Tag Archives: medicinal herbs

New Herbs for 2023 to Grow in Your Garden

Butterfly pea I grew in my garden

For several years in a row, I used to write a new plants article for a magazine’s spring issue. It was fun to flip through seed catalogs, identifying the new plants. But in some ways, it was a challenge. What is “new”? What is “new” to me may not be “new” to other gardeners. What is new for one seed company may not be new for another. The term “new” is very subjective. I would always see a new color of a petunia or zinnia or dahlia but since there were new colors every year, a new color did not seem really new to me. It was just another color of the same plant. Plus, my article reflected what was known when I wrote it – at that point in time. Some companies announce their introductions in December, the year before the new growing season, while others wait until the spring of the current year. So I struggled with “new.” Continue reading

Tweeting over the Garden Fence: Weekly Chats

Echinacea or Coneflower

New Echinacea Cultivar

As an oldie to garden writing but a newbie to social media, I have discovered that Twitter can make life fun. It adds a new dimension to watching the Superbowl or the Grammy Awards but more importantly, Twitter grants you access to gardening experts and current information. There are several hour-long chats on Twitter related to some aspect of gardening, every day of the work week. This past Monday was a holiday so I was able to participate on #plantchat for the first time.

On Mondays, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST, Corona Tools hosts #plantchat, which is a great way to learn more about plants, gardening, and horticulture. Corona Tools (@CoronaTools) lines up a guest and a specific topic. The first few minutes are spent on introductions; people can elect to tweet where they live or their hardiness zone; most comment on the weather. I use tweetdeck to keep up with the conversation because it enables me to focus only on the plantchat conversation; not other tweets. Except for your internet connection, a twitter chat is free; all you have to do is sign in to Twitter and tweet using #plantchat. You don’t have to tweet; you can just read the conversation. With some chats, a transcript is available if you miss the live chat (as I have in the past when I am at the office). For #plantchat, @CoronaTools uses Storify to provide the recap.

This Monday’s guest was Rodale Institute (RI) and the topic was medicinal plants and herbs in the garden. I tweeted a question specifically to Rodale Institute about Echinacea. I knew the roots were beneficial in preventing or stopping a cold because I tried it years ago but wanted to know if the new cultivars on the market were equally effective. @RodaleInstitute first said: “General immune booster but most wait till symptoms start to take it. Prevention is best!” The person then responded: “Generally, it’s the Echinacea purpurea, other cultivars don’t carry the same quality at the same strength,” which is just as I had suspected but where else would I get such a quick answer from a leading expert? As people chatted, I learned the benefits of tulsi (holy basil) tea (reduces stress and anxiety) and the fact that comfrey and yaupon holly tea are anti-inflammatories. Someone recommended elderberry syrup for cough and cold, which led to another person chiming in that lemon balm makes a great tea and soothes the throat and stomach. Another person explained that stevia, an herb, can be used as a sweetener. I explained how I grow dill and cilantro in the cool months and someone said that cilantro provides Vitamin K, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. This was a paradigm shift; an herb such as cilantro may not be used for treating an illness but in addition to culinary benefits, it may act as a preventative.

Try out a Twitter chat, each are a little different but all are fun and educational.

Monday:          #plantchat, 2-3 pm; #gardenchat 9-10 pm

Tuesday:          #treechat 2-3 pm; #pollin8rchat 9-10 pm

Wednesday:     #landscapechat 2-3 pm; #seedchat 9-10 pm; #rosechat 9-10 pm

Thursday:        #herbchat 2-3 pm

Friday:             #groundchat 2-3 pm

Eastern Standard Time