Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
[ Member listing ]

My gardens. My legacy.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.My gardens are my legacy. Somehow or another I've wandered. I have to wander. I have to give. I get antsy and dreamy. I love excitement, new land and change and growth. Barefoot and barehanded from the ground up, I build a new garden. It's what I do.  It's a gift to myself and my kids and the community for those here now and those to come. I like to start gardens and play in them for a while and pull people into them. Show them the miracle.  That's what I love....and then I move on. I leave this beauty for those wandering in after me.  I'm a vagabond gardener and I guess I'm ok with that. I leave a bit of my heart in the land where ever I roam...it's my gift.


I can picture each and every garden I've tickled, or has tickled me...

From that old neglected acre of fruit trees in my high school Ag class, to the mini alfalfa garden for the fat little guinea pigs, or my own little food and medicine gardens that tend to get bigger each and every year, and the community gardens that I give my heart to and ask nothing in return and all the gardens of friends and loved ones I've dug my hands into and beyond. Heh, I even dream of new ones waiting for me. Each unique. Each very special. Each stuffed with food and medicines and those lessons that can't be found anywhere else ever. Tons and tons of lessons. Lessons for those who wish to learn....

There is hard earned sweat and joy. Disappointment. Patience. Oh and those blackberry claws that reach out for your attention, and the spruces that wanna braid your hair and those milk thistle pokies arguing with you over their trusty seeds. And callouses....lots of callouses and mud filled finger nails. Smiles. Good health. Muddy sweat smeared foreheads. Hose drinks and tears. That big ol silly raven turd on the one flower you waited all damn season to get a peek of or the green nibblings stuck in your teeth that only another garden nibbler would tell you about. Bounty and reward. Abundance. Giggling kids and the neighbors' recommendations and stories and those dandelion warnings. Questions. Once you get someone in the garden, they see the miracles. And they don't wanna leave.

I like to build gardens and memories and give them away....



Spiral

I like to take a piece of dry, un-loved, dusty cracked dirt and breath my life right into it, water it with my sweat, tears and spilled cups. And feed it silly plant jokes and childlike laughter. Well, and probably some animal poo or two...and some comfrey tea.  I like to introduce myself to the land, give to it and let the land introduce herself to me. She gives me a garden to love and to learn from, and then we pass it on.


Sometimes I get a little sad. I'll sit and recall past gardens and green-spots and lush flowery nooks and just long to revisit them, like I long for a long lost childhood pet or old friend. I know some grew into other earth caring hands and some were neglected and some probably turned into happy wild thriving green motherwort, tansy and lemon balm beasts by their own will. Nature does have its way of doing what she wants. I suppose some have even been destroyed, but I created them, it's my keepsake and that's good enough for me.

Garden My life is my dream, my dream is my work, my work is my gardens, and my gardens are my legacy. Each day I wake and want to share my world. I want to excite children and really big children about the soil and the worms and the veins or hairs on a leaf and the free and wild foods and medicines. I want to make a whole new playground for the moths and the snails. I want to see my hair up there in the birds' nests. It might be a tiny domestic garden or the earths wild gigantic garden but I want to share all about it, teach about, squeeze hug it and pass this love on. I want to grow more intriguing garden eyes.  I want to share the miracles.

I've been enjoying watching my life unfurl and spiral on. Seeing where it goes and what I accomplish and learn. The lives I'm lucky to wander into and the children who constantly remind me to live fearlessly and in awe. And to leave a trail....a trail of bird seed that always spouts up free gorgeous orange safflowers and yellowy sunflowers and pink and purple thistles galore. And that one must leave a trail of muddy toe prints through the kitchen in order to get to mommas icy mint tea. Because all toe tracks are cute. And to chomp those juicy tomatoes and peaches and munch the pineapple weed and blow those dandy seeds to the sky. And that all gardens need a watering hole. And a mud hole. And I will remind them to leave a trail....a trail of amazingness. And a garden.

And I've come to find that with each new home and each new place, that I rarely walk into a garden made by someone else. No I don't. So I build one because that's what I do. The bare lonely soil likes to seek me out. It pulls me to it. It tells me what to do and what to grow and what to just watch grow. It teaches me balance. It tells me that the lamb's quarters and purslane are just as beautiful and remarkable as the calendula and roses and that they taste even better..... and that the yarrow fixes dang near everything. And that cayenne will stop bleeding in two seconds and make your homegrown yummy pinto beans better. And by golly, everything likes to be tossed into soup! And that trees are perfect shoulders for hammocks and give their free shade and food and medicine. And the malva....it taught me to never neglect. Everyone should love the malva. She's gonna grow whether you like her or not anyway. I like to be a gentle pushing reminder of these things and I will continue down my mossy green path and toss little food and medicine gardens here and there until I can't anymore.

Curves



















So I do, I'm a vagabond gardener and I guess I'm ok with that. I leave a bit of my heart in the land where ever I roam...it's my gift.

And here I am. Starting over again. Working the land, working on my next garden, my next legacy. Tickling it and letting it tickle me....one I know I soon will leave. But the neighborhood kids play in it. The birds and the bees and the squirrels sing in it. The mailman passes it each day with a smile. It's got my trusty yellow sprinkler and my piggy watering can and my foot prints embedded in it.  And it's small and it's wild and it's frugal... but it gives. Just like me.

wheelbarrow





























As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Fan me on Facebook - Morgan Botanicals

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, Herbalist

 

 

 

 
 

Oh My.....Tomatillo

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Tomatillos are perhaps one of my favorite and most prized fruits. They're not only fun to grow (as they are incredibly beautiful plants) but they are rich in flavor and yummy to eat.

This native of Mexico, which is much like a tomato, dates back to at least 800 B.C. and has for a long time been cultivated there, but has never really caught on elsewhere. For a plant which is so rich in flavor, productive and easy to grow, this is surprising. In Mexican cuisine the tomatillo is important, replacing tomatoes which have come to be used in their place in other countries, particularly in salsa or other sauces for meat. I love how they impart a unique tanginess which tomatoes never quite attain.

The tomatillo is a member of the Solanaceae family (the nightshades: tomato, potato, eggplant, etc.) and should be taken into account for your crop rotation plan. Physalis ixocarpa and phladelphica are the most common varieties grown but there are several. Most nurseries sell Physalis ixocara as the principal Tomatillo species. But, you can find many varieties of seeds which may include large yellow or green fruits as well small purple ones.

If you have never grown tomatillos before just remember that they are sun loving, warm weather crops and love the heat. You'll want to choose a site that gets full sun and has well-drained soil that’s not too rich. A pH reading that’s close to neutral (7.0) is good for them. Simply water and feed while fruits are forming. I pick my tomatillos as soon as they are large enough to be useful and continue picking until frost.

So for those of us who are picking our tomatillos right now (and I say this in pure excitement!) thank goodness there are so many ways to use this abundance of fruit. I myself enjoy salsas, verdes, fried, or any where I want some tang.

Here is a simple and delicious recipe for Tomatillo Jam - Enjoy!

 Tomatillo Jam

  • 3 cups cleaned tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 1/2 cups organic sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic butter (optional)
  • 2 pouches of powdered fruit pectin
  1. Follow basic instructions for Jam making. (cleaning jars and preparing canner)
  2. Finely chop or grind tomatillos. Measure exactly three cups into sauce pot and add lemon juice.
  3. Stir in sugar, add butter if desired, (this reduces foaming) and bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin and return to full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any excess foam.
  5. Ladle jam quickly into clean jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe, seal and place into canner. Water must cover jam jars by at least and inch.
  6. Cover and bring to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to completely cool. After cooling, check for proper seal, if lid springs back refrigeration is necessary.

This is the perfect spread across Chili Scones or homemade Corn Tortillas.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Crazy About Chia!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Chia is often found growing on sunny hillsides, disturbed fields, prairies, and plains throughout the West and often after fires. This member of the sage family (Salvia columbariae) is very aromatic and worth growing. Chia will grow anywhere from 6- 24 inches tall and will have as many as 5 flower heads per stalk. The leaves are opposite, mostly basal and up to 4 inches long.

Seeds of this plant and the related species, S. mexicana, were an important food to the Indians and early settlers. These seeds are not only nutritious but easily digested. Some Indian tribes believed that a tablespoon of chia seed would give a warrior enough energy to go on a 24-hour forced march. When moistened, the seeds become mucilaginous and can be used to calm an upset stomach or made into poultices for topical wounds. If placed under the eyelid before retiring, this will help clean dirt from the eyes.

I think chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods known to man, and besides providing an enormous amount of energy, they are high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and calcium.  These seeds are a good option for a child or adolescent, the pregnant women, vegetarian, or athletes and weight lifters who need that extra protein in their diet.

So what to do with all these Chia seeds you wonder? Well, Chia can be eaten raw, sprouted, roasted, or ground as a mush or as flour for bread. I mix them into meat loaf, breads and smoothies. One of my favorite ways to use them though is as a popular drink in Mexico called Agua de chia or Chia Seed Water. Here a great recipe to try at home.

Agua de Chia

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 2 quarts pure water
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice, or to taste
  • A sprinkling of powdered cinnamon

1. Soak chia seeds in water until they soften and take on a spongy consistency.

2. Sweeten the 2 quarts of water with the sugar, stirring to dissolve, and add the chia seeds and citrus juice.

2. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve chilled.

 -Enjoy!

Find Chia seeds in my Local Harvest Store. 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Yummy Yummy Sheep Sorrel

Jessica Morgan, M.H.Sheep Sorrel is one of my favorite "weeds". It's an ubiquitous weed in gardens, pastures, meadows, and lawns; and persists in areas of poor drainage and low soil fertility; in gravelly sterile fields; and is very difficult to eradicate. But, well worth planting in the garden!

Rumex acetosella has many common names, but the most common are sheep sorrel, red sorrel, and field sorrel. Flowers are typically yellow to red with male and females on different plants. Sheep sorrel is a small to medium sized plant; not taking up too much room in the garden.

There are several uses of sheep sorrel in the preparation of food including a garnish, a tart favoring agent and a curdling agent for cheese, in pesto, soups and omelett recipes. The leaves have a lemony, tangy/ tart flavor and are excellent in a salad.

Here's one of may favorite recipes for Sheep Sorrel Pesto

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh sorrel leaves with ribs removed
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon good salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Simply puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender and transfer the pesto to a jar with a tight fitting lid and chill it, covered. The pesto keeps, covered and chilled, for 2 weeks.
Makes about 1 cup

A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. It also has certain astringent properties and uses. Other historical uses include that of a vermifuge  as the plant allegedly contains compounds toxic to intestinal parasites and worms.

Looking for seeds? You can buy Sheep Sorrel Seeds here in my Local harvest Store.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Plants Used As Dyes

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 My mother taught me how to sew when I was a little girl. To this day I still make a lot of my own clothes, quilts, and anything else I have time for. With my love of plants it just seemed natural that I learn to dye my own cloth and yarn.

Dyeing with plants isn't a new thing though, it's an ancient craft and the techniques are well established. Textiles have been livened up with natural plant and animal pigments for centuries. It is amazing to think that some of these are still around today like antique tapestries, brocades, and embroideries- still rich with color.

My goal isn't to teach you how to dye, just to inform those who save twigs, spent flowers, seeds and other plant stuff, that you can do more with them then toss them into the compost heap. Color is one of the most beautiful attributes of a plant and using dyes from them is a great way to "save" their colors when the seasons change, whether it's in cloth or a basket of natural yarns. And if done right, it is possible to create a full spectrum of colors.

Some of my favorite plants include black walnut, marigold, hollyhocks, purple basil, elderberries, coreopsis, goldenrod, ivy, nettle, onion, wallflower, oh and the list just goes on and on. Basically plants that grow around me. I have used lichen as well, but as a botanist with respect for these fragile plants, I have only collected certain species. With plants you can achieve some of the most beautiful natural colors in nature.

Gardeners always find room in their gardens to grow new plants that catch their attention. I hope you make some space for a little dye garden and enjoy the colors all year long.

Please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

 Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 
 

Yarrow...A Local Favorite

Jessica Morgan, M.H.Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) belongs to the sunflower family and can be recognized by its highly segmented leaves (millefolium means "thousand leafed"), and the clusters of daisy-like white or lavender umbel shaped flowers at the top of the stalk. The entire plant is strongly aromatic and similar to mothballs ( as fresh or dried yarrow repels moths). This drought tolerant plant can easily be grown in most yards and responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained. It is frost hardy and can easily be grown from seed and/or division. It is a perfect addition to an ornamental bed or border, as well as the herb garden. Seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than a quarter inch. Seeds also require a germination temperature of 65-75°F.  Yarrow is a weedy species and can become invasive so should be divided every other year, and planted 12 inches apart. You can find Yarrow Seeds here in my Local Harvest Store.


Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body with cold and flu symptoms as well as breaking fevers. I like mixing yarrow with elderflower and peppermint for an effective fever reducer for my family. Simple yarrow herb tea has also been used in the past for stimulating appetite, helping stomach cramps, flatulence, gastritis, enteritis, gallbladder and liver ailments and also aids internal hemorrhage - particularly of the lungs.

Externally, yarrow has been used for all sorts of external wounds and sores from chapped or broken skin to sore nipples and varicose veins. I include yarrow in my Sitting Pretty Sitz Bath because it is one of the best herbal antiseptic and hemostatic herbs that help stop bleeding and prevent infection in tears from child birth.

Although yarrow should not be used internally during pregnancy, it is otherwise a very safe herb and is a good first herb in the home apothecary for the beginning herbalist. You can find dried Yarrow Herb here in my Local Harvest Store.

***Use yarrow with caution if you are allergic to ragweed. Its use is not recommended while pregnant.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 
RSS feed for Morgan Botanicals blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll