Herbal Events at Madison Earth Care
More details coming soon...
With winter weather, inevitably comes the Common Cold. One of our Favorite natural remedies to ward off colds and flu and shorten the length of illnesses, is to mix up a big batch of Fire Cider.
What is Fire Cider?
Fire Cider is a name first made popular by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970’s. Fire Cider is a blanket term to describe any number of herbal preparations involving vinegar, honey, and spices. Almost always raw garlic, onion and ginger are used along with cayenne pepper. We like to add Fresh Turmeric when we have access to it for its bright flavor and anti inflammatory properties.
Because we Care what goes inside
Here at Madison Earth Care we spend the majority of our time in the presence of and caring for plants. It is our love of plants and the environment that has lead us on the path to providing completely natural and organic landscape care and maintenance to may of our clients. We feel that it is important to treat our bodies the same way. Just like using natural products to manage plants, we love finding natural remedies for us, as well.
But being natural isn’t enough though, it also has to work.
We first started making Fire Cider here a few years back at some of our first herbal winter workshops and we’ve been hooked ever since. The seemingly simple combination of onions, garlic, spices and herbs packs a powerful punch when infused with Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw Local Honey.
The resulting tonic is both Spicy, Sweet and effective. We like to keep ours at hand all winter. A bottle stashed in the desk drawer and one on the kitchen counter.
How is Fire Cider used?
Fire Cider can be taken by the dropper, shot or sip. It can also be used in the place of regular vinegar in salad dressings and marinades.
Please Join us
Make your own custom jar of Fire Cider at our “Make Your Own” Class here at The Garden Center on January 29th at 6 p.m.
You will go home with:
- 1 Pint Jar of your Own Custom Blended Fire Cider
- Recipes and use instructions
Class Fee $30
Please pre register with us as class size is limited. Call or email to sign up.
“The mindful gardener knows that every challenge will come and go but the joy of nature sustains the soul.” -Anonymous
Stop. Just stop. Stop measuring time by the passing of the blooms. For so long now, I have been doing this but I’m beginning to realize that it’s not a good thing. But it’s hard not to notice the changes of the seasons. The happy bulbs of spring are a distant memory. The Peonies are long gone and Sunflower, and even Corn, mazes are in full swing. The Lavender blooms are waning and the fall Anemones are blooming. The Maples have a slight tinge of fall color already peeking through. And Pumpkins and Mums have already begun arriving at stores. Before we know it, the autumn harvest will bring it all full circle and the process of closing the gardens will begin.
While all of this makes me a little sad, I’ve decided the best way to pull myself out of this rut is to practice mindful gardening. The noun form of mindful, mindfulness, is defined as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” Expanding on this definition of mindfulness by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I’d like to suggest that mindfulness also comes with intentional practice, compassion and gratitude. The phrase “moment to moment basis,” means living in the moment; a common expression these days. Another trendy expression is “enjoy the moment”. And so, while I love the change of seasons here in New England, even as I may feel melancholy bidding farewell to another season, I must discipline myself to enjoy each day in the garden, without thinking of what is past or what is next. Just live for today, noticing what mother nature has offered this day and practicing mindful gardening.
Today, I noticed the Monarch caterpillars, who have been feeding on the milkweed that I planted, have disappeared and I happily assume they have become the beautiful butterflies that are flying freely about my garden. The sound of bees, birds and cicadas at work calmed me. I counted almost a dozen pollinators on the Salvia that I planted earlier and a smile spread across my face. The hot summer sun soaked deep into my bones and felt nourished by the vitamin D. The colors of the garden reminded me of a Monet painting. I pulled a few weeds until I didn’t feel like it anymore, I’d get them later. Life is good in the moment. It does not mean there will be no more weeds or lily beetles or voles or powdery mildew or on and on the challenges go. It does not mean I will not face challenges and difficulties in the upcoming days. Indeed, I am sure I will be facing some big ones in the future, but for today, in my garden, life is OH SO GOOD!
Melissa Blundon, CANP, AOLCP
Madison Earth Care | Phone: 203-421-4358
“In the wild, where all things live free, the weeds may overcome the flower, but, when tamed in the garden, they can live side by side.”
This year, because of the abundance of rain and hot July temperatures, the weeds are absolutely thriving. This has made it very difficult to keep up with them. I’ve tried but, in the end, I have decided that the best thing to do is to make peace with the weeds. I have accepted that they will always be a part of the garden. I understand that, while weeds do need attention to keep from becoming overwhelming, we can learn to live with them.
The first step to living with them is knowing your plants and weeds. This knowledge and the ability to recognize a variety of different plants in different stages of growth, is helpful and prevents pulling out desirable ones. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a weed as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth, especially: one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.” This means that differentiating between weeds and plants comes down to what the “eyes of the beholder” considers desirable.
While some weeds can be invasive and overbearing, some can actually be valued and have beneficial qualities. For this reason, being able to identify different types and knowing which are serious trouble makers and which can be tamed is important. And, even if certain weeds are allowed to stay in the garden, they need close attention and monitoring. You will need to referee in order to ensure the weeds do not overcome other more desirable plants. In this way, the weeds can be tamed and even enjoyed in the garden. Some examples of plants that I sometimes allow in the garden are Violets (Viola), Wood Asters (Eurybia divaricate), Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), and Mullein (Mullein verbascum).
Unfortunately, there are certain weeds and situations when eradication is best or an absolute necessity. If possible, my favorite removal technique is to hand pull in these cases. I use herbicide as a last resort and, if I use it at all, I use an organic herbicide option. Another effective method is to spray vinegar, directly onto weeds at full strength on a sunny day. Other techniques that can be useful in eliminating weeds, without using chemicals, are boiling water, smothering and flame torching.
Just like the garden, in life the weeds are constant; unwanted problems or challenges, negative energies, unhealthy relationships or habits. These weeds can feel overwhelming at times, but just as in the garden, the first step in dealing with your weeds is knowing and making peace with them. You must learn to recognize which you can live with and which will choke you if not kept in check.
Melissa Blundon, CANP, AOLCP
Madison Earth Care | Phone: 203-421-4358