Autumn scenes

The nights are cooling off, there’s dew on my bike seat every morning (pretty soon it will be rain) and the sun has been breaking through the misty grey later in the day. It’s autumn.

I’ve been busy collecting seeds for our seed exchange program, sowing cover crops on the annual beds, deadheading the prolific self-sowers to make my job easier in the spring, and, as always, weeding.  There’s still a lot of green but the brown of spent flower stalks adds a skeletal contrast that helps remind us of the circularity of life.

Often, visitors to the garden in winter will ask why everything is dead. Of course, it’s not. Many herbaceous perennials are storing all their energy for the next year in their roots. Annuals that have completed their one year cycle will spread their seeds which will germinate in the coming years. And the weeds are always doing well. Don’t worry about the weeds.

Here are some images from the garden.

 

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whorlflower (Morina longifolia) section A

 

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goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) section C

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xu duan (Dipsacus asper) section B

 

 

 

 

 

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Chinese winter melons, dong gua ren (Benincasa hispida) The harvest from section C

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dang shen (Codonopsis pilosula) section E

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An array of Asian umbels, section C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 dried leaves flitter down

paths ajumble in chestnuts

sky of cawing crows

See you in the garden.

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Score one for the bees!

There wouldn’t be much of a Medicinal Herb Garden without pollinators and the pollinators are breathing a sigh of relief because many of you and thousands of other citizens of Seattle signed a petition urging the Seattle City Council to enact a municipal ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides by the City of Seattle and on land managed by the City of Seattle. Thank you; the resolution to enact a ban on neonicotinoids passed unanimously. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s the public statement on the petition site:

———————————————————————————————————————–

Seattle Municipal Ban on Neonicotinoids!

by Central Co-op and Seattle Sierra Club

One For The Bees!

On Monday September 22, the Seattle City Council, with Mayor Ed Murray concurring, voted unanimously for our resolution to enact a municipal ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides by the City of Seattle, and on land managed by the City of Seattle.

The resolution also calls for a national moratorium on neonics; calls on the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health to take action; on the EPA to suspend registration of this class of pesticides; on the US Congress to pass the Save America’s Pollinators Act; and on retailers in Seattle to not sell neonics.

Seattle becomes the largest city to take such a stand. This victory is a small step in the growing worldwide movement for pollinators, which are important for agricultural production, and for ecosystem health. Huge thanks to the over 4300 people who signed our petition, and to the 24 organizations who signed on to the resolution!

Thanks to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the NW Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, and the WA Sustainable Food and Farming Network, who helped educate us to greatly improve the final resolution that was adopted, and who each wrote letters of support to the City Council.

And thanks to the UW Medicinal Herb Garden, the Seattle Tilth Association, and PCC Natural Markets, whose early support and outreach helped bring this effort to public attention and build momentum for success.

Keep up the great work everyone, and look for further steps to build on this and make Seattle the Bee Friendliest city in the USA!

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Rosa gallica (French rose) section B

Pycnanthemum pilosum (mountain mint) section B

Pycnanthemum pilosum (mountain mint)
section B

Verbesina alternifolia (yellow ironweed, wingstem) section E

Verbesina alternifolia (yellow ironweed, wingstem) section E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the pollinators

buzz of guardian angels

hovering nearby

 

See you in the garden.

 

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Plants and…art

This is the month to be in the mountains in Washington. The berries are ripe, the bears are out on the slopes and the frosts have killed off the bugs. I’ve been basking in the glory of our Cascades and Olympics instead of writing blog posts and I’m about to head out again, but here are some pictures of plants and some art that was recently installed and will remain in the garden until some time in October. Don’t miss it and the rest of the art pieces around campus. This city needs a lot more public art and this collaboration between Mad Art and Arts UW is setting a good example.

Hortus Curiosus art installation by Saya Moriyasu and Maki Tamura in Cascara Circle. It's part of the Mad Campus series  and it is a delightful addition to the  garden. I wish there were art installations  rotating through campus all the time.  http://madartseattle.com/exhibits/mad-campus/

Hortus Curiosus art installation by Saya Moriyasu and Maki Tamura in Cascara Circle. It’s part of the Mad Campus series
and it is a delightful addition to the
garden. I wish there were art installations
rotating through campus all the time.
http://madartseattle.com/exhibits/mad-campus/

Hortus Curiosus

Hortus Curiosus

Hortus Curiosus

Hortus Curiosus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Swans art installation by Tory Franklin section D. It's part of the Mad Campus series. We are always honored to have art in the garden. http://madartseattle.com/exhibits/mad-campus/

Six Swans art installation by Tory Franklin
section D, also part of the Mad Campus series. We are always honored to have art in the garden.
http://madartseattle.com/exhibits/mad-campus/

Cynanchum auriculatum (bai shou wu) section A. This is the only plant I see covered with Dolichovespula maculata (bald-faced hornet) sucking its nectar. I'm not sure if they're effective pollinators but it's a pleasure to watch them feed. They appear quite docile. Maybe the nectar is narcotic.

Cynanchum auriculatum (bai shou wu) section A. This is the only plant I see covered with Dolichovespula maculata (bald-faced hornet) sucking its nectar. I’m not sure if they’re effective pollinators but it’s a pleasure to watch them feed. They appear quite docile. Maybe the nectar is narcotic.

Pycnanthemum pilosum (mountain mint) section B

Pycnanthemum pilosum (mountain mint)
section B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana (unicorn plant) section D

Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana (unicorn plant) section D

Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana (unicorn plant) section D. The green fruit are edible. Later, the fruit becomes woody, and the husk splits away to reveal large seeds which are also edible.

Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana
(unicorn plant) section D. The green fruit are edible. Later, the fruit becomes woody, and the husk splits away to reveal large seeds which are also edible.

Ipomoaea tricolor (grannyvine, morning glory) section C. Don't worry, it's an annual. It draws a lot of attention and gets its picture taken all day long when it's flowering.

Ipomoaea tricolor (grannyvine, morning glory) section C. Don’t worry, it’s an annual. It draws a lot of attention and gets its picture taken all day long when it’s flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helianthus mollis (downy sunflower) section D

Helianthus mollis (downy sunflower)
section D

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) section E

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) section E

Momordica charantia (ku gua, bitter gourd) section C. When ripe, the fruit split open to reveal the seeds, covered in red pulp.

Momordica charantia (ku gua, bitter gourd)
section C. When ripe, the fruit split open to reveal the seeds, covered in red pulp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lycium chinensis (gou qi zi, goji berry) section C

Lycium chinensis (gou qi zi, goji berry) section C.  It’s an easy plant to grow and can be cut back each year and still produce a lot of berries which ripen from late summer into winter. Why go to the health food store for goji berries when you can grow them yourself?

Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm) section B

Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm) section B

Belamcanda chinensis (she gan) section B. When in fruit, you can see how it gets its other common name, blackberry lily (though it's in the iris family, not the lily family)

Belamcanda chinensis (she gan) section B.
When in fruit, you can see how it gets its other common name, blackberry lily (though it’s in the iris family, not the lily family)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophora flavescens (ku shen) section A flowers on upper branch, fruit on lower branch

Astragalus membranaceus (huang qi)  section A.
Flowers are on the upper branch and emerging fruit are on the lower branch.

Passiflora incarnata (maypop) section D

Passiflora incarnata (maypop) section D.  On rare years when the plants set fruit early enough, we get a few ripe ones (when the color changes from green to tan and they get puckered and fragrant, they’re ripe). They have a tropical taste like nothing else you can grow here. If you have a very sunny and protected spot and you don’t mind that the vines will emerge from the ground wherever they please each year, build a trellis for them and stand back.

Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea) section C

Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea) section C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesamum indicum (sesame) section C. You can see flowers above and immature seed pods below.

Sesamum indicum (sesame) section C. You can see flowers above and immature seed pods below. When the seed pods turn brown, the sesame seeds are ready to harvest.

Collinsonia canadensis (horse balm) section E

Collinsonia canadensis (horse balm) section E

Grindelia robusta (gum plant) section D

Grindelia robusta (gum plant) section D

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verbesina alternifolia (yellow ironweed, wingstem) section E

Verbesina alternifolia (yellow ironweed, wingstem) section E

Penthorum sedoides (ditch stonecrop) section D.

Penthorum sedoides (ditch stonecrop) section D.

Silphium perfoliatum (compass plant, cup plant) section D

Silphium perfoliatum (compass plant, cup plant) section D

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) section B

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) section B

 

 

more flowers and art

thinking of Kenneth Patchen

alight in dark times

 

 

See you in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neonicotinoid redux

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Healthy bees… let’s keep them that way!

On June 29, on this blog I posted a piece called Our Toxic World , about neonicotinoid pesticides and the harm they do to our pollinators. I did so after being alerted to this issue by Webster Walker from Central C0-op. In the meantime, Central Co-op and Sierra Club Seattle Group have been busy drafting a resolution to help protect our vital pollinators. They are asking the good citizens of Seattle to support the resolution being brought before the Seattle City Council PLUS (Planning, Land Use and Sustainability) committee, to protect honeybees and other pollinators, by implementing a municipal ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.

Please read the draft resolution and, when you find yourself convinced that it is obviously the right thing to do, sign the petition. Please don’t wait. Do it now and pass the word. The authors of the draft resolution are hoping for 2,500 signatures by September 16. The Seattle City Council exists to serve the needs of the citizens of Seattle and we all need pollinators. Let them know you care.

The full text of the draft resolution is available here, and the petition site is here.

 

 

 

murmur of the hive

plum trees lush with dripping fruit

bountiful summer

 

 

See you in the garden.

 

 

 

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Tea

Coffee (usually Coffea arabica or Coffea canephora) is one of the many things Seattle is known for. No matter where you are in the city, you’re never far from a business that will sell you coffee, quite possibly coffee that was roasted down the block or in the back room. I enjoy coffee and drink it occasionally, but consuming it too often overwhelms my basic sense of calm and stability.

Coffee plant with immature fruit in the Botany Greenhouse

Coffee plant with immature fruit in the Botany Greenhouse

Mostly I drink tea (Camellia sinensis), and so do a lot of other people. According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., half the American population drinks tea every day. The Turks drink more tea per capita than the citizens of any other country. They drink about 21 times as much tea as Americans. Bless them, the Turks. In the coastal town of Marmaris, having debarked after a ferry trip from Rhodes, I long ago had the experience of sitting in a tea house on a rainy autumn afternoon, drinking tea and smoking cigarettes. As soon as my cup started to run dry or my cigarette was burning low, one or another fellow customer paid for my next cup and offered, nay, forced another cigarette into my hand. Turkey was a much less prosperous country in 1989 when I visited and the extreme generosity of the tea house patrons stands in memory as an example of how to live in the world. I no longer smoke, but I still love tea.

Tea (Camellia sinensis) growing in the Medicinal Herb Garden

Tea (Camellia sinensis)
growing in the Medicinal Herb Garden

In case you imagine tea as an exotic, tropical or subtropical plant, you’re right and you’re wrong. Yes, it is exotic. It is native to southeastern Asia. The Chinese are the top producers of tea in the world, followed closely by India. Yes, it does well in the tropics and subtropics, but it is grown as far north as Vancouver Island  and Washington state as well as Cornwall in the U.K., all places where the marine climate buffers the winter extremes of the far northern latitude.

There is a large hedge of tea plants growing in the Medicinal Herb Garden on the south and west borders of section A. They are extremely hardy, broadleaved evergreen shrubs that do well in full sun but also in shade. If you plan to pick the leaves to make tea, your best bet is to give them full sun in Seattle. As long as they get some water, they put out a lot more growth in the sun. I harvest leaves, the new growth at the branch tips, in late spring to early summer. It is traditional to pick the top ‘two leaves and a bud’, the bud being the newest leaf which has not fully unfurled. The University of Hawaii has an excellent primer on processing tea at home. You can adapt their methods to your own preferences. For instance, they use a microwave to process green tea and I use a steamer instead. But their instructions are quite clear and easy to follow.

http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/FST-26.pdf

It’s surprising, considering the influence of Chinese and Japanese culture in Seattle, that there is so little tea growing in this city. Living on Beacon Hill, a  traditionally Chinese neighborhood, especially since the end of WWII , I walk the nearby streets, making note of what people are growing. An ancient goji berry shrub (Lycium chinense) grows on the border with my neighbor to the north. Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) and Asian pears (Pyrus pyrifolia) are planted all over the place up here. But where is the tea? I don’t understand.

People of Seattle and anywhere with a similar climate, please start growing tea. Having processed both green and black teas from the Medicinal Herb Garden hedge, I can tell you that you can produce a high quality tea here. When most people think of Camellia, it’s usually the ornamental C. japonica or C. sasanqua with  large, red, pink or white flowers. C. sinensis is not as ornamental, though it puts out respectable, white and yellow flowers through the winter. But it does produce tea. Imagine Seattle in 20 years, when different neighborhoods brag about the terroir of their teas, teas that you planted! There are all sorts of studies on the positive health effects of tea, especially green tea, but let’s face it, most of us drink it for the caffeine and the taste and the wonderful rituals involving its preparation.

Forget about boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), forget about privet (Ligustrum spp.) and get some tea plants. Be the first one on your block with a tea hedge.  You won’t be sorry.

 

 

these shriveled green leaves

picked fresh when spring meets summer

fill our cups with tea

 

 

See you in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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High summer

We’re in the thick of it now; yes, it’s high summer. So far, it’s been a bumper year for tomatoes; my black krims and brandywines at home are covered with ripe fruit. This summer has been hot a lot. The olives in the Medicinal Herb Garden might even produce a crop worthy of the table. The same heat we are enjoying here is magnified on the drier, hotter east side of the state where huge wildfires (one of which, the Carlton Complex, is the largest in state history) have been burning for many weeks and causing a lot of damage. Hang in there, east-side friends.

I’m off again to the mountains for a backpacking trip, but before I leave, here are a few images from the garden.

Olea europea (leccino olices) section A border

Olea europea (leccino olives) section A border

Jaltomata procumbens (jaltomato, creeping false holly) section A

Jaltomata procumbens (jaltomato, creeping false holly) section A

Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose) fruit in Cascara Circle

Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose) fruit in Cascara Circle

I’m already collecting seeds from many of the garden’s plants and some fruit is ripening.

 

 

 

 

Leonotis nepetifolia (lion's paw) section C

Leonotis nepetifolia (lion’s paw) section C

Castilleja integra (wholeleaf Indian paintbrush) section C

Castilleja integra (wholeleaf Indian paintbrush) section C

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod) section B

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod) section B

Lion’s paw looks like a cross between a UFO and a Dr. Seuss flower. Hummingbirds love it. Stand nearby and you will see hummingbirds.

I’m growing three species of paintbrush this year. They are semi-parasitic, meaning they are partly parasitic and partly photosynthetic.

Goldenrod is another bee magnet. This picture was taken early on a cool morning, otherwise the flowers would be covered with bees.

Datura inoxia (sacred datura, tolguacha) section C

Datura inoxia (sacred datura, tolguacha) section C

Sagittaria latifolia (wapato) Cascara Circle

Sagittaria latifolia (wapato) Cascara Circle

Orthosiphon aristatus (cat's whiskers, Java tea) section C

Orthosiphon aristatus (cat’s whiskers, Java tea) section C

Sacred datura is a powerful entheogen which is, fittingly, pollinated at night, usually by hawk/sphinx moths (in the family Sphingidae).

Wapato tubers have spread through the Cascara Circle stream and are growing in any available muck. Next spring the ducks will be well fed. A pair visits every spring to feast on wapato.

Cat’s whiskers or Java tea is used to treat kidney stones and other urinary problems. It needs a lot of heat to be happy.

Limenitis lorquini (Lorquin's admiral)

Limenitis lorquini (Lorquin’s admiral)

Lorquin’s admirals are all around the Medicinal Herb Garden. Many of their larval host plants such as Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen), Prunus virginiana var. demissa (western chokecherry) and several species of Salix (willow) are represented in Cascara Circle. The adults visit a wide range of the garden’s flowering plants.

 

 

up above the world

tacking like a wind-whipped kite

Lorquin’s admiral

 

 

See you in the garden.

 

 

 

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Panta rhei

Most people who pass through the Medicinal Herb Garden do not make it across the street (Stevens Way) to the garden’s fruit forest. There’s no sign and it is surrounded by hedges and tall trees.

Center of fruit forest from the north

Center of fruit forest from the north  (minus two large goumi bushes that have a new home at the Beacon Food Forest)

The plants have gradually filled in and started bearing fruit since I first cleared brush and began planting in 2000. Luckily, representatives of most of the plants in the fruit forest can be grown, here and there, on the outer borders of the Medicinal Herb Garden across the street, because the fruit forest will face the bulldozer in the coming months, to make room for a new building. The university is constantly adding new buildings and replacing outdated buildings. We all accept and understand this truth around here, yet there’s no avoiding a period of mourning when a place you love is about to disappear.

Grapes (Vitis vinifera)

grapes (Vitis vinifera)

Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)

Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)

woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Years ago I read that there is now a name, coined by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, for this type of mourning. It’s called solastalgia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solastalgia

Though it is probably a more fitting term for the experiences of the people of southern Appalachia, facing the horrors of mountaintop mining, or the citizens of Kiribati or Tuvalu, about to be displaced from their paridisiacal island homes by rising sea levels, solastalgia describes a psychic state of dislocation and disorientation caused by physical dispossession. A sense of place is an integral part of our identity as humans. So, when a place we are connected to disappears, even a relatively small oasis like the fruit forest, feeling a bit of sadness is inevitable. The trick to remaining sane is to move forward and create new oases. There is always a marginal place that can be transformed. Keep your eyes on the borders of the Medicinal Herb Garden for these coming transformations.

sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Italian prune plums (Prunus domestica)

Italian prune plums (Prunus domestica)

Black mulberry (Morus nigra)

black mulberry (Morus nigra)

Many of the smaller shrubs have already been relocated in the Medicinal Herb Garden. But the fruit forest space has a combination of solitude, quiet, shade in the lower part and sun in the upper, circular design, blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), paw paws (Asimina triloba), plums (Prunus spp.), raspberries (Rubus idaeus), honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea), goumis (Eleagnus multiflora), Nanking cherries (Prunus tomentosa), Sichuan pepper bushes (Zanthoxylum piperitum), black currants (Ribes nigrum), mulberries (Morus nigra), giant black walnut tree (Juglans nigra), grapes (Vitis vinifera), hardy kiwis (Actinidia arguta), sassafras (Sassafras albidum),  honeybee (Apis mellifica) hives and wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca). That combination will be hard to reproduce.

Black currant (Ribes nigrum)

black currant (Ribes nigrum)

Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Lemon vebena (Aloysia triphylla) at north entrance to fruit forest you pass between two lemon verbenas, catching just a hint of their refreshing scent on your clothes. Fruit forest, we'll miss you.

lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) At the north entrance/exit of the fruit forest, you rub past two lemon verbena shrubs, catching just a hint of their refreshing scent on your clothes as you come and go.

Still, there is new inspiration to be drawn from this loss. The west side of the Chemistry Building’s south lawn has some excellent features. I’ve already started expanding into it and hope to add more plants during the dormant season. The same goes for the lawn between Benson Hall and Cascara Circle. Since January, I’ve planted blueberries , honeyberries, goumis, paw paws , prune plums, cherry prinsepia (Prinsepia sinensis), Chilean guava (Ugni molinae) and woodland strawberries. More to come.

New fruit forest border northwest of Cascara Circle

New fruit forest border, northwest of Cascara Circle

New border fruit forest, west of Cascara Circle

New fruit forest border, west of Cascara Circle

 

Fruit forest, we’ll miss you, but your spirit will live on across the street.

 

 

who records it all

the rolling list of losses

memory hold fast

 

See you in the garden.

 

 

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Coming down the pike…more flowers…and bees.

The last few days I’ve found myself often by the globe thistle, and it’s no accident. Globe thistle flowers smell like spiced jelly beans taste. Or something like that. It’s difficult not to linger and touch my nose to their richly scented, globe-shaped flower heads.  And when I do, my nose is practically touching honeybees. If I could buy pure, spicy, globe thistle honey, I would. Bees seem to be in a trance once they’ve landed on the globes. I’ve never seen them stay so long on any other flowers. Hurry if you want to smell the globe thistles and observe lingering bees up close. The flowers don’t last long.

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Echinops persicus (globe thistle) section B

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Bees love globe thistle.

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Yes they do.

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They surely do.

Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover) section D

Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover) section D

 

Dalea candida (white prairie clover) section C

Dalea candida (white prairie clover) section C

 

 

Silphium integrifolium (rosinweed) section E

Silphium integrifolium (rosinweed) section E

Saururus cernuus (lizard's tail) section B

Saururus cernuus (lizard’s tail) section B

Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) section A

Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) section A

Dipsacus asper (xu-duan) section B

Dipsacus asper (xu-duan) section B

Layia platyglossa ( coastal tidytips) section A

Layia platyglossa ( coastal tidytips) section A

Eupatorium aromaticum (boneset) section B

Eupatorium aromaticum (boneset) section B

Persicaria lapathifolia (curlytop knotweed) section B

Persicaria lapathifolia (curlytop knotweed) section B

Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber) section A

Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber) section A

Eurybia macrophylla (bigleaf aster) section E

Eurybia macrophylla (bigleaf aster) section E

Lathyrus tuberosus (tuberous sweetpea) section A

Lathyrus tuberosus (tuberous sweetpea) section A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boisduvalia densiflora (boisduvalia) section A

Boisduvalia densiflora (boisduvalia) section A

Pontedaria cordata (pickerel weed, wampee) Cascara Circle

Pontedaria cordata (pickerel weed, wampee) Cascara Circle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belamcanda chinensis (leopard flower, she gan) section B

Belamcanda chinensis (leopard flower, she gan) section B

 

 

nectar like spiced wine

these bees drunk on globe thistle

make it home safely

 

See you in the garden.

 

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Less talk, more flowers

Sometimes it’s best to stand aside and let the plants do the talking. We’re in the middle of a heat wave in Seattle and I’m feeling lazy. This day calls out for iced tea and a swim in the lake. For those of you far away, here are a few very recent images from the Medicinal Herb Garden. If you’re local, it’s a good day for a walk in the garden. There are plenty of shady spots for a nap and there’s so much flowering all around. Enjoy.

Gentiana affinis (pleated gentian) Cascara Circle

Gentiana affinis (pleated gentian) Cascara Circle

Monardell odoratissima (mountain monardella) section D

Monardell odoratissima (mountain monardella) section D

Chenopodium foliosum (leafy goosefoot) section B

Chenopodium foliosum (leafy goosefoot) section B

Sideritis scardica (mountain tea) section B

Sideritis scardica (mountain tea) section B

Punica granatum (pomegranate, shi liu pi) border areas

Punica granatum (pomegranate, shi liu pi) border areas

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (wild licorice) section B

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (wild licorice) section B

Platycodon grandiflorus (balloonflower, jie geng) section B and border areas

Platycodon grandiflorus (balloonflower, jie geng) section B and border areas

Ageratina occidentalis (western snakeroot) section B

Ageratina occidentalis (western snakeroot) section B

Scutellaria baicalensis (Baikal skullcap, huang qin) section B

Scutellaria baicalensis (Baikal skullcap, huang qin) section B

Verbascum olympicum (Greek mullein) section F

Verbascum olympicum (Greek mullein) section F

Helianthus nuttallii (Nuttall's sunflower) section A

Helianthus nuttallii (Nuttall’s sunflower) section A

Veronicastrum virginicum (culver's root, bowman's root) section F

Veronicastrum virginicum (culver’s root) section F

Amorpha canescens (leadplant) section D

Amorpha canescens (leadplant) section D

Aralia californica (western spikenard, elk clover) section E

Aralia californica (western spikenard, elk clover) section E

Cichorium intybus (chicory) section D

Cichorium intybus (chicory) section D

Chamaemelum nobile (chamomile) section C

Chamaemelum nobile (chamomile) section C

Aster linosyris (goldilocks aster) section C

Aster linosyris (goldilocks aster) section C

Inula helenium (elecampane, xuan fu hua) section B

Inula helenium (elecampane, xuan fu hua) section B

Angelica dahurica (bai zhi) section B

Angelica dahurica (bai zhi) section B

Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed) section D

Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed) section D

Geranium viscosissimum (sticky geranium) section D

Geranium viscosissimum (sticky geranium) section D

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw) section F

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw) section F

Stachys officinalis (wood betony) section F

Stachys officinalis (wood betony) section F

Ononis spinosa (restharrow) section A

Ononis spinosa (restharrow) section A

Berlandiera lyrata (chocolate flower) section C

Berlandiera lyrata (chocolate flower) section C

Verbena macdougallii (Macdougal verbena) section C

Verbena macdougallii (Macdougal verbena) section C

Nasa triphylla (whorled Chilean nettle) section A

Nasa triphylla (whorled Chilean nettle) section A

Lepidium montanum (mesa pepperwort) section D

Lepidium montanum (mesa pepperwort) section D

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) section D

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) section D

Tagetes lucida (Mexican tarragon) section C

Tagetes lucida (Mexican tarragon) section C

Aster foliaceus (leafy-bract aster) section A

Aster foliaceus (leafy-bract aster) section A

Opopanax chironium (opopanax) section A

Opopanax chironium (opopanax) section A

Oenothera speciosa ( showy evening primrose) xeriscape bed and section D

Oenothera speciosa ( showy evening primrose) xeriscape bed and section D

Pelargonium capitatum (rose geranium) section A

Pelargonium capitatum (rose geranium) section A

Salvia patens (gentian sage) garden borders

Salvia patens (gentian sage) garden borders

Asclepias fascicularis (Mexican milkweed) xeriscape bed

Asclepias fascicularis (Mexican milkweed) xeriscape bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is no mirage

through shimmering waves of heat

a swaying milkweed

See you in the garden.

 

 

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More summer flowers

This summer has gotten off to a warm start. I forgot my camera today but here are some of last week’s shots.

Mimulus cardinalis (scarlet monkeyflower) section C

Mimulus cardinalis (scarlet monkeyflower) section C

According to Daniel Moerman, in his encyclopedic Native American Ethnobotany (Timber Press, 1998), the Karok people, native to a region that is now in northern California and southern Oregon, are reported to have used an infusion of scarlet monkeyflower as a wash for newborn babies.

Celosia cristata (cockscomb, ji guan hua)

Celosia cristata (cockscomb, ji guan hua) section E

It’s no mystery how Celosia cristata got the common name cockscomb. The flowers look like they should be on top of a rooster’s head. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the flowers are used to cool the blood and control bleeding.

Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) section D

Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) section D

Black cohosh root is used to treat symptoms of menopause, as an alternative to hormone therapy. It’s also used to treat menstrual cramps and was widely and variously used by native peoples of eastern North America. An Asian species, C. foetida, is used in TCM. We have two related species, C. elata and C. laciniata, in Washington state. They are not as widespread as C. racemosa and perhaps that explains why neither is mentioned in Moerman’s Native American Ethnobotany.

Larrea tridentata (creosote bush)

Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) xeriscape bed

I don’t remember the creosote bush flowering before but I think I’m noticing more flowers now that I carry a camera around.

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed, pleurisy root) section C and xeriscape bed)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed, pleurisy root) section C and xeriscape bed

It gets one of its common names, pleurisy root, because it has been used to treat pleurisy, which is inflammation of the inner lining of the chest and lungs. It gets its other common name, butterfly weed, because butterflies love its nectar. It’s drought tolerant and beautiful when flowering, a good addition to your xeriscape bed.

Pelargonium sidoides (umckaloaba) section D

Pelargonium sidoides (umckaloaba) section D

Native to South Africa, umckaloaba has traditionally been used to treat acute bronchitis and other respiratory conditions.  As is often the case, the effectiveness of a traditional remedy has been demonstrated in clinical trials:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12807337

http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/pelargonium-sidoides

The flowers are dark purple, almost black, and their scent is intoxicating. I lift the plants in late autumn, pot them up and keep them in a place where they are cold but not freezing, then I replant outside in spring.

Houttuynia cordata (yu xing cao) section F

Houttuynia cordata (yu xing cao) section F

Foliage of yu xing cao smells like raw fish and is used as food and medicine from China to Japan and India. I keep it contained with a metal barrier in the shade with only a moderate  amount of water and it still threatens to escape. Be careful planting it in your garden.

Papaver somniferum (breadseed poppy, opium poppy) garden borders

Papaver somniferum (breadseed poppy, opium poppy) garden borders

This variety is called Danish flag. If the flag of Denmark really looked like that, I’d consider defecting(though it’s doubtful they would accept me). I love this poppy, not just because it is beautiful, but because it produces a lot of seeds. The breadseed poppy that produces the seeds for your bagels and pastries and breads is also the opium poppy that produces the important pain reliever, morphine, and the horrific drug, heroin. Alas, it is true, reality can be quite complex sometimes. But we are sophisticated consumers of information and can reasonably discern the difference between natural products that are harmful and those that are healthful. Just think of the difference between delicious and nutritious corn on the cob and that awful adulterant, high-fructose corn syrup. Enough said.

Nigella sativa (black seed) section A

Nigella sativa (black seed) section A

Less-adorned cousin of Nigella damascena (love in a mist), black seed is an easy annual to grow and its seeds are sold as a food and a medicine. Check out the profile from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:

http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/nigella-sativa

Gentiana tibetica (qin jiao) section E

Gentiana tibetica (qin jiao) section E

Used in traditional Tibetan and Chinese medicine, qin jiao is an easy plant to grow. We all might consider consuming more bitter food/medicine; and gentian is bitter. I’ll leave you with the words of Dr. Weil:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401077/Is-Bitter-Better.html

 

 

a little bitter

helps gallbladder and liver

learn to like the taste

 

See you in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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