American ginseng in the Wild Ozark woods in June.

Potted Ginseng Seedlings in Arkansas

So I have some help this year with the ginseng nursery from a pair of young organic, permaculture enthusiasts who are ready to learn about being good ginseng stewards. That means I will after all have some potted ginseng seedlings available throughout spring! They’ll have to be picked up in the Kingston square, by appointment.

If the new ginseng stewards decide they will do it again next year, we’ll have an even better offering of ginseng and companions in spring 2020. I’ll let you know how it went by the end of season this year.

Prices

1rst year- $5/ea
2nd year- $10/ea
Habitat collections with 3+ year ginseng and bloodroot, wild ginger, and goldenseal in larger pots: 3-prong, $75/ea or 4-prong, $100/ea

Order by emailing me and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice.

[email protected]

The Wild Ozark booth will also be at the Kingston Fair on the Square with ginseng plants on May 11, 2019. I won’t be there but will have some helpers operating the booth. Email to reserve plants for pickup there.

American ginseng in July.
American ginseng in July.
A sign I put up to protect the Virginia snakeroot plants.

Oh no! The Virginia Snakeroot babies are all gone!

Virginia snakeroot at the Wild Ozark Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden.
Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria)

I went out to check on the Virginia snakeroot nursery the other day and was mortified to find nothing. Not. One. Plant.

Virginia Snakeroot … What’s That?

Now, you might be wondering just what’s so important about a plant that really looks like nothing much more than a weed in the woods. It’s a plant of interest to me for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a medicinal plant with a history of being used to treat snakebites and mad dog (rabies). I’m not likely to use it for either of these, but I do have an affinity for medicinal plants.

Second, it’s harder and harder to find because there’s actually a market for the roots. People dig them and then sell them to botanical purveyors who then sell them to pharmaceutical or herbal companies.

It Even Has Look-Alikes

There’s another plant that has very similar leaf shape, but it isn’t snakeroot.

Not Virginia snakeroot. Not sure what it is, though I know what it isn't.
Not Virginia snakeroot. Not sure what it is, but I know what it isn’t.

There’s a long article on the plant and how it was once used at the Herbs2000.com website.

For the past several years I’ve searched our property for this plant and never could find any. In 2015 I found the first plant, but then a major flash flood erased it from the site. Then last year while I was making trails in the Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden, I noticed a whole mess of the plants on a little knoll under the cedar trees.

I was so excited. I’d even placed a sign at the entrance to warn visitors not to enter that part because there were so many it would be hard to walk around them without stepping on some. I wanted to collect seeds and propagate more of them.

Poof!

And now they are gone. Completely disappeared. The ground had been disturbed by an armadillo, but I don’t think an armadillo would eat snakeroots. I didn’t see any footprints that might indicate some roaming root digger had come by. Virginia snakeroot is one of the wild plants that botanical buyers purchase, but these plants were so small it would take a ton of the little roots to earn the $30 or so per pound that they can fetch.

Besides that, there were ginseng plants in the vicinity and I can’t see a poacher taking the snakeroot without also taking the ginseng.

So what happened to them?

I think I figured out the answer.

Butterflies.

Or more specifically, caterpillars of the Pipevine Swallowtail. These butterflies are not the pollinators for Virginia snakeroot, but the pipevine plants are the host plants for their larvae. Virginia snakeroot is one of the pipevines, as is wild ginger and Dutchmen’s pipe vine.

While we have lots of wild ginger around, we don’t have many of the Dutchmen’s pipe and I’ll bet what happened to my plants is that they were eaten by the larvae of butterflies. Actually, they weren’t ‘my’ plants. I’m sure the butterflies were excited to see them and call them theirs, too.

It’s the explanation that makes the most sense. If that’s the case, they’ll be back next year. I can find a way to protect a few plants and share the rest with the butterflies. Keep your fingers crossed!

The flower isn't mature yet in this photo. It was when I went back out there to get another photo of the flower that I noticed they were all gone.
The flower isn’t mature yet in this photo. It was when I went back out there to get another photo of the flower that I noticed they were all gone.

 

A Week at Wild Ozark … No, I’m Not Lost

I’m just mired neck deep in a To-Do list of my own making, trying to get organized and into some sort of a groove now that market season has begun. Since I haven’t written in a while, I figured I’d write up a summary of a typical week at Wild Ozark.

This is my first year at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market and it’s a true test of my ability to maintain production of my creative arts. I’ve never had to continously make new product before, and I’m definitely not complaining. But it is a new thing to figure out. I want to keep making new things, but need to continue making the things I know will sell, and I need to still have some sort of life aside from the act of trying to keep up.

The ‘some sort of life aside’ isn’t quite working out just yet, ha.

I’ve been doing a lot of things. I have not been blogging; that’s obvious. It’s been more than a week since my last post here and that is not a normal occurrence for me. My first website and blog post was in August of 2001. At the time my website was called ‘Ancient Earth Wisdom’. I wish I had kept that domain, but I let it go long ago. That was back in the day of hand coding with HTML. There was no such thing as a blogging platform like WordPress then. You can still see the old site at the Wayback Machine. Did you know that the internet has an archive like that?

Finally got the horses moved after weed-eating the fences for days.
Finally got the horses moved after weed-eating the fences for days.

Lately I’ve had to squeeze time in for playing catch-up around the house. Spring took off with a fury and the weeds and grass grew up around the electric fences for the horses. Finally got that cleared.

While out walking along the creek, I very nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. It’s been thirteen years since I moved here, and all those years I’m tromping around the woods and have never had such a near miss. Yesterday I ordered some snake boots for future tromping.

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to, but today I checked and saw that I sold 7 books! That’s more than I ordinarily sell in one day, ha, so it’s great news.

A Typical Week at Wild Ozark

Mondays

Once market season starts, the entire week has a predictable pattern. On Mondays if I’m proactive about it, I start building my stock for the following weekend. The main sellers are fairy gardens, and I’ve been making some new things to decorate them, like little waterfalls and stairs.

The Shagbark Hickory Syrup is also a good seller, but I still have to apply labels and shrink wrap, and pour up samples. So I try to get that done early in the week. On Monday if possible.

Tuesdays

Starting next week, Tuesdays are reserved for watching the grandkids. I’m looking forward to that, but I need to find a way to crunch everything else into the remaining days of the week. I’ve become a workaholic, so this break will be good for both me and the kids.

Wednesdays

Ordinarily I like to get the fairy gardens made on Wednesdays, and any ginseng seedlings that need to be potted done. This week, I went to the creek, watched better for snakes this time, and collected some gravel. I love the ones with red in them, but the Ozark creek gravel comes in all shapes and sizes and in lots of shades of colors. I’m using them to make the fairy garden accents.

Putting the Rocks to Use

We have a lot of rocks here, so I’m happy to find ways to use them. And here’s what I did with the rocks. The ‘moss’ is ground sassafras leaves. The ‘water’ is hot glue.

A 'moss-covered' waterfall for the fairy gardens.
A ‘moss-covered’ waterfall for the fairy gardens.

A set of 'moss-covered' steps for the fairy gardens.
A set of ‘moss-covered’ steps for the fairy gardens.

Here’s one of the finished fairy gardens with the steps added to it.

Fairy garden with moss-covered steps.
Fairy garden with moss-covered steps.

Potting up Seedlings

It’s the time of year when the ginseng seedlings are for sale, too. On Wednesday I try to get any seedlings that need to be potted done. They’re usually settled and ready to sell by Saturday, but the ones that are still not happy on Friday stay behind in the Recuperation Nursery Bed.

Thursdays

By Thursday I’m starting to panic because I’m not ready yet.

Fridays

On Friday it’s a mad rush trying to finish up and then before dusk, pack up the truck.

Saturdays

Saturday starts at 0300 when the alarm goes off and I moan and groan about getting up so early. By 0345-0400, I’m on the road to Fayetteville. On a good market day, I’m sold out of the fairy gardens by 11 am and most of the syrup samples are taken before then. For every two samples, I probably sell at least one bottle of syrup.

Sundays

On Sunday I work my shift at the new Kingston Square Arts shop. My Fairy Mushrooms and Forest Folk and books are there, so if you’re up for a nice day trip to the rural parts of our beautiful state, come to Kingston on a Sunday and say hello!

Starting all over again

Then it’s back to Monday again and the cycle starts all over. Notice I didn’t mention house or yard work much in my week. That has to be fitted in there somewhere, but it’s a struggle.

If anything unexpected arises during the week, it throws the entire schedule off kilter. My kids don’t seem to understand that I’m not ‘retired’, so when I need to watch the grandkids unexpectedly, it creates havoc with the ‘work week’. But I like to try and keep them on Tuesdays when I can. They like to help with things like gathering moss and rocks for the fairy gardens, and they love to make mushrooms from the clay with me.

So you might have a good idea of why I’m behind on blogging and newsletter writing now. Thank you for being out there, and thank you all who support me as an artist, writer, and person trying to make a living with my passions.

Yep this was a long post!

No telling when I’ll get a chance to write another post, so I figured I’d better make this one count. At least you can get an idea of what each day of the week is holding here at Wild Ozark, anyway. Fill me in on your doings!

Watching a Ginseng Habitat Mystery Plant Unfurl

I have a mystery plant to decipher. Last year I went to the woods and took a root division of a plant I wanted to grow in the Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden. I put that root cutting into a pot and placed it in a sheltered spot in one of my nursery terraces.

The summer faded away and fall came around. One day I went out to the nursery spot to check on the plants I’d tucked in for the season.

That plant I’d divided and potted was on the ground.

Just the roots.

I re-potted it. Checked on it again the next afternoon.

On the ground, bare roots. Again. Something – most likely a squirrel – did not want that plant in that pot.

By now I’d forgotten which plant it was. And of course I forgot to label the pot. I can’t even remember which plants I’d taken cuttings from during the year, but I have a few possibilities to choose a “most likely” candidate from. Now it had become a mystery plant.

I know it’s not ginseng and I know it’s not bloodroot or goldenseal. Those are three I can recognize on sight, with or without leaves. It could be doll’s eyes, black cohosh, or a fern of some sort. Or some other interesting plant I found while out taking a walkabout in the woods.

Anyway, I put it into the pot again, covered it up with soil and leaves, and brought it into the house. Foiled the squirrel, finally. But I still don’t know what the plant is.

It began to unfurl the other day. Soon I’ll have the answer to my mystery – unless it’s doll’s eyes or black cohosh. I still have a hard time telling those two apart until the plants are mature. But at least the choices will be narrowed down.

Here’s how it looks today. Watch this page if you want to watch the mystery plant unfold, too.

Madison's Mystery Plant
Madison’s Mystery Plant

Three days later…

 

 

 

Still watching my mystery plant unfurl.

Now it’s beginning to look like something, but I still don’t know what!

Here it is again, now 18 days later:

I still don't know what it is, but it's beginning to look more and more like perhaps a rattlesnake fern.
I still don’t know what it is, but it’s beginning to look more and more like perhaps a rattlesnake fern.

 

 

2018 Spring Awakening Watch – First Native Flowers of the Ozarks

It’s mid-March 2018 and I’m watching for the first native flowers of the Ozarks to start blooming. I particularly love the ephemeral blooms of early spring, like the bloodroot and Dutchmen’s breeches. Scroll down to see pictures and keep up with what’s blooming at Wild Ozark. If you’re looking specifically for the ginseng unfurling/blooming, you’ll find that on the Ginseng Unfurling Watch 2018 page.

Native Flowers of the Ozarks at Wild Ozark

3-26-18 The false rue anemone is blooming along the driveway. Farther from the house, down the road heading to pavement, I saw the bloodroot finally making an appearance. It’s not up yet here, but should be soon. Toothwort is abundant, corydalis still is blooming. The only photo I was able to get so far was of the false rue anemone, with my cell phone, and it didn’t come out well enough to bother posting it on the website. Once the rain clears out I’ll try to get down the driveway with the real camera.

3-20-18 Today I spotted one of my favorite spring flowers blooming along the roadside. So, while it’s not technically ‘at’ Wild Ozark, I consider it to be ‘Wild Ozark at-Large’, since it was only down the dirt roading leading here 🙂 Everything here is a week or two behind the surrounding area. We live in a little microclimate.

One of my favorite native flowers of the Ozarks, Pale Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)
Pale Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)

Not much else blooming yet at Wild Ozark proper, but I did find this Cutleaf Toothwort getting close.

Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenate)
Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenate)

3-18-18 Not a flower yet either, but the buds of the Redbud (Cercis canadensis) tree are swelling. The flowers are edible and make a colorful addition to salads. Here’s a  pic from this morning that I took while we were bringing hay to the horses. It’s a terrible pic, but the limbs were swaying and I didn’t have the good camera with me. I pulled a muscle in my back yesterday and moving around is a bit of a problem today, so it’s not likely I’ll be going back out there to get another photo before the flowers open, so this one is the best I’ll get for now. Next pic will be of flowers, not buds.

Redbud buds. The flowers bud out and bloom on this tree before the leaves even begin to swell.
Redbud buds. The flowers bud out and bloom on this tree before the leaves even begin to swell.

 

3-17-18 Not a flower, yet, but the first leaves of one of my favorite native flowers – Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum). When it blooms it too will be yellow. I’ll post the picture of it as soon as I see it.

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)
Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

3-15-18 Noticed that the Pale Corydalis (Corydalis flavula) is blooming along our morning mile hike route. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me to capture it. Today we have appointments in town and tomorrow is the first market day of the season. So unless I can get out there this afternoon before it’s too dark for a photo, it’ll be a few days before one shows up here! (update – got a pic, see below!) The flowers are small and yellow with foliage that looks a lot like Dutchmen’s Breeches (ferny and dissected). It’s a relatively small plant and is one of the first native flowers of the Ozarks to bloom. If not for the bright yellow color of the flowers, it would be easy to miss. Corydalis grows in the shady edges of the woods.

The one pictured below is growing in a bright sunny spot that opened up when we had more of the landslide come down this past winter. It’s not happy in full sun, though. I’ll probably move the ones located here to pots for the nursery.

Corydalis belongs to the same Family as poppies. Like poppies, Corydalis is full of alkaloids, compounds which usually mark a plant as being medicinally active. It was used by native Americans and early American doctors, however, the plant is toxic and even small doses can cause tremors and convulsions. This could be caused by incorrect preparations (i.e. water extract versus alcohol or oil), but it’s not one I’m inclined to experiment with and I can’t recommend it as a native medicinal option. According to the reports I’ve read, the way native Americans used it was to burn the plant on coals and fan themselves with the smoke. It was said to “clear the head“. I haven’t found any references to explain what that means or how it worked.

Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis flavula) is one of the first of the native flowers to bloom at Wild Ozark.
Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis flavula) is one of the first of the native flowers to bloom at Wild Ozark.

3-8-18 Usually the first plants to show signs of life with blooms here are the Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis). These sometimes bloom as early as January and February. This year they bloomed in March.

Vernal Witch Hazel flowers
Vernal Witch Hazel flowers

American Hazelnut(Corylus americana) is blooming right now too:

Male flowers of the American hazelnut (Corylus americana)
Male flowers of the American hazelnut (Corylus americana)

I’m watching for bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), and Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
to show up soon. None yet when I checked yesterday, though (Mar 13). Add this page to your RSS feed or check back often to see what’s blooming next!

What’s your favorite flowers of the Ozarks?

What’s the Difference between Native and Ornamental?

Native flowers grow in the area naturally. They are plants that evolved with the local habitats. Ornamental plants are imported, hybridized or modified in some way to highlight the showy features of the plant. Unless you’re shopping specifically for a native plant, at a nursery you’ll most likely get something that originated elsewhere. Nurseries stock plants most likely to sell to the public and often that is a bright, showy flower. Some nurseries, like Wild Ozark, specializes in native plants. We specialize even further – native woodland plants of the American ginseng habitat. I’ll start bringing plants to the market in April, so keep an eye on the calendar if you want to know where to find the booth.

‘Naturalized’ plants are mostly foreign plants that found their way to new habitats here in the US a long time ago. Some were brought with the settlers, some purposefully and some accidentally. These plants adapted so well to the environment that they began out-competing the native plants. Japanese honeysuckle and Chinese privet are two examples of this type of plant. Autumn (or Russian) Olive is a third.

Products of Wild Ozark's nature farming.

What is Nature Farming? What does a Nature Farmer Grow?

What I mean by ‘Nature Farming’ is not the same as ‘natural farming’, ‘organic farming’, or ‘natural farming methods’. Explanations for all of these things come up when you do a search online for ‘nature farming’. But nothing turns up for true nature farming. Hopefully this post will show up in the search engine results list soon.

I am literally farming nature.

I’m not doing conventional farming using natural techniques, or practicing organic or permaculture farming (although where I do actually grow things on purpose, I do adhere to those principles).

The more people who interact with my blog, the more quickly it’ll turn up in searches online. Will you help me get it noticed by sharing this post?

Wild Ozark is a Nature Farm. They are literally farming nature. Click To Tweet

 

What I’m farming is already present there in nature.

For the most part, the plants I use in my business already grow here naturally. I encourage some of them to multiply by dividing or transplanting or seeding them in more areas, but the habitats to support them already exist here. No tilling involved, though sometimes I do make nursery beds by creating rock wall terraces on the hillsides.

The terraces are in the deep shade under trees with the kinds of leaves that make good mulch for ginseng. They keep the pots from washing away during rains and when the creek floods, provides easy access for seedlings when I need to fill orders, and is a staging/holding area for the items I bring with me to market.

Things I keep in my nature farming nursery beds. A ginseng habitat in a pot! This one includes a 3-year old American ginseng with a handful of companions for $75. Available only for local pickup at the nursery, or the Rogers Downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays or the Huntsville Farmers Market on Tuesdays. Reserve in advance to make sure I have one with me by emailing madison@wildozark.com.
A ginseng habitat in a pot! This one includes a 3-year old American ginseng with a handful of companions for $75. Available only for local pickup at the nursery, or the farmers market booth (check schedule). Reserve in advance to make sure I have one with me by emailing [email protected] Bare root collections can be shipped in fall.

American ginseng seedlings are the main things that use the terraced beds. I transplant the seedlings to the other habitats and I also put them in pots sell them at market. When it’s not growing season, I sell them as dormant, bare root plants. Wild Ozark is the only certified ginseng nursery in Arkansas. Wild ginseng lives here naturally, and I’ve purchased seeds to grow even more of it. I keep the wild populations separate from the wild-simulated.

When I say ‘wild-simulated’ that means I’m growing the ginseng in the same way it would grow in the wild. All I do is plant the seed in a space where it can flourish. I do have one small area set aside as a teaching environment. It’s my Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden. It’s not quite a natural area yet, because it is still recovering from being logged many years ago. As the trees get bigger it will return to a natural dense shade forested habitat.

In addition to the ginseng seedlings and habitat pots, I also keep many of the companions in propagation beds so I can easily transplant them to pots and sell them, or harvest bare root plants for dormant shipping. Those plants include goldenseal, bloodroot, black cohosh, blue cohosh, a variety of ferns, spicebush plants, pawpaw tree seedlings, and doll’s eyes. I also keep some of my other favorites like trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, and trout lilies, too.

Stewardship of Mother Nature versus Stewardship by Me

The Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden is not left completely to nature because I’m taking out things like honeysuckle and wild roses. I’m thinning some of the trees I don’t want there to favor some of the ones I do. The reason for that is to speed up the process that will make it a better habitat for the American ginseng and the companion plants that also grow in the same sort of environment. While the rest of Wild Ozark is pretty much left up to the stewardship of Mother Nature, this demonstration garden is being tended by me.

While the garden isn’t an ideal environment yet for the ginseng, it will eventually be so and the plants are doing well enough in the meantime. My process of doing this is helpful to others who want to do the same thing on their own property. Additionally, and the main reason I chose this spot, is because it is in a location close to the front gate and I don’t mind sharing that location with visitors.

Nature Farming means Harvesting Nature

I harvest things provided by nature. Things naturally growing, dropped to the ground, or dried on the stem. Wildcrafting is the gathering of wild plants. I’ll make ointments or extracts and teas from the medicinal plants. Some of them I’ll sell, and some of them I keep for our own household use. The parts I gather include fruits (persimmons, pawpaw), flowers (echinacea and beebalm), berries (elderberries, spicebush berries, raspberry, blackberry, etc.), seeds (lobelia), nuts (hickory, acorns), stems (witch hazel) or roots (ginseng, goldenseal).

 

Using Nature Farming Products to Create Art

So here’s where my nature farm departs from what most people normally think of when they think ‘farming’. The bulk of what Wild Ozark produces is botanical items most people barely notice. Usually it’s lying on the ground in the process of decomposing so it can return to the soil. Sticks, vines, leaves, bits of bark that fell from a tree… all treasures to me.

These harvests include things I use in my arts and crafts, like mosses and lichens and bark. These are things I simply pick up and put in my bucket during my morning walks.

A bucket full of nature farming produce. Some botanicals from the last gathering foray.

I use all of these things to create my Forest Folk, Fairy Houses, and Fairy Gardens. These are very popular and I even hold workshops on how to make these things so anyone can learn how a bit of nature farming can lead to beautiful Nature Art. I sell the small ferns for fairy gardens, bags of moss and preserved leaves, too. You can see where I’ve used twigs, acorns, leaves, dried grass, moss and small ferns in the following photos.

Bark from the Shagbark Hickory

One of our Nature Farm harvests is the bark of a certain tree. Burnt Kettle, my husband’s company, uses the bark from Shagbark hickories to make a delicious syrup. These trees grown naturally all around here.

Eventually we’ll harvest the wood from certain trees for my husband’s woodworking projects. He needs a bandsaw and sawmill to make boards from the abundant cedars that grow here.

Indirect Harvests from my Nature Farm

Art, photography, stories and workshops. Being around nature all of the time inspires me to write, draw, and take photos. I love sharing what I learn and enjoy with others, so I’m always happy to be contacted about doing workshops on topics like nature journaling, ginseng growing or habitat identification, and creating nature art. I’m not an expert on photography, so I’ll leave workshops on that to the ones that are. The outstanding photos from the ones I take are available for sale but I don’t have most of them listed at the shop yet.

Thanks for visiting with Wild Ozark website and taking the time to read about what I do here. Come by and visit the Ginseng Habitat Demonstration Garden if you’re in the area during spring and summer or come by the market booth to see the Forest Folk and Fairy Gardens! The market schedule will be kept current so you’ll know where I’ll be and when, but you can always email in advance if you like. Click here to get all of my contact information.

Virginia Creeper seedling

Virginia Creeper Seedling in my Ebony Spleenwort Fern

There’s a Virginia creeper  (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) seedling creeping up toward the light in my spleenwort fern (Asplenium platyneuron) container. I watched it for a few days with a suspicious eye as it unfurled, because I thought it might be a poison ivy.

Virginia Creeper

This isn’t one of my favorite plants. I’m only fascinated with it because I’ve never seen the creeper at this stage before. Actually, I did get online to make sure it wasn’t something else I suspected it could be, but the seedlings of that other plant look nothing like the seedling growing in my pot.

Virginia creeper seedling a little less zoomed. Virginia creeper seedling

Virginia creeper is the plant most often mistaken for ginseng. This seedling looks nothing at all like ginseng seedlings, though. Here’s what a ginseng seedling looks like on day 2:

Ginseng seedling day 2
A first year ginseng seedling the second day after unfurling.

I think I’ll keep my little seedling and bring it with me to my market booths for show and tell. But it’s going to have to get in its own pot soon.

Ebony Spleenwort

I need the little fern in its own pot, free of the creeper. These little ferns are called Ebony Spleenwort, and they adapt well to the fairy gardens in globes, bowls, and other containers. I do love these. They’re very plentiful here at Wild Ozark, but I’ll begin propagating them in woodland beds this year. That’s more sustainable than taking them from their wild homes.

Here's one of the Bowl Terrariums with a maturing Ebony Spleenwort growing in it.
Here’s one of the Bowl Terrariums with a maturing Ebony Spleenwort growing in it. I sell these as kits at my Etsy shop, and I’ll have them at the market booth this year.

Any plant with ‘wort’ in its name was once used for medicine. This fern was used for promoting menstruation and for chest congestion. The leaves are supposedly used as a tea. I have no plans to experiment with remedies using this plant. I like it for the fairy gardens mostly.

Vernal Witch Hazel

The other day I spotted some male flowers on the witch hazels down at the creek, but I didn’t have a camera on hand. I’ll try to get some pics of those before they disappear. That, too, is a new thing for me. Until Steven Foster posted his photo of one on FB the other day, I didn’t know witch hazel even had male and female flowers.

I think I may have missed the female witch hazel flowers on the vernal variety. I’m not sure how that happened, since I pass them everytime I go to town, but maybe I have been less attentive than usual in February. Or maybe they bloomed earlier and were knocked off by rain before I had a chance to see. No telling. I’ll try again next year.

Find us at the Fayetteville Farmers Market

I’m so excited! We just got the approval notification for our application to the Fayetteville Arkansas Farmer’s Market. This is a juried market. Last month we had an appointment with the review board. We brought our crafts for inspection – the fairy houses, fairy gardens, forest folk, and keepsake boxes. We have another review for the syrup and ginseng/woodland plants, but those are also fairly unique and so should be accepted as well.

The schedule? That I don’t know yet. Early in the season we’ll likely be there every Saturday starting March 31. Later in the season, they may boot us out to give space to the more tenured vendors with produce just coming in. Watch my schedule page or email me to inquire if you need to know whether we’ll be there on any given Saturday.

Armadillo Dilemma: To Kill or Not to Kill

Armadillo hide-out.
Armadillo hide-out.

So last summer I noticed an armadillo had 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. I wrote this post while trying to decide what to do the situation. I thought it would be a good time now to update and let everyone know the outcome.

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 tend to eat armadillos, be sure to cook the meat thoroughly. There have been cases of it caught from undercooked armadillo meat.

What’s this about leprosy??

Our nine-banded Armadillos are the only mammal that can host the leprosy bacteria that has plagued humans for centuries. They’re used to study the disease in laboratories. I once turned down what might have been a very interesting lab job at Carville, Louisiana where leprosy is studied on the campus of what used to be the last remaining Leper’s Colony in the United States. The laboratory has since moved to nearby Baton Rouge.

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.

Update 2018: This past summer we had the largest invasion of japanese beetles I’ve ever seen here. I decided to leave the armadillo alone. Although many areas were uprooted and the ground was turned up, I did not notice a significant amount of loss of seedlings or mature plants. That armadillo probably ate more than its weight in japanese beetle grubs, though, and for that I am thankful. And willing to sacrifice a few plants.

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

 

 

Wild Ozark’s Monthly Newsletter -May 2015

Here’s one of my monthly newsletters that goes out to my subscribers. This one is from May 2015 and 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!

(update 2018: I’m not sure I’ll be there again this year, so be sure to check back with me in spring to find out)

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.

(update 2018: I kept the seeds in a bucket in a cellophane-not plastic-bag with live moss. I put the bucket in a closet in a room that doesn’t get heating/cooling but does stay above freezing. They did great and the ones I still have left now in January 2018 are starting to “smile”.)

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.

April Blog Post Index

 

That’s all folks!

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

Large Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

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 in the Ginseng Habitat

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.

Relocating

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, but they might be finished blooming by then.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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.

What are your favorite plants with strange names?

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.

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