Letting the Garden Go

I gave up fighting the weeds. I let them go to my neighbor’s chagrin. The comphry already wags its many-whiskered faces over the border. “The leaves can be taken internally for stomach and duodenal ulcers, where the tannins and mucilage help calm any inflammation; the allantoin will heal the eroded area. This remedy is also appropriate for chest problems such as bronchitis where it has a soothing and healing action.” taken from Herbs and Health by Nicola Peterson. What gardeners call weeds are really plants that have evolved to suit the prairie and its inhabitants. Herbalists have long understood the benefits of nature’s bounty by gathering leaves, roots or bark to make teas and tinctures.

Coneflowers or echinacea, “This is one of the main anti-infective remedies and is effective against viral, fungal and bacterial infections (Peterson).” Red clover, much loved by the bees is a safe remedy for children’s eczema, and it helps in cleansing the kidneys (Peterson). Of course, dandelion rich in vitamin c, and plantain in abundance provide all the greens we need without spending a dime. Milkweed, vital for butterflies and other pollinators sways in the breeze, a sentinel plant. In time, these plants will be replaced by big blue stem, little blue stem and the prickly pear cactus, whose fruits make a fine, delicately sweet jam for breakfast or teatime.