Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gardening in OUR Neck of the Woods!

Since the weather has warmed up to 60-ish, I decided to devote time to my little gardens this week. Living in the woods has its bonuses for Mr. Wonderful - there is very little mowing to do. Most of the ground is covered in mosses and short grass, or periwinkle and wild violets. Grass cutting is minimal! When we first moved here, we tried (unsuccessfully) to put in a lawn. But then, we thought "What were we thinking?" I'm sure it would add more color, but the natural forest floor is attractive, even with bare patches and minimal growth. And, it adds to the camp-like atmosphere.

One plant I did look up was Solomon's Seal. I found FALSE Solomon's Seal growing in abundance all through the woods. Note the yellow flower at the tip - that is the 'tip-off' to the false variety! They will turn snowy white, and look to me like sparklers on the 4th of July! Click picture to enlarge. Later on, the blooms will change to bright red berries, which will become seeds to ensure the plant species survives. Click pictures to enlarge. The photo I added below is the TRUE variety. I was delighted to find it dotted here and there, in the woods AND in my yard! If you enlarge the picture, you will see the hanging 'bean-looking' flower buds that later will become seeds, enabling this little beauty to spread far and wide into the forest. The root (see below) is a rhizome and it is said that the circular scar left by the stem after it breaks away from the root resembles the seal of Solomon of Hebrew folklore. (Also known as the Star of David.)You can estimate the plant's age by examining the rhizome. Each year the stem leaves a scar, or "seal" on the rhizome. Counting these will give you an idea of how long your plant has been alive.
I found this interesting description of the uses of Solomon's Seal herb, and thought I would share it with you:
A medicinal infusion of root or rhizome, is used in alternative medicine as an astringent, demulcent, and tonic. The dried herb is taken as a laxative and restorative, and is good in inflammations of the stomach, indigestion, profuse menstruation, lung ailments, general debility, bowels, piles, and chronic dysentery. A medicinal poultice of the fresh roots is said to fade bruises, also applied to cuts and sores.

"Medicinal" tea: To 1 tsp. dried herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep for 10 min. sweeten to taste, take in the morning as laxative.

I find the next part - the Folklore - a bit amusing as well as horrifying now, but ages ago when it was first written, the author was dead serious!


Once believed to have aphrodisiac properties, and used in love potions. More than likely due to its ability to stop profuse menstruation. Gerard says: 'The roots of Solomon's Seal, stamped while it is fresh and greene and applied, taketh away in one night or two at the most, any bruise, blacke or blew spots gotten by falls or women's wilfulness in stumbling upin their hastie husband's fists, or such like.'

I hope your day is a pleasant one - and happy gardening!


Angela said...

The last sentence is just too scary! Women sure have came a long way in the world since that was written!

Infrared Goggles said...

Oh, I love your botanical discussion! Herbs are a long-time hobby, and I enjoy finding them growing in the wild. Great photos, too!

Barb said...

Hey girl, thanks for coming by.

Interesting information and story about that plant, especially the folklore. =0))

barbara jean

Bumpkin Bears said...

I'm glad I found your blog, I've loved your garden photos. Catherine