Do you have a garden? If you do, how do you feel about weeding? We have several gardens on our property and weeding is just part of my summer routine. I don’t really mind it at all actually – I love getting my hands in the soil and actually find it quite meditative.
Recently I have become more interested in learning about the plants that flourish so abundantly in my garden beds. It is actually quite amazing how fast and prolific some species can be and I’ve been curious to know more about how these plants are ecologically valuable, edible, medicinal or sacred in some way.
Here is a little of what I’ve learned:
- Chickweed ~ Stellaria media: This plant is native to Europe that has widely naturalized in North America. Chickweed indicates tilled, fertile, nitrogen-rich soil and is excellent raw (in place or sprouts or salad) and is also delicious cooked. However it should only be eaten in limited amounts since it can cause an upset stomach for some.
- Common Horsetail ~ Equisetum arvense: Prefers acidic soils. Externally it was traditionally used for chilblains and wounds. It was also once used to polish pewter and wood (I’m definitely planning to try this!) and to strengthen fingernails (because of it’s high silica content).
- Common Plantain ~ Plantago major: Loves disturbed areas – I seem to be constantly pulling them out of my gravel driveway. If you can leave them to mature, the ripe seed heads can be used for bird food. Common Plantain is often referred to as the ‘soldier’s herb’ because it has been used over the centuries to treat wounds on the battlefields. Roman legions also used it in footwear to prevent blisters and the leaves can be chewed and the juices mixed with saliva to be spread on abrasions, burns or bee stings.
Kind of amazing right? Knowing more about all the plants in my environment makes me feel so much more connected with nature.
So over to you. Can you learn about at least one weed you see in your garden and share what you find out with us? Head over to my Facebook page, post a picture and what you’ve discovered.