It is a mop-head type hydrangea with the unique ability to bloom consistently on both old and new wood. The result is a plant that provides beautiful flowers all summer long. The flowers grow up to 8" in diameter, with pink blooms in alkaline soils and blue blooms in acidic soil.
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If you love cucumber, but your tummy doesn’t, try the companion herb that has a cucumber flavor: Borage.
This sun loving annual or biennial (depending upon the climate) grows so vigorously that, at maturity, it may need staking. Its star shaped blue flowers are sometimes candied and bees love borage. I like to harvest borage leaves fairly quickly, even before flowering, when the leaves are young and tender. Make successive plantings to carry you through fall.
Borage contains vitamins A, C, iron and copper. It is anti-inflammatory, as well.
I add tender, new borage leaves to salads and drinks. The leaves, as they mature, are sometimes too bristly and coarse to eat raw, but they can be cooked. Try including borage with fish, such as salmon.
The flowers, as mentioned above, can be candied or sprinkled on salads or added to herbal vinegars.
Tips from Rita’s garden:
Natorp’s carries beautiful borage plants, along with a “sister” herb, salad burnet, which is another cucumber flavored herb.
They were places of quiet beauty where one could pray and think about our Mother. The plants of the Mary Garden had significance to our Lady, so today we’re going to talk about some of the easy to grow culinary herbs that are good women’s’ herbs and would be perfect for a Mother’s Mary Garden, either in the ground or in containers.
Basil: It is said that basil was found growing outside of Christ’s tomb after the resurrection.
Basil contains iron and is antibacterial, good for hearts and muscles. Basil makes a healing facial steam for women. The herb is delicious in the popular tomato, basil and mozzarella salad. For in ground gardens, try Sweet Basil, which grows up to 2 feet; for containers, try Spicy Globe Basil, which has tiny leaves.
Chives: This is a member of the onion family, which are mentioned in the Book of Numbers. 11:5: “We remember…. the cucumbers, melons, leeks and onions…”
Both onion chives, with a purplish flower, and garlic chives, with a white flower, are perennial herbs. They have the cardiovascular benefits of onions, but are very gentle on the tummy. Chives grow easily in the ground or containers. Chives make nice vinegars, salad and potato toppings, and a good garnish for cottage cheese
Cilantro: Exodus mentions the seed of this plant, coriander. It is analogous to manna.
Cilantro is traced back to 5000 BC. It is a delicate, green herb that goes well with spicy foods. It contains calcium and helps lessen stress, and is good for removing heavy metals, like mercury, from the system. You can take coriander seeds from the pantry and pot them up for cilantro!
Dill: Luke: - same as above
Dill is said to promote lactation in nursing mothers and has been used as a weak tea for babies with colic - dill contains calcium, which is calming. Dill is delicious with seafood and salads. If you grow in ground, try the tall Mammoth dill. In containers, the smaller dills, Dukat or Fern leaf are nice.
Luke “But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint, cumin and dill and pass over judgment and the love of God.
I have my mom’s heirloom peppermint growing in the garden. Spearmint, a sweeter variety, contains more minerals and vitamins than basil, rosemary, dill and cilantro. It has folate, a B vitamin good for women of childbearing age. It’s one herb that I recommend growing in containers, since it is very invasive. Mint tea is a popular and refreshing drink.
Rosemary: An important herb of that time and a good one for women.
It has a piney flavor and contains iron which women often don’t get enough of. It can help preserve memory. Rosemary can take outdoor temperatures down to about 15 degrees and there’s a creeping variety great for containers. Delicious in marinades, meats, vegetables and breads.
Oregano/Hyssop Exodus 12:22. “Dip a branch of hyssop/oregano in lamb’s blood to mark the doorposts.”
Oregano and its cousin, marjoram, are healing herbs good for sore joints, yeast and fungal infections. Greek oregano is the gold standard, and there are smaller varieties good for containers, like golden oregano or marjoram. Wonderful in pastas and pizza sauces.
Thyme: Thyme grew wild in the hills of
It is one of the best herbs both for the in ground garden or container, as it is a low growing herb that is easily maintained. Thyme has many healing qualities and has a peppery flavor. A great bee herb.
A MARY GARDEN SALAD
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon each fresh, minced basil and oregano, or 1 teaspoon each dried
Minced garlic chives or garlic to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
(If dressing is too tart, add a bit of sugar or a bit of honey)
Mixed greens and choice of veggies & cheese and lean meat if you like
Herbs: your choice (optional but good) of chopped thyme, chives, oregano, mint, basil
Augment favorite bottled salad dressing with a bit of minced fresh herbs.
For Italian dressing, add basil, thyme and rosemary.
For Balsamic dressing, add chives, oregano and mint.
Sprinkle fresh chopped herbs on salad.
Try dill, mint, basil and chives.
Think of Mom’s favorite foods or hobbies. Make themed baskets with Bible herbs. Examples:
Italian: Parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil
Seafood: Dill, lemon grass, parsley, fennel, thyme
Spa herbs: Mint, lavender, lemon verbena, lemon balm, rose
Rita’s homemade bath salts
1 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup sea salt
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon dry goat or cow’s milk
1 tablespoon dry bath herbs of your choice, finely ground or not, or a few drops essential oil of your choice.
Mix together. To use, pour 1/4 cup into a hot bath.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen:
Essential oils are distilled from plants and are very strongly scented. There are many kinds, from soothing lavender to energizing peppermint.
Epsom salt soothes muscles and helps replenish magnesium levels and remove toxins from skin.
Sea salt is recommended for its mineral content.
Baking soda is alkaline, helps soothe and clean without harming delicate skin.
1 cup fine granulated sugar
1/2 cup oil of choice (see above)
Use for face, neck and throat. Avoid eye area. Use a circular motion and gently rub the scrub into your forehead, cheeks, chin and neck. Rinse with warm water. Finish with cool water to close pores. Store in frig.
Stir together gently:
1/2 cup your choice of oil (see salt scrub for choices)
1/4 cup mild, unscented liquid soap or baby shampoo
Optional: Few drops essential oil of choice