Borage

Borage plant is also known as Star Flower. It is an edible herb. The plant flourishes in sunny areas. It is native and grows wild in the Mediterranean. It re-seeds and creates little Borage plants everywhere. This plant can become invasive. I didn’t know this when I first started growing Borage.

It has a hollow stem with bristly hairs on the surface. The herb has broad oval-shaped, dark green fuzzy leaves. The borage plant has a cucumber aroma and taste. The deep blue flower has five pedals, which resembles a star. This adorable blue, star shaped flower grows in clusters. The plant can grow to be 3 ft tall and can spread out to be 3 ft wide as I have learned. It is cultivated and used widely throughout Europe for its healing properties.

The best time to harvest the young tender leaves is when the flower buds begin to appear. The young tender leaves can be used in salads. The older leaves can be used as greens. Like you would use spinach. As the plant begins to age, the leaves become tougher. They also become much more fuzzy and begin to taste bitter. I personally like to use the flowers in ice cubes and salads.

There are a lot of health benefits that this plant offers. The leaves, flower and oil are all used for medicinal purposes. Drying this herb will lose its effect. The leaves and flowers are used fresh.

Making Elderberry Syrup

Making elderberry syrup is simple.

Making Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is often compared to Tamiflu. I discovered it last year when I caught a coughing virus that lasted three weeks. I was looking for something more natural to take. Cough syrup is not all that desired in the taste department. I’m not a doctor or herbalists but I love this stuff. Every time I make a batch I end up sharing some with my family and friends. It is something that everyone should try. So far almost everyone loves it. However, I have had a couple of people, not like it. So I recommend buying a bottle and trying it first before investing the money in buying everything that is needed to create your own syrup.

Jars and honey is ready

Elderberry syrup is expensive to buy. It is much cheaper and easy to make yourself. It is around ten dollars for 4 ounces buying it at a store. And it comes out to be less than five dollars for a pint of it when making your own. I bought mine pre-made the first time I used it. But quickly learned how good it is and wanted to learn to make my own.  I believe it is worth the effort to make it yourself. Especially if you have family and friends. Because once they discover how great it works. You will be sharing the elderberry syrup with them every time you make a batch. 

Adding cinnamon, ginger and clove

Elderberry syrup has a sweet honey taste. One of its main ingredients is honey. It can be taken once a day as a preventative. Or 3-4 times a day when sick. Adults can use a tablespoon serving. And children use teaspoon servings. When using it as a preventative make sure and take the weekends off. Because you don’t want to develop a tolerance. I personally only use the daily doses when around kids and during the flu season.

Cheese cloth for straining

Elderberries can never be eaten raw. They are extremely dangerous without cooking them first. Once you learn how to prepare the berries for consumption, the rest is pretty easy. Elderberry has a long history of culinary and medicinal uses.

For the recipe click the link

https://www.surrealgardening.com/herbs/elderberry.html

Cup full of elderberries

Holy Basil or Tulsi

I love to buy herbs and watch them grow. Most herbs I can make tea out of. So I really enjoy growing them so I can drink them. My friends and family do come over and graze off of my plants. But mostly I just love my yard smelling good. Growing many different herbs brings some wonderful aromas into the garden.

Holy Basil flowering

I came across a herb called Holy Basil or Tulsi. It is native to India where it has been used for thousands of years. And yet I am finding out about this little magical herb in the spring of 2018.  Article after article flowed through my Facebook feed.  I thought what is a Holy Basil? And that very thought began my learning journey with this new yet very ancient herb. I have read so many articles about the health benefits of Holy basil and became very curious about how the tea actually tasted.

Holy Basil getting ready to flower

Then one day I was at my local hardware store over the summer and I came across a herb called Holy Basil in the nursery area. And I was like SCORE!!! I have been interested in you my new leafy friend. From the moment I picked it up and took a big whiff of its yummy fragrance I knew it was going to make a wonderful addition to my garden. So I took that little plant home and planted it in my yard. It moved in next to my cinnamon basil plant. It grew huge and beautiful.

Holy basil seeping

When the leaves are freshly picked they hold a spicy, peppery taste with a delicious combination of basil and mint flavors. It was finally time to taste this herb in its liquid form. Which happens to be my favorite way to consume herbs. And it tasted like it smelled. It is a very delicious and I highly recommend everyone to try it in liquid form.

Freshly washed Holy Basil

Holy basil is known as a super food. It is suppose to have a huge range of stress reducing benefits. It offers antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. It helps detoxify your body. It helps promote great health and makes your whole being feel amazing. I hope that my blog helps encourage you to try this wonderful ancient herb.

Where the Holy Basil lives next to the Cinnamon Basil

Greenhouse

Hexagonal walk-in Greenhouse with the door rolled up
Powder coated steel frame

I ordered a greenhouse the other day. It finally arrived. I am so excited. It is a 3-tier shelf hexagonal walk in greenhouse. It is 6.4′ in diameter and 7.4′ in height. It is made of PVC covering over a powder coated steel frame. All the pieces had letters on them. We just made little piles of everything. We read the directions and went step by step as we slowly put it together.  It took us about an hour to put it all together.

Zipper door

The zipper door will allow easy access to my plants. It will also be great for ventilation. I plan on leaving the door open most of the time. I will only close it due to extreme cold. I am a little bit nervous about how well it will hold up in a wind storm. I am going to tie it to the fence line and I did order a extra anchor set just to be safe. It is suppose to protect plants from extreme heat and extreme cold.

3-tier shelves on the inside

 I am hoping to be able to put a lot of my succulents in this for the winter. I still have a lot of decisions to make regarding who will be residing in this greenhouse through out the winter months. 


Hexagonal walk-in Greenhouse with the door down

Juniper Berry Tea

I grow a lot of herbs in the back yard. My favorite thing to do with the herbs that I grow is to make tea! There are so many health benefits involved with simply having a glass of tea. The plus side of this healthy liquid is simple. Tea is pretty delicious. I just love the idea that I am drinking the juices of a plant. I read somewhere that juniper tea was really good and had a lot of health benefits. So I wanted to give it a try. But I don’t grow that in my back yard. And finding organic juniper berry tea in the local store was a bit difficult. But lucky for me I already knew an amazing place to purchase organic teas. 

Buddha Teas is a place I trust. I mean it is not walking in the back yard and harvesting your own fresh pot of tea. But when you don’t grow it and want to enjoy it. Buddha is the way to go. They offer the convenience of purchasing tea at your fingertips. So I ordered a box of Organic Juniper Berry Tea. And I had a cup. It was tasty. And it was full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. My body was very grateful for that cup of liquid love. The more I research about this wonderful herb the more greatness is revealed to me. So thank you to whoever peeked my interest in Organic Juniper Berry Tea. I love it!

Did you know that juniper berry is the main flavoring agent in gin? If you enjoy gin maybe it time to thank a juniper tree for being alive. I am certainly grateful they are alive! 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Juniper click on the link! https://www.surrealgardening.com/herbs/juniperberries.html

Orange Peels and vinegar experiment

UPDATE: We have used the spray in the kitchen area, and definitely see a difference. The spray is so much nicer than the typical sprays available. Smells better and works as good, I will be making more.

We are testing the theory that orange peels soaked in vinegar for two weeks in a dark cupboard will produce a solution that will eliminate ants. In two weeks you drain, throw out the peels and add water 1:1. If you have a cup of vinegar you add a cup of water then put in a spray bottle.  Made ours today and will update in two weeks.

https://www.surrealgardening.com/

Orange peesl and vinegar
Orange peels soaking in vinegar

Herbs

Lavender Herbs
A handful of happiness

Having Garden Fresh Herbs always adds a unique flavor and look to your salads and other dishes, some make fantastic teas. It also adds just a little bit of protection from most health problems we all develop in later years. If you have, a nice sunny yard or window try growing a herb garden. They are one of the easiest gardens to grow and will do well with container gardening for those who have no room for a garden. [More]