Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Plant a Pest Repellent Herb Garden This Spring

I taught a class at our local college on Herbal Theme Gardens. We discussed serenity gardens, apothocary gardens, and a tea garden. On one side of my patio I have my apothocary garden, calendula, chamomile, St. Johns Wart, Lavender, Yarrow, Catnip, and waiting until the ground is warm, comfrey and arnica.

We had an awning over the patio last summer due to the intense sun we have in our back yard from early morning until late in the evening. This year's unusual frequent snows, brought it crashing down, and I have been trying to decide what to do. After looking for patio umbrellas this morning on (you know they have free or 2.95 shipping!) I think I have settled on a large one that swings out over a pole. This is the first year I have seen them and they are heavy duty and may be manipulated to provide shade as the sun moves.

Thinking back over last year's mosquito problem, I have decided an insect repellent herb garden needs to be on the other side of the patio.
Plants to include are Rosemary and Peppermint. You can crush the leaves and stems and rub them over the areas these critters like to bite; behind the knees, ankles, inside the elbow, and behind the ear. Or maybe you are like me, and any uncovered part is fair game. Catnip, Wormwood (southernwood), tansy, and feverfew, as well as mints, lavender, thyme, lemongrass, basil, and sage are reported to repel a variety of insects. Many of these can be planted in pots to place near steps or your front, or back door and any entertaining area. The pots can moved around where they are needed.

Like any room you may be decorating, a few accessories will provide color and interest. Gazing balls, birdfeeders, chimes, and birdbaths, as well as fountains, gathered around a comfortable chaise lounge creates a welcome respite.
The beautiful herb garden pictured above is from

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Herbal Healing Salve for Dogs

Our dog Corky is 98 years old (in dog years of course). He has always been a scratcher and biter and frequently has reddened irritated areas on his legs. I think he has an obsessive compulsive disorder. . .
I have been working on several recipes to develop a salve for dogs to add to my other pet products and finally came up with this final product. "Bow Wow Boo Boo's" It is made with olive oil infused with calendula and chammomile, which offer healing qualities, shea butter, (skin soother)and the essential oils of lavender (healing, antibacterial) and tea tree oil (antibacterial).

The calendula and chammomile have been infusing in the windowsill for about 2 weeks. Shea butter was melted into the strained oil then beeswax was added and slowly microwaved in short pulses (30 seconds) until melted. After it was cooled down a little, I added the tea tree oil and lavender and poured into 2 oz tins. $4.95 on my website

I have made up several to take to the ChattanoogaEcoExpo in April, and I am mailing several out to local stores to see if they will place in their shops.
A word of caution, essential oils should not be used on cats. You could make this product with just the infused oil, shea butter, and beeswax for a cat.

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