. It took years for a palm tree to get to the height that balances with the house, or for an oak to provide a beautiful canopy to shade and offer cool sitting areas for the homeowner. As for the bougainvillea growing up and over the arch of your front entry; why would you want to remove something so gorgeous? But other plants just tore out after about 12 to 15 years down here in South. And rather than leave plants that are going downhill, having weak stems and are prone to insect and disease problems—we need to take them out.

It’s my job just determine what goes and what stays. Once a determination is made, I can begin the design. Bed lines are often changed to add new interest and to accommodate the growth of the larger plants remaining in the landscape. This is the opportunity to create a whole new look. Pathways can be added, vignettes of privacy can be snuck in and views that have matured over the years can be enhanced. This is also the perfect opportunity to incorporate some beautiful container plantings. I especially like to do this in areas where the roots are so thick that you can’t dig a new plant into.

Since the original landscape was installed, there have been many improvements on the plants available, hybrids have been created that will tolerate the southern heat better and new varieties have been introduced to the market. This is a perfect opportunity for the homeowner to take it vantage of these.

It’s rather like the old saying for a bride: something old something new and something borrowed. The old: the mature plants that will stay anchored landscape. The new: different varieties of plants now on the market. And the borrowed? Reusing some old standbys that helped create the foundation of a good landscape.

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Don’t be afraid to take out a shrub here there, or even an entire hedgerow. This is the south and things will grow quickly.

Before you know it your new landscape will look like it’s been there all along.

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Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

A garden to tell us about you?

Driving around, I find sharp contrast to the landscapes in our area…

          front with croton     OR      smweb2014 habbambo

 

I find it amazing how much the landscaping plantings reflect our personalities. From the well-manicured lawn to the Shabby Chic Garden, each one says something about the person who lives in the house that the landscape surrounds.

It was interesting to see that the business man with a well-manicured lawn and shrubs, perfectly trimmed. And yet on the other side of the spectrum, the naturalist we met with later was a throwback from another era. Her garden had no rhyme or reason to it, but everything had its place and looked well together.

Often landscaping not only reflects our personality, but it also reflects our needs for more practical applications. We may need privacy and plant plants will give us that, screening out the properties around us. Shade is an important element in any landscape, so planting tall trees with overlapping canopies become a necessity. Then there magnificent views to show off and enjoyed to the fullest. The landscaping around this area is used frame in the view and show it off to it’s full of potential.

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7159637 – bird and squirrel

 

And don’t forget the nature lovers who invite the birds and squirrels and any other little critters who want to make their home into their garden. They plant specifically to attract these type of animals; butterfly gardens are all the rage right now, and when you plant a butterfly garden you’ll find other birds as well.

So what kind of landscape do you have? Does it reflect your personality? Is your garden manicured and immaculate? Or are you more of a free-flowing nature-loving gardener? Maybe you a little bit of both.

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Take a look outside your window to see what’s out there.

Is  your landscape true to your personality?