Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘companion plants’

Herbs from hedge and garden.

In Cooking, Foraging., Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on April 2, 2011 at 8:10 am

Gorse showing first flowers.

It is nice to see the Gorse in flower again, it’s lovely yellow flowers always calling the eye. Gorse (Ulex europaeus) also called Furze or Whin is a plant that was much used in the past. It used to be burned every few years to provide fertility for the soil. The new emerging shoots would be eaten with relish by animals. It also used to be dried and hung in the stable to supplement Winter fodder. It was dried and used as a fuel which was said to give great heat. The flowers yield a yellow dye and also make a very palatable wine. The bark can be used to make a dark green dye. An essence can be made from the flowers which is used for healing the land.

Coltsfoot.

Coltsfoot is plentiful at the moment, it seems to like road verges and the shelter of hedges. It’s best known as a remedy for coughs and asthmatic problems. However, there is a caution that overuse can cause liver damage. It is much used in herbal tobaccos.

French Tarragon.

In the garden all the herbs are now providing fresh pickings. Many gardening books say French Tarragon is a tender plant, however it survived -18 here this past Winter. French Tarragon, with it’s delicious aniseed flavour is great in herb butter and salad dressings. It is a good remedy for indigestion and is said to stimulate the appetite.

Chives.

Chives belong to the Allium species and have a mild onion flavour. We have loads of Chives in the fruit garden as they are a good companion plants particularly for Apples as they keep away aphids, apple scab and mildew. Planted near Peach trees they control leafcurl and are said to enhance the scent of Roses. In the kitchen they have a multitude of uses, salads, herb butters, soups or mixed with cream cheese to mention  just a few. The only limit to uses for culinary herbs is your imagination!

Growing Flowers Naturally @ Prospect Cottage.

In Bees, Gardening, sustainable living on March 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

Galega.

Fruit and veg are not the only things we grow here in Arigna, flowers also have a large part to play. The flower is an essential part of every plant as it contains the reproductive organs without which the species could not continue. Sometimes this can be forgotten, we may look on flowers as nice colour shots in the garden.

Honeysuckle by garden gate.

Growing flowers naturally is easy if you accept them as they come, no tittivating and selection for the show bench. The biggest concession is to accept what does well in your area. For us this means no Dahlias, they don’t do well in our heavy soil, no Magnolias, they don’t like the winds we get here in the valley, no Bergamot, I don’t know why it does’nt do well here, several attempts have failed, I can cope with that.

Self-seeded Snapdragons in polytunnel.

What ever your soil type there are flowers that will love it. Gravel gardens, bog gardens, rock gardens, the possibilities are endless. The use of chemical fertilisers on flowers I find very sad, they don’t need it, they want to flower, it is their way of propogating themselves. People wonder why bees and other benificial insects are declining! Maybe that weekly dose od Miracle-Gro has something to do with it?

Verbena bonariensis does well on our ground.

The other great way to grow flowers is as companion plants for your fruit and veg. The right combinations can reduce attack from pests and disease.

Nasturtiums will repel aphids while Poached Egg  Flowers will attract hoverflies. The fave food of the hoverfly is aphids! Nasturtiums repel wooly aphids from fruit trees and chives will keep away fungal diseases. French Marigolds planted among your Tomatoes promote growth and repel harmful soil nematodes.

P.S: The plant in the last pic is of course Joe-Pye Weed not Verbena bonariensis.