Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Happenings in the Garden

After surviving (cross fingers!) two exams today, I wandered out into the garden to clear my head late this afternoon. Here are some of the things happening . . .

Here is the first purple asparagus spear of the season. It may just find itself being eaten tomorrow night! This is the fourth season for the purple asparagus in our garden. Given how much it produced last year, I'm already thinking of preserving some.

And here is the first Greenfeast pea flower of the season. The Red Flowering Peas are yet to produce any blossoms, but when they do, I'll post a pic.
Some beautiful broad bean flowers . . .

And the first of the Solomon's Seal rhizomes that I planted a while ago is off and running.

Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) is a magic herb. Its tincture, made from the root, can be used to heal ligaments and tendons. Somehow, this amazing plant knows how to shorten stretched ligaments and tendons and lengthen short ones, bringing the body part (eg, ankles) back into perfect alignment.

Some people refer to Solomon's Seal as the "herbal chiropractor". Matthew Wood calls it the Indispensible Muscular and Skeletal Remedy.

Some blackcurrant cuttings I took a few weeks ago (from the prunings off the blackcurrant) now have little roots attached to them. I'm hoping they'll develop further and I can obtain some more big blackcurrant bushes.

Marshmallow seeds I planted back in Autumn have sprouted when I had almost given up on them (shame on me!). Here are some of the little darlings I hope will soon grow into rampant plants.

Marshmallow (Malva sylvestra) is great for treating dry irritating coughs and as a mild astringent for gastroenteritis.

Happy Gardening!

love and light


Cheryl said...

The broad bean flowers are so is one thing I have never grown, I did not realise just how pretty they are...
I love broad beans, could I grow them in a huge tub I wonder??
Vegetables are difficult for me here because of the rabbits......

I am very interested in the solomons seal and its healing properties....I shall research this more....tks for that naturewitch......

Good luck by the way with your exams.....

Em said...

Love the pics - your garden looks so interesting :)

Asparagus is yum - how many asparagus plants do you have producing?

naturewitch said...

Hi Cheryl

I think you probably could grow broad beans in tubs, especially if you chose a dwarf variety. We plant broad beans here from mid-April till the end of May, so I guess that would translate to mid-October to the end of November for you. They grow slowly over winter, but kick off well in spring.

A friend of mine showed me this years ago - pick the broad bean pods when they are young and slice the whole pod up for stir fries. They are quite delicious when young and it means you get to start eating them earlier.

The Solomon's Seal really is wonderful and you could also grow that in a pot. It has lovely white bells on its stalks, so is quite decorative as well. Here's where I bought mine from:'s-Seal.html
There is a description and photo, etc. If you can grow lily of the valley, you can most likely grow Solomon's Seal. xx

naturewitch said...

Hi Em

I can't remember how many I put in the bed, but I think it is a dozen or so plants. The bed is about 1x2.6m. This produces enough for a family of four, with sufficient for people to start groaning about the quantity they are expected to eat! tee hee :)

I got my asparagus crowns from New Gippsland Seeds and Bulbs (, but they didn't have purple ones on offer this year. You will need to wait until next autumn to order them again, but you could always put some seed in the ground now if you are quick, depending on how cold/hot your climate is.

Asparagus love a deep friable soil, and as they are originally a seaside plant, love sandy soil and fish emulsion. Apparently, they also love a top dressing of seaweed, but as we are not near the ocean, ours simply get cow manure each year during winter and fish emulsion with seaweed extract as a foliar feed during the growing season.

And the best thing is that asparagus crowns are supposed to keep producing for 20 or 30 years, so they are definitely worth the investment. xx

Anonymous said...

The garden is looking great! I am sure you did well in your exams, I dont think you will need finngers crossed lol

I am slowly developing a real interest in the herbs etc, probably because I recognise there will be a real need for alternatives in time to come...or maybe its just calling me.

Not that I would take on the onerous task of studing formally as you have, but the simple tinctures and salves for basic things I find are fascinating.


naturewitch said...

Hi Molly

You only see the bits of my garden I show you - there are also many weeds and unfinished areas. Mostly, I really need to save the fruit trees from the encroaching grass.

I'm a firm believer that we all need to get back to basics, including growing our own food and knowing how to treat ourselves (where safe and sensible to do so). We desperately need to get back the knowledge of our ancestors before it is lost. This would greatly alleviate the pressure on our medical system and empower people to look after themselves and their loved ones.

Along with this goes a heightened sense of community, with people getting to know their neighbours and each sharing food, healing and ideas, instead of acting like a pack of rats in a maze after the sole piece of cheese.

Oh, I know I want Utopia, but if I don't at least make an effort towards my vision of a sustainable future, I'll just be another rat - squeak! xx

Hedgewitch said...

how great to see your sprouting green things!

was really interested to read about Soloman's Seal as its not a plant I know :-)

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more NW. I love the thought that the present environment will bring us back to the basics you so rightly say should be preserved and utilised.

Not that I want the fallout from the mess right now, but the silver lining I see is it may bring mankind back to the REAL world!


Wendy said...

I just love coming here. I learn so much from you. And it's nice to see what is coming up in your garden, as we put our gardens to bed.
I look forward to reading your blog all winter (summer for you).
Good luck on your exams.

naturewitch said...

Hi Hedgewitch
So good to see you back! I think Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) would be a great addition to your garden. Matthew Wood has a great discussion on it in The Book of Herbal Wisdom.

Hi Molly
Yes, we've (as a species) become so artificial. Time to return to the REAL world, as you say.

Hey Wendy
Good to have you drop by. Thanks for the good luck - just one more exam to go in this round... xx

Em said...

Thanks NW - that's a lot of asparagus! I put in 1/2 dozen seedlings but we might need more, I really love fresh asparagus :) Crowns do sound like a better option - will put them on the ToPlant list for next winter.

I've enjoyed reading your snippets on herbs too, and lol at the rats after the cheese. Oh yes. I wonder how much the world would change if every person had to grow one organic plant and keep it alive?

plantainpatch said...

Great pics! Thanks!