Beauty (and health) benefits of Hibiscus

It never ceases to amaze me how many foods and herbs have healing properties. Take the hibiscus flower for example. This beautiful, bright bloom is completely edible and for years it has been used for several different ailments...yet most people only know it as the flowering shrub.

Hibiscus tea made with fresh or dried hibiscus flowers.

My mother recently said to me "I need to get some Hibiscus tea, it's supposed to help with weight loss." She had read that regular consumption of hibiscus tea can increase your body's metabolism, helping you to lose excess weight. It has so many more health properties too!

What to do with chive blossoms

Edible flowers can add a splash of color and fun to lots of dishes and chive blossoms are one of the few that add flavor too! The chive flower is a small puff of pinkish or light purple florets on a tall, sturdy stalk that shoots straight up from a clump of chives and they're completely edible! They have a light oniony flavor and can be used dried or fresh.

A clump of chives growing in garden with pretty purple chive blossoms.

All chives produce flowers, so if you're growing chives in your herb garden you will get chive blossoms. If you don't grow chives, look for them at farmers markets. They're a pretty popular item this time of year so many famers sell them. They only bloom once though, so make sure you look for them at the beginning of garden season.

Today I want to talk about the best ways to use chive blossoms!

What to forage in spring

As spring breaks through the cold we all start to get anxious for warm weather activities! One of my favorite things to do is to forage for wild herbs. These are the basis of many of the salves and teas I make during the year. In the first few weeks of spring I often forage baskets and baskets of herbs to dry!

pictures of wild herbs to harvest in spring

There are lots of wild herbs (or weeds) that you can forage for in your yard or local park in summer, but only a few that are ready to be collected this early in the year. Dandelions and plantain are two that start the earliest. Wild violet is not far behind, but only has a window of a few weeks before the flowers are gone.

I'm in Pennsylvania, so our foraging is dependent on the cold weather breaking. Plants that are just getting started up here, like chickweed are already way out of control in southern states! Many plants prefer spring to fall in the south and die out over summer.

Either way, now is the perfect time to start foraging!

Seed Sharing Envelope DIY

Today I am sharing a printable seed packet template I made. I created it with different types of plants in mind and it's super easy to print, cut out and fill these mini seed envelopes. It's a great way to label your own seeds or share your seeds with other gardeners. That was a big part of the huge success in backyard gardening last year...seed sharing!

Homemade seed envelopes with seeds in them for sharing.

Last year a weird thing happened in the garden industry. They ran out of seeds! Almost 30 years gardening and I've never seen this happen! When the lockdowns started people started worrying about the food supply and since spring was right around the corner, they decided to plant their own gardens. 

Smart move. Not only was it  a home based activity when we were being asked to stay home, but it was an outdoor activity. Sunshine and fresh air is good for everyone! Did you know that 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D? Since our skin absorbs vitamin D from sunlight, spending some time in the sun is a good idea. Just use sunscreen, nobody wants skin damage or sunburn!

Sorry...went off topic!

This sudden interest in gardening overwhelmed the seed companies and many of them stopped taking orders because they couldn't keep up. Gardeners who saved their seeds from last years garden, were way ahead of the game. Many of them shared seeds with fellow gardeners and newbie growers.

Getting started with gemstones. The first 13 healing crystals to buy.

Have you ever used healing crystals? They are one of my favorite things ever! Crystal stones...aka, natural gemstones all have different properties and many people use them for natural health and wellness. I use them often. There are a lot of different stones which all have different properties, so I have a wide assortment throughout my home and jewelry box. I've been collecting them for years!

My oldest stones have been in my collection for at least 15 years. I wear them as jewelry and have larger stones sitting around my house as decorations. I only started using them for healing maybe 10 years ago. Before that they were just pretty decorations. Turns out, they are so much more!

Natural gemstones. Geodes, points, clusters

If you have an interest in natural health, it is good to incorporate a lot of different forms of healing, like herbs or essential oils. So why not try using healing crystals? The term 'crystal' is slightly confusing though. You're probably picturing sparkling clear glass, but it's essentially just a raw form of gemstone. 

It's like how diamonds come out of the earth looking a lot less fancy than they do in a jewelers case. Natural stones are the same. In fact you'll likely recognize a lot of the more common gemstone names like amethyst, onyx, topaz and rose quartz but don’t realize many of these have healing properties. These are the exact same amethyst, citrine or topaz you see in fancy jewelry stores!