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Early March and spring is right around the corner. I thought it would be good to take some pictures, check in with the herbies as they venture out into the chill. Imagine my surprise when, four days after taking pictures for this post, this happened:

Crocuses in a March snow

Crocuses in a March snow

Ah, March. In like a lion, true to fashion. Let’s see if it goes out like a lamb?

Elderberry

Elderberry, budding out from where we cut it back this past fall (our dog Rowan in the background). My husband was so worried we would kill it. Now he knows *grin*

Black Cherry

Part of our dwarf fruit tree plantings, this black cherry is now three years old and budding out all over the place!

Lavender

New growth on the lavender bush. We finally found a spot where it could winter over. Hurrah for south-facing walls!

rosemary2013-03_2

Rosemary. Isn’t she gorgeous?

Rosemary

All abloom – just beautiful

Garden rhubarb

Garden variety rhubarb (not the medicinal variety) busting out ready for pies…

Tansy

The tansy is starting to reach out for another year of trying to escape its pot…

St. John's wort

and the St. John’s wort, so eager for the returning sun

Marjoram

Our marjoram is a bit singed from the frost, but weathered yet another winter, the old girl

Lemon Balm

The lemon balm is creeping up between the fallen leaves

Feverfew

and the feverfew as well

Grapes

The muscadine grapes are starting to bud out – these guys are three years old, too, and soooo tasty…

Hyssop

Hyssop is interplanted with the grapes…

Vitex

The vitex still looks pretty barren, but soon enough it’ll be busting out in beautiful blooms

Vitex berries

Damon holding some of the dried vitex berries

Echinacea

The echinacea is starting to peek out in clumps here and there

Daffodil and santolina

Daffodil and santolina cuddling up close for warmth…

Daffodil

so lovely…

Crocus

and of course, the crocus, flagbearer of spring.

Stay warm everyone! And if you’re on the East coast, enjoy the snow and stay safe!

Robbie's farm

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to camp out with a bunch of herbies (“herbies” is like “foodies,” but for herb enthusiasts *grin*) at Robbie Wooding’s farm. Robbie is as warm and welcoming as you could imagine, genuinely pleased to share his home with us for a couple days. He’s been practicing herbalism for a good long time, and between him and Kathleen Maier and all the other herbies in attendance, we had a wealth of information and wisdom at the table. A veritable summer solstice bounty.

Kathleen speaking about vitex

The farm has been in Robbie’s family since 1790—originally a land grant from the King of England—and his family have been there ever since.

The weekend was marked by lessons both formal and informal, long walks, plant ID, shared meals, new points of view, sustainable living alternatives, fireflies blinking long into the night. As a special treat, as if all this weren’t enough, we had a big potluck Saturday night and a wonderful bluegrass band—some of the best bluegrass I’ve heard in years.

Bluegrass in Halifax

I’ll be posting a couple more items this week related to the weekend on the farm, specifically on harvesting inner bark and drying herbs. For now, here’s a tour of some of the beautiful herbs we encountered.

Echinacea purpureaEchinacea, Purple coneflower. Echinacea purpurea.

SassafrasSassafras. Sassafras albidum.

MulleinMullein. Verbascum thapsus.

MotherwortMotherwort. Leonurus cardiaca.

ButterflyweedButterflyweed, Pleurisy-root. Asclepias tuberosa.

Red CloverRed clover. Trifolium pratense.

VitexVitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Monk’s Pepper. Vitex agnus-castus.

GoldensealGoldenseal. Hydrastis canadensis.

PokePoke, Pokeweed. Phytolacca americana.

AsparagusAsparagus. Asparagus officinalis.

PassionflowerPassionflower, Maypop. Passiflora incarnata.

OatsMilky oats. Avena sativa.

YarrowYarrow. Achillea millefolium.

GreenbrierGreenbrier, Catbrier. Smilax rotundifolia.

LizardThis lizard was just chillin’, hanging out on a tree in the middle of our motley group. Anyone know what kind of lizard this is?

BlackberryBlackberry. Rubus ursinus.

Black-eyed SusanBlack-eyed Susan. Rudbeckia hirta.

St. John's WortSt. John’s Wort. Hypericum perforatum.

Queen Anne's LaceQueen Anne’s Lace, Wild carrot. Daucus carota.

GinsengGinseng, American ginseng. Panax quinquefolius.

Robbie with American ginsengRobbie showing the ginseng root – look at that dancing root! What a beauty.

Lamb's QuartersLamb’s Quarters, Lamb quarters, Pigweed. Chenopodium album.

ComfreyComfrey. Symphytum officinale.

MilkweedMilkweed. Asclepias syriaca.

ElecampaneElecampane. Inula helenium.

Elecampane flowersAnd the fireworks finish? Elecampane in flower – something I’ve never seen in person before.

What a marvelous weekend. Time for sleep. Check back later this week for more posts on harvesting inner bark and drying herbs. Till then, sweet dreams.

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