Posts tagged ‘Plant’

July 3, 2013

Dog strangling vine Threatening Native Species and The Monarch Butterfly

The dog strangling vine is a destructive invasive alien plant that is threatening to strangle out native species in North America. Even the name sounds so horrific I want to just call it the strangling vine for short.

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This strangling vine Cynanchum rossicum is from the milkweed family but it is a different Genus than the native North American milkweed that the monarch butterfly lays their eggs on.

Flower They not only strangle out milkweed, the vine tricks the monarch into laying eggs on it, probably because it is from the same family. The eggs do not mature which endangers the monarch butterfly population numbers. The loss of milkweed due to pesticide use and loss of habitat is having devastating consequences on the monarch butterfly population.

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This plant is tough to take out too, you need to remove all the roots or it will grow back.

I have removed all of these invasive vines from my garden. I pull them every year because I didn’t like they way they strangled everything and now I know what a true danger they are I will pull them even earlier.

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I am growing a small patch of milkweed in my garden for the Monarchs and it surprises me how many people say to me why don’t I pull ‘those weeds.’

Between people pulling native milkweed or putting pesticides on them, destroying natural habitat and now invasive aliens competing it is no wonder why the monarch butterfly population is in decline.

If you see this plant in your garden or anywhere else please remove it. As a caution wear gloves and long sleeves when removing it, it may cause a rash or wound.

Thank you for helping the Monarch butterfly and our native plant species.

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June 27, 2013

Thyme for a Grass Substitute

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My parents got a letter from the city that they now have to cut the grass on the boulevard that isn’t even in front of their house but nearby on a busy high traffic road. It is a new bylaw in the city of Toronto that states that everyone on a corner lot or at the end of the street beside city roads is now responsible for the grass on the boulevard. The recent by-law voted on March 5-7, 2012 and came into effect January 1, 2013,
BY-LAW NO. 375-2012

How safe is this and how is this saving the city money?

They have never had to do this in the twenty-five years or so that they have lived there. Now the city expects an elderly man to risk his life to cut the grass on busy high traffic city boulevard just to save the city some money? The city mower stops at the property fence line but mows the rest of the boulevard when it would be just as easy to do the rest. This is a discriminatory bylaw and could affect the property value of the houses mentioned, because let’s face it, would you want to mow grass next to high traffic as an added expense when next door doesn’t have to do it? If your answer is yes then start your engines!

This is not age related because I think no one no matter what age or condition should risk their life to maintain boulevard. People have been killed waiting for the bus and this is a bus route. It is just that the elderly and sick are the most vulnerable and people might be on fixed incomes and should not be responsible for maintaining the city boulevards, especially next to dangerous high traffic areas.

My dad finally got someone on the phone and they said if he or a family member couldn’t do it he would have to pay someone to cut the grass or be held responsible. The fine is $200 dollars, and I would rather pay the fine than risk my parents life. First the doctor wants to kill my dad with pills and now the city wants to risk his life for grass.

In the letter they never even stated how much grass he had to cut so someone came out to actually measure how much to cut! By this time the grass and weeds were so tall it was blocking a turn lane line of sight and was causing accidents. There was an accident out front that happened just as I was speaking to my parents and they were telling me about this.

When the city sent a worker to measure how much grass to cut they had to crunch over car pieces from earlier car accidents that jumped the curb. I just can’t believe that a council wants my elderly father to mow over broken car parts and endanger his life just to cut grass?
The neighbours rallied together, they sent letters, emails and they have finally gotten through to someone in council. Their city councillor was very nice and told them that they are not responsible for it anymore but have yet to get that in writing.

I propose that no one mow. A simpler solution would be to grow low growing thyme varieties instead of high maintenance lawn grass. GO LOW GROW NO MOW!!!!!

20130726-195022.jpgIt would be good to start with low maintenance boulevards and give up the unnecessary stink of gas and noise that you get from lawnmowers. Eliminate the use of mowing by planting low growing perennials like thyme and lavender on boulevards and wherever you don’t want to mow.

Find out more about Thyme here at thyme time -> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/05/29/thyme-time/

I am sending It is THYME for a GRASS substitute idea NO MOW LOW GROW with a note attached to city council and if you could please send one too that would be much appreciated!
The recent by-law voted on March 5-7, 2012 and came into effect January 1, 2013,
BY-LAW NO. 375-2012
( I phoned the city and they gave me the wrong by-law information I told on the phone the website didn’t have it uploaded it yet, not that you could figure out that bylaw system, the sewer site is more user friendly. I had to get my information from a councillor, but I found it frustrating that I had to inform some councillors and explain the new bylaw to them.)

e-mail:

Scarborough community council

scc@toronto.ca

Toronto city council

clerk@toronto.ca

Mayor Ford of Toronto might get back to you between scandals

416-397-FORD (3673)

Let’s see what is cooking on the boulevard.

,

Email: asmithi@toronto.ca

Allan Smithies
Manager, Traffic Planning/Right-of-Way Mgmt
Etobicoke York District
Etobicoke Civic Centre
399 The West Mall
Toronto ON M9C 2Y2

Phone: (416) 394-8412
Fax: (416) 394-8942
Mobile: (416) 434-6784
Blackberry: (647) 828-9506

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June 26, 2013

Why Comfrey is Essential for First-aid Medicine and Permaculture

Comfrey

Comfrey

Comfrey is a very beautiful, beneficial addition to any garden and an important herb for medicine and permaculture. Other common names for Comfrey are knit-bone and boneset because of its amazing ability to regenerate and stimulate the growth of bone. Comfrey is a must have for the first aid herbal kit because it has demulcent, astringent and vulnerary herbal properties that make it ideal to treat any type of injury whether it be sinew, bone, tissue or flesh.

Its powerful cell regeneration is mainly due to its allantoin content and has a calcium type of effect that stimulates cell production that repairs collagen, connective tissue and bone.

Comfrey has tannins that produce so much astriction, that means tightening together of the skin, that stitches might be avoided.

It’s mucilage content is demulcent, sweet and moist relieving dryness, acute inflammation as well as swelling and provides good treatment for burns. It provides a protective coating that soothes, moistens and cools making it a good choice to treat any type of ulcers, internal or external, inside or out. It is also good to use for arthritis although the mechanisms of how it works are still a mystery.

It is also a nutritious restorative having many vitamins and minerals in it along with other healing properties.

COMFREY USES:

Permaculture- Working with the biodynamic forces of nature

There are countless uses for Comfrey in the garden adding much-needed nutrients and enriching the soil. Comfrey does not compete for nutrients with trees so it is ideal to plant around fruit trees.
It attracts beneficial insects and earthworms while it breaks up compacted soil and draws up nutrients.

The many uses in the garden include:

Compost- add to compost
Mulch- chop and drop mulch
Fertilizer- green manure
liquid fertilizer provides nutrients like potassium

FIRST AID MEDICINE:
Powerful cell and bone regenerator.
Stimulates the growth and healing of bone, flesh, connective tissues, collagen.

*Note that for broken bones it is important they are set in the right place first before using comfrey to knit the bone together. If in any doubt about your injury please see a doctor for proper diagnosis first before applying comfrey.

Heals any injury, ulcers external and internal.
Use Comfrey leaves and root  externally in the form of poultice, compresses, ointments, tea infusions or tincture. The fresh tincture is the best choice for serious injuries with pain or mix it with clay.

There are other species of comfrey Russian comfrey and prickly comfrey and they are all used in the same way, but the officinale species is the one herbalists use the most.

It is from the Borage family and like borage it has pyrrolizidine  alkaloids that have some cautions attached to it regarding internal use, but caution comes from animal testing using isolated alkaloid constituents in high doses for long periods. There have been no human fatality cases reported.

Do not use internally when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, avoid long-term internal high dosage use due to potential liver damage.

The alkaloids are least concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5 times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.

Common Name  Comfrey herb/ root
Latin Name  Symphytum   officinale
Family Boraginaceae
Parts Used Perennial-   flowers mid June to July pick from before flowering to mid flowering/ root rhizome- Fall/ Spring
Target Organs skin, mucus   membranes, skeletal-muscular, connective tissue, collagen, bones, respiratory, digestive, stomach,
Common Uses External use only: broken bones, fractures, scars, ulcers, wounds, abrasions, burns, sunburn, bites, stings, bruises, dislocation, varicose veins, sprains, strains, any injury, periodontitis, pharyngitis, eye infections,
Internal use with supervision for inflammation and ulcers of the digestive tract, colitis,
Properties astringent,   demulcent, vulnerary, anodyne, emollient, tonic, pectoral
Constituents Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, mucilage, gum,   tannin, allantoin, Essential Oil, triterpenes, resin, inulin, choline,   protein, steroidal saponins, mucopolysaccharide 29%, phenolic acids, vitamins   A, B12, C, E, mineral iron, calcium, phosphorus, trace minerals
Cautions Medium strength: Mainly external use only. Do not use internally   when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and   caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrolizidine alkaloids   avoid long-term high dosage use due to potential liver damage. There have been no human fatality cases reported all research backing this toxicity claim were conducted on animals using using isolated alkaloid constituents and not the whole plant. The alkaloids are least   concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times   the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5   times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher   in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.
Dosage the average dose is 10 g or 2-4mls of tincture
January 7, 2013

Basil Herb

Basil is an annual herb that likes full sun.  It is best known for being used in Italian cooking and making pesto

basil docBasil is easy to grow in the summertime either from seed or seedlings. Do not store basil in the fridge it does not like the cold and will turn an off colour. Trim the stalks and store in a pint glass with water on the counter which makes it easier to use in cuisine.

Common Name  Basil herb
Latin Name  Ocimum basilicum
Family Lamiaceae (Mint)
Parts Used annual herb picked all through summer
Target Organs digestion, nerves, respiratory, urinary, reproductive system
Common Uses Digestive conditions: digestive upset, gas, bloating, inflammation, liver congestioninfections, digestive, IBS, mucus colitis, nausea, pain,

Nervous system: tension, stress, nervousness,   fever, headache, exhaustion, depression,  fatigue(mental, physical)

Respiratory: flu, congestion, coughs, colds,  sinusitis, asthma

Reproductive system: infertility, Nutritive

Head: headaches, earache (external use only with essential oil), migraines

Used as insect repellent and for treating insect stings and bites.

Properties Anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-depressant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, astringent, emmenagogue, expectorant, digestive, relaxant, nervine, nutritive, hepatic, carminative, stimulant, warming, tonic,
Constituents Phenylpropanoids: eugenol, trans methyl isoeugenol,Monoterpene alcohols: linalool, geraniol,

Oxide: cineole

Phenol: methyl chavicol-40-50% Methyl ester: methyl cinnamate,

Monoterpenes: pinene, camphor, ocimene, mycrene, terpinolene,

Sesquiterpenes: caryophyllene, terpinolene;

Tannins 5%, saponins, flavones, ursolic acid

Cautions Mild remedy. Do not use during pregnancy
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml               Tea: 2 tsp steep 10 min

 

September 29, 2012

Making Wildflower mud seed bombs

Wildflower Power Movement: Making wildflower mud seeds ‘bombs’

 As a response to cities ripping out wild gardens that people have planted for growing food and a sense of community, make some wildflower mud bombs to seed cities and other areas with wild flowers and plants.  Looking down on the earth from a plane in the sky, square green boxes are all the eye can sometimes see and one wonders where have all the wildflowers gone? Turf the square green turf and return the wildflowers!!! Make sure you plant native flowers for your area.

here are some other strange alternatives :D

http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html

Making Wildflower Mud Seed Bombs:

Packets of wildflower seeds or any seeds you want to grow

Mud or plant soil, compost

Mix seeds in soil in 5:1:1 ratio. Wet soil and form into mud balls

Throw mud seed bombs wherever you want them grow.

Best time to mud seed bomb is right before rainy days.  Even if the flowers don’t grow, birds will eat the seeds. Their food supply has dwindled due to monoculture in society and lack of wildflowers.  

June 16, 2012

What’s blooming in the Garden?

What is blooming in the garden? It feels like everything! Plants are blooming so fast, I turn around and it is almost summer. More delicious smells and tastes emerge :) I wish I could capture them all!

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June 1, 2012

Oregano herb

Oregano is a perennial herb but in colder climates it may become an annual, but it might come back every year. Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region and warm temperate western and south-western Eurasia parts so it likes it hot and sunny.

Oregano grows from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. The tiny purple or white flowers 3–4 mm long grow in erect spikes and in clusters around the stem.

Oregano about to flower surrounded by Viola flowers

Fresh or dried Oregano is used in Italian cooking and it is stronger than Marjoram.

Consider Marjoram Origanum majorana Oregano’s sister.

Common Name Oregano herb
Latin Name Origanum vulgare
Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial- herb picked in spring/summer growing season
Target Organs Digestion, stomach, respiratory, nervous system, musculo-skeletal, female reproductive
Common Uses Digestion:digestive stomach upset, gas, bloating, indigestion,  inflammation, liver congestion, infections

Respiratory:sinus congestion, infections, coughs, colds, flu, sore throat, bronchitis

Nervous system: Stress, fatigue, mental, physical

Musculo-skeletal: Arthritis, aches, stiffness, pain,

Female Reproductive: balancing, spasms

Culinary medicinal

Properties Antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory (general, local) antioxidant, antiprotozoal, antirheumatic, antispasmodic(digestive, respiratory, uterine) antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, astringent, warming carminative, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, stimulating emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, rubefacient, stomachic, uterine relaxing/stimulating, vasodilator,
Constituents Essential Oil Yield: .2%  Esters: linalyl/geranyl acetatePhenols:63% carvacrol, thymol,Monterpene alcohols:50% borneol

Monoterpenes:10-40%, paracymene, terpinenes, cymene, caryophyllene, pinene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole,

Other: coffeic/ursolic/rosmarinic acids, gum, tannins, bitter, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron

Cautions Mild remedy in tincture form
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea: 1-2 tsp essential oil always dilute
May 29, 2012

Easy Grow Herb Combo

For an easy herb planter partner combination that comes back every year with no maintenance plant: Thyme and Chives!

Chives

Chives are an onion tasting herb that are hardy and are grown in pots or in the ground and come back every year bigger and better. The purple flowers which bloom in spring are edible and make a great garnish in soups. Garlic chives have white flowers that bloom later in the summer and they taste more like garlic. They have flat leaves instead of round tubes like purple flower onion chives.

Thyme

There are many varieties of thyme that are hardy and easy to grow. Thyme is a sturdy sub-shrub and there are creeping and hanging varieties. There are different flavours of thyme and many chemotypes to choose from.

This is my planter I took out of the garage and I haven’t added annuals yet or done anything to it, and the thyme and chives keep coming back every year. This is the second year for this pot.

Partner herb combo:

Plant chives or garlic chives in the middle of the planter pot, and place thyme around it. You can plant a hanging thyme, a creeping thyme and a regular thyme or leave some room for annuals to fill in during the growing season. This planter keeps coming back every year even when I overwinter it in the garage. This herb planter is (dare I say) easy to grow by anyone anywhere.

Enjoy fresh herbs! 

 

May 23, 2012

Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot ~ Tussilago farfara L. is one of the first wild flowers to bloom in Ontario in spring time.

Coltsfoot grows all around Georgian Bay and prefers to grow near water in wetter areas near stream banks and ditches. It looks like dandelion flowers and it is from the same Aster family. The flowers resemble a bent horse leg before and after flowering because they nod.

The leaves appear after the flowers have gone to fluffy seed that fly through the air in puffy white little clouds.

The leaves look lung shaped and treat lung conditions helping to reduce inflammation and spasms. It is mildly bitter, demulcent, astringent and cooling.

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Common Name Coltsfoot leaves/ flowers
Latin Name Tussilago farfara
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial flowers bloom first in spring and then turn to seed, leaves follow in May/ June
Target Organs respiratory, throat
Common Uses Lungs: acute chronic lung chest infections, irritating dry coughs, External leaves: wounds, bruises,
Properties relaxing/ secretolytic expectorant, demulcent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, diuretic, anti-catarrhal, emollient
Constituents Flowers: flavonoids: rutin, carotene, taraxanthin, arnidiol, farfardiol, tannin, Essential oilsLeaves:mucilage, polysaccharides, tannin, bitter glycosides, inulin, sitosterol, zinc

Traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, hormonal substances, calcium, magnesium, sodium, trace minerals

Cautions Due to traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids do not use for extended periods of time at high dosages. Do not use with children under the age of 8, during pregnancy or lactation.
Dosage Tincture: 2-5ml                Tea: 6-14g
May 15, 2012

Garlic mustard greens

Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata L.

Garlic mustard

is another wild nutritious edible green food that has A, some B and C vitamins in it.

Garlic mustard is an alien invasive weed that displaces native plants so pick as much as you would like to eat. It is a biennial that flowers in the second year.

Garlic mustard

Eat it raw in salads or use it as a herb, the stem cut be cut like chives or use the leaves. Garlic mustard is also steamed, sautéed or cooked in soup and stews, eaten as a side green or made into pesto.

Garlic mustard flower

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