Tall Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

Thimbleweed is a graceful, interesting native Ozark plant that grows along forest edges (also native to many other areas of the eastern United States). It is most often found in the dappled shade of liminal spaces between forest and clearing.

Before sending up flower stalks, the plant is only about a foot tall.
Flowers of Thimbleweed, native to the Ozarks

The long slender flower stalks add an extra foot or two in total height. The stalks sway in the breezes, giving it one of its other common names, “windflower”.

Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

During the heat of July while out scouting for rocks – yes, rocks. I scout for plants, habitats AND rocks regularly.  Anyway, I spied the bristly elongated cones of Thimbleweed. Of course I had to zip back up to the house because I generally don’t carry along the camera while dealing with rocks.

Thimbleweed flower cones
Once the petals fall, the cone resembles a thimble, which is how the plant gets its common name.

Last year in late January I noticed the seed fluff getting ready to take flight. Of course I gathered some of the seedheads. In the course of my gathering, many were naturally released onto the breeze to reseed elsewhere, so no danger of over harvesting seeds from this one.

Thimbleweed gone to Seed
Thimbleweed gone to seed

Thimbleweed is another one of my favorite plants (I have quite a few “favorites”, haha) of the Ozarks. I didn’t get the seeds I’d gathered sown this spring but I’ll try again next year. If successful, I’ll have some of these graceful beauties to offer at the market booth and nursery.

Here’s a few links to pages with more information about Thimbleweed.

It has a history of medicinal use, but I’d enjoy this plant just because of its unique appearance.

It stands out in a crowds of weedy growth and I like that about it. That’s what I’m trying to do as a writer and blogger in a sea of other writers and bloggers, so we have something in common.

It’s a plant that should be easy enough to propagate, so hopefully it will also one day grace the “Plants” category in our online store. I should be able to begin offering plants by mail in a few months.

More info

Photos

Tall Thimbleweed plant, Anemone virginiana

 

 



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Armadillo Dilemma: To Kill or Not to Kill

Armadillo hide-out.
Armadillo hide-out.

So an armadillo moved into one of the ginseng nursery beds. It’s been a destructive force in the area since it arrived a couple of weeks ago.

What would you do? Kill the armadillo or let it live?

Why a dilemma to me?

First of all, I don’t like to kill anything unless we’re going to eat it. I’m not going to eat an armadillo.

But the armadillo is causing havoc. Wild Ozark grows wild-simulated American ginseng, which is indistinguishable from wild except on a genetic level.

The critter isn’t eating the ginseng, but the earthworms that live in the ginseng patch.

If I let this go and allow Nature to determine what happens next, the armadillo will continue to tear up ginseng rootlets as it hunts earthworms at night.

Armadillos are not native here. Neither are the earthworms. Am I native here? At least on a human-level, I think I am.

There is evidence that humans lived here many thousands of years ago. Not so for the cute little leprosy-hosting armored bandits. They migrated up from Texas, along with their road-runner friends.

At least the earthworms are beneficial and don’t harm the plant that is the  basis of our livelihood.

But the armadillo is also eating grubs, which are the larva of an insect (Japanese beetle) that also isn’t native. And the grubs do eat the roots of plants possibly including the ginseng.

So it could be doing me a service even if it is very destructive in the process.

Don’t fear the Armadillo-Leprosy connection

As a side-note, there’s no need to worry about the leprosy unless you’re cuddling armadillos. You can’t catch the disease just by inhabiting the same piece of ground.

If you do tend to play with wild animals, however, I’d leave the armadillo off of your list of critters to cuddle. Just in case. At least leprosy can be treated nowadays.

But that’s about as comforting to me as knowing that I can get rabies shots if I’m bitten by a rabid animal.  I’d just rather not.

Armadillo Decision

If I kill the armadillo, then I have interfered with Nature, right? If I don’t kill it, maybe it’ll help cut down on the Japanese beetle problem.

If I let the it live, then it will likely produce offspring, if it hasn’t already. Then those in turn will turn up even more of the nursery beds.

Even if it eats every last one of the grubs it’ll never run out of earthworms to devour. The grubs aren’t so much of an issue in our woods. The earthworms are doing a helpful job.

I feel that I myself am a natural part of Nature, and therefore have a right to defend territory I’ve marked as “mine”.

I’ll tell this to the invader later today. Then it can either leave or stay and face the consequences.

First I’ll try the live trap and relocation. If that doesn’t work, it’ll be on the hit list.

 



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

The future Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & Ginseng Nursery

In a shady wooded glen today I cleared a path flanked by oaks, hickory, maple, beech, and witch hazel. It marked the beginning of the Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & Ginseng Nursery retail and demonstration gardens. I pruned out the excess hickory, oak, and cherry saplings and placed their branches in stacks horizontal to the hillside. That’ll create a sort of dam to collect debris and flotsam when it rains hard. Over the course of years, it will build up little areas of rich, loamy humus.

The Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & Ginseng Nursery Plans

My project is a long-term one, hopefully something that will still be here to serve and be served by our great-great grandchildren and others who want to learn the ways of this special habitat. This is the site of the next ginseng habitat restoration project. It lies across the creek from the future Wild Ozark Boutique & Ginseng Nursery. My forearms are aching, but this is a pleasant sort of pain. It means work has been accomplished.

Not just ginseng

It’s not just ginseng gardens in the works, and not just Arkansas native plants, though those will be the main focus. I use other herbs that have naturalized, like mullein and wineberries, for example. Other herbs like anise hyssop, which isn’t native here but is very useful, will also have a place in the garden.

History

Our acreage was logged many years ago, first extensively in the late 1800’s, then successively less so over the intervening years. The last selective logging took place most likely in the 1990’s. Pioneer trees like cedar and elm dominate many areas still, but in some locations the maples and beech are beginning to become well established in the oak and hickory forests.

Even where it’s adequately shaded and moist, ginseng won’t grow in a forest made strictly of oak and hickory or a mix of only the two. They need deciduous trees with leaves that break down easily, like maple, beech, and ash. The best areas also have pawpaw and witch hazels.

Retail sales & Educational gardens

The nursery will serve as part of the American Ginseng & Ozark Useful Plant educational gardens I’m constructing. This spring I hope to open our physical retail location at the connex with the gardens. Here’s my plans – that connex will be the “store”.

Plans for the Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & American Ginseng Nursery in Kingston, AR.
Plans for the Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & American Ginseng Nursery in Kingston, AR. – click to enlarge

Rob will rig it with solar so I’ll have lights and maybe a little power. I’ll plant an educational herb garden before it with labels on all of the plants.

The nursery area for the woodland plants will be across the creek in the woods, with the sun-loving herbs for sale in front of the connex.

We’ll also be connecting buyers to sellers of fresh wild ginseng, by appointment. That item will only be available from Sept through October. You can get information on that and also dried wild American ginseng here: More info.

Meanwhile

 

Here’s a link to the online shop. It’s still under construction but I’m adding products daily: https://www.wildozark.com/shop/

Interested in Establishing a Ginseng Habitat?

In spring I’ll have a ginseng companion plant collection, which is sort of a “starter kit”. It includes many of the plants that commonly grow in the ginseng habitat: (5) first year ginseng seedlings, and one each of the following: black cohosh, doll’s eyes, blue cohosh, Christmas fern, rattlesnake fern, bloodroot, goldenseal, wild ginger, spicebush, and pawpaw.

If one of those are not available for whatever reason, I’ll fill in with one of the more abundant plants to make the total plant package 15 plants. The black and blue cohosh and doll’s eyes are in very limited availability, so I’ll run out of those first. The collection is $100.

These need to be reserved in advance by email. Payment isn’t due until you pick them up. No mail orders. CALL OR EMAIL AHEAD- use the contact information (click here or see menu).


If you want a postcard announcement of the Grand Opening, email me with your postal address. Go to my contact information (click here or see menu).



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Wild Ozark’s Monthly Newsletter -May 2015

Here’s the online issue of the monthly newsletter that goes out to my subscribers. This month is all about challenges, new discoveries, and a brand new product from Wild Ozark.

“Greatest” Challenge

Are you often faced with challenging situations to figure yourself out of? It seems I get to encounter “greatest” challenges often. Sometimes they’re tech related, as when I’m trying to learn how to do something new to or correct a problem with my website.

Sometimes the challenges are physical, like when my body thought it could go no longer while we were working on fences here around the homestead.

For the past week and a half, my new challenge has been Mother Nature.

Specifically, it was the wind at the farmer’s market. Today (I’m writing this on Saturday 4/25) the wind was especially brutal. Signs kept blowing over, plants were toppled off of the shelves, and it was blowing from the beginning. I didn’t even bother to put up the television that runs the DVD in my booth. The booth itself tried to blow away (but thankfully that was tied to the truck, and a kind customer held onto one of the legs for me). My business cards have probably traveled on the wind all the way to Newton county by end of day. I had to close up shop early.

Even with the distraction of the wind, the booth is at least a “storefront” and I’ve been enjoying talking to people who come in about ginseng and the habitat where it grows. If you’re in town (Huntsville, AR) on a Tuesday or Saturday morning, swing through the town square and say hello!

Wild Ozark's Market booth Wild Ozark's Booth setup

What’s for sale at the booth?

Well, not ginseng anymore. I’ve already sold out of all I had. Remember how I’d said my seeds didn’t sprout? More about that, below. What I do have is elderberry, wild strawberry, wild red raspberry, spicebush, pawpaw trees, witch hazel trees, gooseberries, and a few other things. I still bring some bloodroot, goldenseal, wild ginger, and blue cohosh. Once the doll’s eyes and black cohosh blooms, I’ll bring that too. I didn’t label the pots last year, so I’m waiting for blooms to be absolutely certain which is which.

Procrastination Confession

I’ll share my poor planning so you can avoid doing the same thing – I didn’t plant while the weather was still good, and then it started snowing and freezing and by then I didn’t want to go outside much, let alone try to rake leaf litter off of frozen ground. And then once it warmed up again, well, that’s when the rains started.

So it was a major oversight on my part and it won’t happen again if I can help it. If for some reason I do have to hold them longer, I’ll have to give OzarkMountainGinseng.com a call to help me with the proper way to do it. I know it involves a bucket of damp sand in a cool, dark place. But better yet that I not procrastinate again.

Now that the tender woodland herbs are done blooming and would fare poorly in the heat, I’m bringing more of the medicinal and edible plants like yarrow, All-heal, elderberry and some of the shrubs like spicebush and gooseberry. And I bring my books and DVD’s. Lousewort is a new medicinal herb to me and I have a few of those to bring, too. Lousewort (Pedicularis canadensis) is an interesting plant – read more about it below.

Rosy colored variety of Pedicularis
Rosy colored variety of Pedicularis, with a bumble bee visiting.
A pale yellow-colored lousewort.
A pale yellow-colored lousewort.
Some lousewort, showing whole plant. It gets larger and taller  as the season progresses.
Some lousewort, showing whole plant. It gets larger and taller as the season progresses.

An interesting find

Last year was the first time I noticed an interesting plant. Well, I’m *always* noticing interesting plants, so it wasn’t the first time to notice an interesting plant, but the first time to notice *that* one.

It was growing in the cedar grove below the pond and although I’ve walked around in there before I had never noticed the the greenish-gray ferny fronds. At the time it wasn’t blooming, but I immediately recognized it from long ago when I studied with a Master Herbalist in Bay St. Louis, MS. It’s hard to believe that was nearly 25 years ago now. Her name was Amelia Plant and we’ve long since lost touch, but I often wonder what she’s been up to. She had brought me and a few of her other students on a gathering trip in MS and that was one we collected.

Lousewort is a semi-parasitic plant. Its roots feed off of the roots of neighboring plants, but it doesn’t require a host to live. Because of the possibility that it’s feeding from neighboring plants, if you plan to use it as medicine, it’s important to make sure the neighbors aren’t poisonous plants. The variety of lousewort that grows at Wild Ozark is Pedicularis canadensis.

Some of them bloom with a bicolor rosy/white tubular flower and some have pale yellow, nearly white flowers. Medicinally, the above-ground parts are used for skeletal muscle pain. I haven’t tried it yet, but I did just harvest some yesterday to put up for later use. It’s not a narcotic, so the pain relief isn’t likely to be as effective as narcotic drugs.

This herb is reported to combine well with skullcap and black cohosh to make a pretty good muscle relaxer. Black cohosh affects female hormones, though, so be aware of that and perhaps use a different herb, like black haw or skunk cabbage as a substitute if you have a hormone-influenced issue.

  • Always consult your physician and do your own research before using herbs – the information I provide through my newsletters and website is only meant to be a starting point and is NOT intended to be taken as medical advice. I’m not a doctor, have no medical training, and am not offering medical advice.

Lobelia inflata is another local medicinal herb that would go well with this combination, but the seeds (the part most medicinal) are potent and caution is needed in dosage.

The lousewort plants I found are growing in a moist cedar grove under plenty of shade, but I think it will also grow in more sunlight. If you want to try growing some, I’ll have a few plants at the market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings in Huntsville, AR.

References for my information and more on using lousewort at these sites:

http://7song.com/blog/2012/02/pedicularis-lousewort-monograph-pedicularis-as-a-skeletal-muscle-relaxant/
http://www.altnature.com/gallery/woodbetony.htm

April Blog Post Index

New Product

Wild Ozark Herbs – Plant Identification Cards

These are 4 x 6” laminated photo-cards of some of my favorite wild Ozark herbs to help with learning to identify and use the useful plants of the Ozarks. They’ll be released in sets.

That’s all folks!

This was another pretty lengthy newsletter, so thank you if you managed to read the whole thing 🙂

I hope to meet many of you at the farmer’s market this year. The market is at the Huntsville Town Square, from 7-12. It’ll be every Tuesday and Saturday 7-12 (except May 5 & 9, and the first week in August). I’m usually running the DVD on it during the market hours so if you want a preview before buying it, or just want to hang around and watch the whole thing there for free, come on by and pull up a chair!

Please take a moment to share this newsletter with your social circles 🙂



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Sleuthing the Bellwort. Sessilifolia or Perfoliata?

Sessilifolia or Perfoliata?

Three species of bellwort are found in Arkansas: Uvularia grandiflora, U. sessilifolia, and U. perfoliata. The one I see most often around here is the grandiflora, or Large-flowered bellwort as it’s commonly called.

Bellwort often grows in the ginseng habitat, which makes it one of the ginseng companion plants, but it can tolerate more sun and is sometimes found in places ginseng won’t grow. It likes at least light shade and rich, moist soil with lots of rotted leaf debris. It is the combination of deep shade, moist soil, and nice layer of rotted leaf debris that gives the ginseng habitat its unique characteristics.

Large bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)
Large bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

There’s a spot along our county road that is sometimes sprayed with herbicides. The first time this happened, I mourned the loss of a large wild raspberry bramble I used to visit often when it fruited. Had I known it would get sprayed, I would have transplanted many of the plants that live there, including the raspberries. That raspberry is the only red raspberry bramble I know of in our area, although the plant itself is supposed to be fairly common in the Ozarks.

The entire 500 yard stretch is home to so many of the various woodland plants I love to watch. The little ecosystem is regaining health now and even some of the raspberries have returned, but soon it’ll be in danger of elimination again because of that robust growth.

This year I noticed a colony of small bellworts blooming and decided I’d move some of them in case the spray happened again this year. I knew they were bellworts, but wasn’t sure of the species. I’d never seen these kinds before. They weren’t the usual yellow bellworts I normally see.

When I got back to the house I potted some of them up for the nursery and planted some in the habitat near the nursery. Then I set about making a proper identification. According to my copy of the Atlas of Vascular Plants of Arkansas, it would probably be Uvularia sessilifolia, since the perfoliata isn’t known to be in our county.  However, I’ve found other plants not known to be in our county, so that didn’t necessarily help.

What’s in a Name?

Hmmm. With no pictures in the book to give a clue, I wondered about those last names. What did they mean? The latin words used in scientific names are usually full of visual clues if you know what they mean. Time to pull out the dictionary to see what sessile meant. I already knew perfoliata.

“Sessile” means the leaf is directly connected to the stem without a little stem of its own. “Perfoliata” means the stem runs through the leaf, making it appear to be perforated by the stem. Now that I had these meanings to go on, I couldn’t remember whether the leaves were attached or whether the stem ran through. So I had to go take a look. They weren’t right outside the back door so that meant taking the 4-wheeler and the camera and heading back down the driveway.

Sessile Bellwort (Uvularia sessilfolia)
Sessile Bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia). This is a smaller and more dainty variety than the yellow Large-flower Bellwort I usually see.

Turns out it is Sessile. I had hoped it was U. perfoliata, because that one is endangered and rare to find. But this one is beautiful, too. One of the common names for it is “Fairy Bells”, which I like.

I may have a few of these at market next week, but they might be finished blooming by then.

 

 

 



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

April 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the April 2015 Newsletter from Wild Ozark! For a plant lover, spring is an exciting time of year. This morning I found trout lilies blooming and blue cohosh unfurling! I try to get out to the woods every day to see what’s new that I didn’t see the day before.

trout lily at Wild Ozark
trout lily at Wild Ozark

 

Business is Good

Website

This month has been a great month for business. Our website visits are increasing which leads to book sales increasing which leads to my ability to invest more money back into the business, which leads to being able to offer better and greater products to you. For example, this month I purchased a new software to help me create better slide-shows of the photographs I’ve been collecting. There is no Wild Ozark herb safe from the camera now, haha. American Ginseng & Companions is the first to benefit from the new software.

Discount for DVD

American Ginseng & Companions isn’t available at Amazon yet but I’m in the process of getting it listed there. The “real” DVD will be $20, the On-Demand version will be around $5. I can’t say what they will set the price at, but that was my suggestion. Rentals will be less than that. Newsletter subscribers get a substantial discount on the “real” item. They’re $10 with this coupon code (“ginseng dvd”) through our online shop. I’ll sell them for $10 at the market in Huntsville or anytime in person after presentation. Before you run out and buy one, though, subscribe to my mailing list and get in on the FREE offer. It’s discussed a bit farther down in the newsletter under the “Business is Bad – DVD issues” heading.

Update since original newsletter release: DVD’s are now only available (free) with any paperback book purchase from the Wild Ozark shop

Click on the image to go to the shop if you want to check it out:

DVD cover for American Ginseng & Companions

I Was Interviewed

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Monica Johnson of east TX. She drove out here and took a little walkabout with me, then we visited with the ginseng buyer Trevor Mills from Harrison, AR. I’m eager to read the article she wrangles from all the good conversation we had over the course of two days.

Freelance Writing

I’ve been contacted by a new magazine about life in the Ozarks, to possibly become a contributing writer. This is exciting. The magazine’s premiere issue was recently released and if I make it on board, I’ll surely be letting you all know where it can be found. It’s a print magazine, not an online thing, which is something I’m glad for.

Business is Bad

Possible Ginseng Failure

I am growing increasingly worried that none or very few of the ginseng seeds we planted in fall are going to sprout. Usually by this time any leftover seeds I have in the refrigerator have long since sprouted and demanded to be planted. None of them have done so. The seeds don’t appear to be dead, just stubborn. So I’m thinking they’ll sit over in the ground this year and sprout next year. This always is the case with a percentage of them, but not normally most of them.

Updated since original newsletter release: I have learned that you can’t keep the seeds in the refrigerator so long or else they will go dormant. It’s best to keep them in layers of sand outside in a cool and sheltered place if you can’t plant them right away. The seeds I have aren’t dead, they just might not sprout this year. (Thanks to Dennis at Ozark Mountain Ginseng for this information!) Next year they should all sprout on schedule. I’ll have some seedlings to sell at market this year, just not so many as I’d planned for.

But obviously, this is bad for the nursery business. I know many of you were looking forward to ginseng seedlings this spring. All I can do is wait and see at this point. At any rate, I’ll have goldenseal, bloodroot, and other of the woodland companions at market. Just not too sure about the ginseng at this point. The strawberry jar at the bottom of this email is planted with companion plants and will feature a ginseng on the top. When it fills out it should be pretty unique and pretty to look at.

DVD issues

The first attempt at burning the new American Ginseng & Companions produced mixed results. The disks worked fine on my own DVD player, but wouldn’t even start on others. Then the text was too blurry, even on my own. So I decided to offer it free to those who would be willing to answer a survey afterwards or leave a review if it worked for them. Since I try to only send this newsletter out once a month, I wasn’t able to get this word to you unless you happened to see it on Facebook or my website. But you can get it free now and give me the feedback if you like.

If you’re already a subscriber, you got the code with the April newsletter that went to your inbox. If you’re a new subscriber, email me ([email protected]) to get the code. The coupon is only good until April 8, 2015. The test rounds that went out last week came back with mostly good responses, so I’m going to cut it loose and let it fly now but your responses will be helpful to me in case there are issues I’ve missed. As far as I know, I haven’t actually “sold” the DVD to anyone yet; they’ve all been free. However, if you are a subscriber and you paid for the DVD I’ll refund your money since I’m making this free offer now. The offer is good until April 8. The USB’s have worked fine. It’s only been the DVD’s that gave me trouble.

Interesting links & articles by others

From ANPS: Know Your Natives – Bloodroot (http://anps.org/2015/03/20/know-your-natives-bloodroot-2/)

Here’s one of the best collections of photography of Arkansas Plants I’ve ever seen:
http://www.pbase.com/cmf46/root/ – These are all by Craig Frasier. The only drawback is that there’s no way to search by name or color, but in scrolling through the images I’ve found many of the plants I just needed some second verification on to get a positive id.

Speaking Gigs

Booked

I’ll be at the Olli Birthday Luncheon at 11:30 on April 16 at Bordino’s on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. If you’d like to attend to hear my presentation on the ginseng habitat and ginseng we’d love to see you there. I’ll have copies of the DVD’s and some books and other things there. I’m not sure, but I might be able to pass around the slide-show on my Galaxy during the talk so people can get a look at what it is. It’ll be an informal event. I’ll try to bring some plants to pass around, some dried roots to taste, and some photos of the companion plants. The attendees can ask questions and get to know this precious habitat a little better. I’ll also talk some about our project at Compton Gardens in Bentonville. Meals are around $10 and I’ll need to have a headcount, so if you plan to attend, let me know.

Pending

Trevor Mills of Mills Ginseng in Harrison Arkansas is trying to organize an event. If you know anyone who could sponsor or participate in a traditional skill/sustainability/survival/mountain man(woman) type of convention drop him a note at his FB page. I’m planning to be a vendor/speaker/presenter at this, but we are not certain about the dates yet and I may be out of pocket during the summer when he might want to do it.

March Blog Post Index

That’s all folks!

This was a pretty lengthy newsletter, so thank you if you managed to read the whole thing 🙂

I hope to meet many of you at the farmer’s market this year. The opening day is April 21, at the Huntsville Town Square, from 7-12. It’ll be every Tuesday and Saturday 7-12. My booth should be somewhere near the gazebo so I can have electricity. I’m going to bring a television and run the DVD on it during the market hours so if you want a preview before buying it, or just want to stand around and watch the whole thing there for free, come on by!

trout lilies and dutchman breeches awaiting market
trout lilies and dutchman breeches awaiting market
Forest companions in a strawberry jar
Forest companions in a strawberry jar
Bloodroot and others awaiting market
Bloodroot and others awaiting market

 

 



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Bloodroot Bud

It’s early February and the plants in the ginseng habitat are still buried beneath leaf litter and possibly snow. We’ve had a very mild winter so far this year. I won’t be surprised if I find hungry ticks waiting in ambush today.

I’m going out to the mountain to find goldenseal so I can get some root divisions before the spring growth begins. I’ll take pictures and possibly make a short video and post it to this website later on. When it’s ready, there’ll be a link here for you. I’ll try to get pictures of all the plants as we propagate them throughout the year at the appropriate times and in the various methods. Right now and until spring for some of the plants, it is time for root divisions.

Before these plants went to bed for the long winter’s sleep, buds were already in place and waiting to rise come spring. Bloodroot, goldenseal, ginseng, cohosh all have a new bud waiting for the growing season to begin. All but ginseng will sometimes have more than one bud per root clump. Bloodroot and goldenseal in particular are easy to divide and propagate because the rhizome root can be divided everywhere there are roots coming off of it and each section will make a new plant even if there’s no bud at that spot.

Here’s a picture that shows what the bloodroot bud looks like. You can click on the image to make it bigger. Be sure to sign up for our nursery brochure if you’d like a plant list mailed to you in spring or just want an idea of what we’ll have at our booth at the farmer’s market in Huntsville.

bloodroot bud

 



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Plants with Strange Names

Devil’s Walking Stick. Strawberry Wahoo. Green Dragon. Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Fire-Pokers… All plants with strange names.

Sometimes my friends and family think I make these names up.

seeds from strawberry wahoo and devil's walking stick
Seeds from Devil’s Walking Stick (the nearly black ones) and Strawberry Wahoo (the red ones)

 

I remember coming home one day after running errands in town. I always drive really slow on the dirt road leading to Wild Ozark, and not just because the road is rough. The reason that motivates me to go slow most of all is so I can look on the sides of the road for interesting plants. Anyway, my mom was with me on one of these days and by the time I realized what I’d seen, we’d overshot the spot by a good distance. I shouted “Strawberry Wahoo!” and put the car in reverse. Poor mom probably thought I’d lost my mind.

But I backed up and found the bush. It’s actually a small tree sort of shrub. When she saw what I was talking about, she said “I think you just made that name up.”

“No, really,” I protested. “It’s really what it’s called.” My name for it combines a couple of the common names into one, but technically I think “strawberry bush” and “wahoo” work better together so we know exactly which plant I’m talking about. Euonymus atropurpurea is likely considered a more specific name, though, I admit. But I think I’d have sounded just as mad shouting that out as anything else.

photo of strawberry wahoos
Hanging wahoos

Similar words were exchanged when my husband and I passed what I’d mistakenly said were “Red Hot Pokers”. Actually, that’s a different flower than the one I saw, but “Fire Pinks“, which is what these were is just as odd a name because these flowers are nowhere near pink. They’re definitely red.

Then there’s the Devil’s Walking Stick. I spotted that one one day on our way off to somewhere once, and it too brought the raised eyebrows of “I think you made that name up”. I really like the Devil’s Walking Stick a lot because it’s one of the ginseng cousins, belonging to the Aralia family along with American ginseng, American Spikenard, and Sarsaparilla too. The only thing in common with any of these, though, is the way the flowers are arranged in a loose, airy, ball on the end of each flowering stem. All of the plants of this family flower in the same arrangement. The Devil’s Walking Stick I found looks more like a small, skinny tree than a shrub. Later in the year after the stem started sagging, I was able to pull it down so I could collect the seeds.

I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to sprout and grow the seeds of either the Devil’s Walking Stick or the Strawberry Wahoo, but if I can, I’ll have these to offer at the market too. So you can have some plants with strange names too. Both of these are native to the Ozarks and interesting conversation specimens even if you don’t find the medicinal uses of them interesting. I have some American Spikenard, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Green Dragon seeds I’m hoping will germinate in spring, too.

Be sure to sign up for our mailing list for the nursery if you want the price/availability list when I get it ready. You can do that over on our Ginseng Habitat Nursery page.

What are your favorite plants with strange names?



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

It’s A Good Day to Plant Seeds in Winter

seeds being planted at Wild Ozark

Yesterday I took a break from figuring taxes (yes, I’m still working on taxes) and went outside to enjoy the warm-ish winter’s day and plant seeds. On the seed list today:

  • American ginseng
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Echinacea tennesseensis
  • Comfrey (officinale)
  • Poppies

These plants all need to be seeded while it’s still cool outside so the seeds can be exposed to the cold, damp soil before sprouting. It could be done by putting the seeds in a bag of sand in the refrigerator (this is called stratification), but I’ll just plant them into pots and keep the pots outside where they’ll get cold exposure. Fresh ginseng seed would need two winters, but the seeds I buy have already been stratified, which means they’ve already spent one winter outside so they’ll sprout after this one.

Day before yesterday I planted some Cowslip (primula veris). This one is not a native plant, not to the Ozarks nor to the United States. However, it’s a good medicinal plant and I wanted to have some on hand for my sustainability/preparedness peace of mind. There are other plants that are native (lobelia inflata, mullein) that also have some of the same benefits (antispasmodic, cough, sedative) but I wanted to have this one, too.  While the lobelia is valuable in it’s antispasmodic capacity, and I wildcraft it here at Wild Ozark and use it in formulas with much success, it can be fairly easy to use too much. The consequence of that mistake is violent vomiting which squeezes the lungs. This action supposedly can also be beneficial to expel excessive mucus from the lungs but I’ve never tried it and am not sure I’d want to without someone on hand to give me a breath if it caused my lungs to collapse (seriously).  I use mullein quite often to make syrups for the kids and love the gentle way it works to loosen phlegm and quiet coughs at the same time. I’m curious to see how well the cowslip works in comparison to these other plants.

Why the poppies? Well, because they’re beautiful, of course. And they attract bees for pollination…lots of good reasons to plant poppies.

These plants, while not woodland plants or ginseng companion plants (except for the ginseng, of course), will also be part of the offerings brought to market in April. (Except the poppies. Those are being seeded directly into beds where they’ll stay.) We’ll have them at the farmer’s market in Huntsville, Arkansas on Tuesdays if you’d like to stop in. I can legally ship plants by mail now, but these will be too young yet and I’m not set up with boxes and packaging for that anyway. Maybe one day soon. For now we will just fill orders and sell from the market venue.

The links I gave to the plant information goes to the electronic version of “A Modern Herbal” by Maud Grieve, originally published in 1931. This is one of my favorite resources for medicinal herbal information.

I’ll be drawing up an availability list with prices soon. If you want to get on that mailing list, be sure to fill out the form at our nursery page and send it to me.



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Ginseng, strawberries, and Google+ listings

Handy wild strawberry/ginseng comparison graphic

Yesterday I posted a handy image for those of you trying to tell the difference between wild strawberry and first year ginseng. I keep forgetting that when I post a new page to this website, post subscribers don’t see it.

So here’s the link to it. Please pin this photo to your Pinterest boards and share it to your favorite social medias. Just since posting it last night there’s been nearly 30 +1’s and a few reshares through Google +.

Google Local Business Listing

Speaking of Google+, I’m waiting on the postcard with our verification code to arrive. Once it gets here, if all works the way it’s supposed to, we’ll have a Local Business Listing on Google that won’t divulge our home address. Since we don’t have a public place of business, this page will list the hours and days we’ll be at the farmer’s market in Huntsville this spring. As we begin to go to craft shows and other festivals, I’ll post those dates and locations there too.

Reviews/Ranking at Google+

Your reviews will help us get better ranking with Google. Since we haven’t set up shop anywhere in real-life yet, we haven’t had any personal interaction or sales encounters to give us the opportunity to ask for reviews. But many of you have shopped online with us! So if you’ve ordered anything from our website and was happy with your experience, please head over to our page and give us a few stars or a review! We don’t have any at all yet… and I’m not exactly sure how to leave a review myself, lol, so if you have any clues please comment below and let me know. Of course, if you were unhappy with your experience shopping with us, I’d sure like a chance to make it better. Please email me and I’ll get to work on that right away.

Ginseng Seeds

Also, Dennis Lindberg from Ozark Mountain Ginseng sent a newsletter out to say he still has seeds and some rootlets available if you didn’t get yours ordered earlier. Our seeds are still in the refrigerator (what’s left of them) and they haven’t started sprouting yet. I’m planning to pot some more up for the market on the next warm spell. Soon they will, and you can still plant them but you have to be careful not to break off the tiny little root sprouts when you do. If you break it, the seed will die.

ginseng seeds



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods