Gardens & Ecology · Herbalism

Herb Gardening — growing a backyard apothecary

Calendula plants & valerian growing in filtered light of the front yard.

I’m “home” – in the suburban Californian landscape of my childhood. Being here again, after a couple years away, has fueled a desire to reconnect with this land and get started on gardening projects right away. In my garden in Argentina I usually focus on vegetables but this garden is all about medicinal herbs which are well suited for this dry landscape.

This particular spot in the front yard was once 100% covered in English Ivy. Under the ground cover the soil is very dry and densely compacted. My mom and I plan to build a kind of rock garden with succulents, native grasses & flowers tucked in. Slowly I began by pulling away all Ivy by hand and loosening the soil with a pitchfork.

This project will certainly take days, or more likely weeks of work and transplanting – I will keep you all posted on my progress towards a water wise front yard landscape in upcoming blog posts. Meanwhile, there are so many other gardening gigs under way, my parents property isn’t large but, there are tons of nooks and crannies where we have planted medicinal and culinary herbs over the years we have collaborated growing here.

Volunteering in other gardens in town:

Helping out in other gardens is an integral part of learning and become a better gardener. One place that I love to visit is that if my parent’s neighbor’s nursery which is located in a nearby town of Davis. Usually I help out a day a week during my month long stays. My labor is rewarded with a generous tray of plants and/or fresh herbs collected from the garden. That day I helped pot up herbs to be sold in the coming weeks at her nursery and in return was gifted Motherwort, Hops, Hysopp, and more!

These herbs will be planted in and around my parent’s garden in their front & back yard. Most are perennials and will be there for years to come; to harvest from and make medicine with. Other plants I was gifted are totally new to me, like Japanese Indigo & Anise Hyssop and with investigation I will learn how to encourage them into dying projects and my herbalism practice.

Products of the Garden :: each visit I capture a bit of the medicine in bottles. These are two tinctures (alcohol infused with medicinal properties of the herbs) that I am using these days:

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