White Clover, an Underappreciated Beauty

 

 

 

 

 

While we wait for the rain to stop here in the NE, spring flowers brighten up our landscapes. The grass is an ‘Emerald City’ green. Bulbs rise, flower, come and go as we place seeds in the ground for early crops. Clovers will be coming up soon though I kinda take the little white clover blossoms for granted.

Botanical name: Trifolium repens

Common names: white clover, shamrock

Parts used: whole plant, Peterson’s field guides to medicinal plants states the entire plant can be used.

Uses: teas, washes for sores, ulcers, very popular in Europe. This plant was brought to our country with the early settlers during the 1600-1700’s. It’s short, a perennial and flowers from April to September with shamrock type leaves. As you can imagine, looking for four-leafed clover was and is considered a sign of good luck. In Europe, flower tea was used for rheumatism and gout. In North America, the Native Americans used the leaf tea for colds, coughs, and fevers.

Jethro Kloss, an American icon in the world of herbalism, lived from 1863 to 1946 and practiced herbal medicine. He used white clover blossoms in a tea to cleanse the system, especially if ulcers, boils or other skin ailments were present. He also noted that poultices, tea washes applied externally, helped heal sores, ulcers too.

White clover has been used for many years as a ground cover. It is useful as a ground cover for its nitrogen-fixing properties. There are nodules on the roots that literally grab nonusable nitrogen from the air and with the help of bacteria convert it into a plant usable form which is important for plant growth and provides protein source for foraging animals.

Benefits of White Clover: (from the University of Hawaii cooperative extension service pdf.)

1. Excellent for attracting beneficial insects, for reduced- or non-chemical pest management, for controlling erosion, suppressing weeds once established,

2. …and as a source of organic nitrogen good for quick growth and establishment,

3. …for bearing equipment traffic

4. …tolerates low fertility soils

5…. fair shade tolerance suitable for higher elevations

6. …good forage for animal grazing systems;

7. …high production, nutritional quality, and palatability

8. For use in plantation and orchard cropping systems including macadamia and coffee, in vineyards, and as a living mulch in vegetable cropping systems.”

In doing research for this article I came across a blog: insteading.com they use white clover as a living mulch, planting it in the garden to keep down weeds; eventually, it becomes mulch, retains moisture, attracts pollinators, and improves the soil. When I visited Michael Judd’s property, (author of Edible Landscapes), I saw his use of crops like mint growing in many places. He explained to us that he was not worried about keeping them harnessed. He cut them down periodically during the growing season and they became mulch there and then. It seems Insteading supports the same practices.

Last but not least, white clovers attract pollinators. White clover honey is one of the most popular honey here in the US, light in color and milder in taste.

Recipes:

Teas are easy: gather flowers, leaves at peak growing times, dry, store in glass jars. These plant parts can be combined with other herbs for tea making.  A few white clover blossoms along with red clovers can be added to ice teas too creating pleasing summertime drinks.

White clover flowers dried, then ground into flour can be added to bread recipes. Southern forager shares a bread recipe made from dehydrated and dried, ground white clover blossom flour. I have found forager sites have great uses and recipes for meadow plants.

I hope you look at white clovers in lawns, gardens, and paths a bit differently. This little plant often mowed and ignored provides a host of uses. Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share…I’d like that.

Enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Christopher Salem, Author, Influencer

Description: What creates success? We all look for some kind of answer that will bring us the satisfaction of prosperity. But, there’s no magic bullet. Accountability, responsibility, creating positive patterns and habits, showing up with more mindfulness each day empowers us and our creativity which brings success. Join Chris Salem and me for an engaging and inspiring discussion on how looking at our limiting beliefs, how getting to the root cause of our problems leads to more sustainable solutions. Chris is an author, speaker, and influencer contributing to the success of many businesses across our country.

About My Guest: Chris Salem is a highly authentic person who for over four years has had a special passion for empowering and serving business leaders, entrepreneurs in various industries, sales executives, coaches, authors, speakers, and others, taking their business and life to another level. For many years, Chris has seen people aspiring to make changes and grow but struggled at different phases of their career and life. He is just like you, a regular person that has faced similar struggles. Chris shares from experience what has worked successfully through hard work and dedication to help in your challenges.
Chris also delivers world-class content to audiences as a speaker that is high-impact which shifts people toward positive action. The focus is on the “root cause” that leads to changes and results, thus moves the audience toward improving their business and personal life. Always coming from the heart and personal experience, the audience is able to draw their own conclusions as to what is required of themselves to come out of their comfort zone and strive toward prosperity. Unlike seminars or programs that scratch the surface, the focus is always on the audience to make changes by addressing the “root cause” that holds back their greatness. Chris is 100% committed to SERVING & TRAINING the audience versus SELLING just products and services.

Transcript: #63 Chris Salem

3 Garden Design Tips for Spring Planning

 

 

We’ve had a lot of rain here in the NE this spring. Yet we eagerly run out when the sun pokes through a cloud and continue to spruce up yard and garden. We plan our vegetable beds and flower beds and usually look forward to adding something new. I’ve got three great tips for you today to consider when nursery shopping:

 

 

1. Think foliage.

We drool over the new hybrid creations that flash color and design but I propose looking at plant specimens from a foliage perspective. Check tags and better yet research the plant first to make sure its compatible with native species in your region. Choose native or heirloom varieties. Then look at foliage types for texture, depth, and color. The trick is to plant-wide leafed plants next to ones that are lacier or with a finer texture. For example, hostas have a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. Their strong root system makes them ideal next to wet areas, ponds. They can handle some shade too. Next, consider planting daisies between the wider leafed varieties such as Leucanthemum vulgare.

Years ago I planted several Hosta varieties ( deep blue leafs next to variegated white and green with yellow tints in between) in a relatively small shaded area to create a textured appearance. It takes a couple of years for new plants to fill in space but it’s worth it. Are deer a problem? Yes, they can be. Hostas are one of their favorites. I sprinkled cayenne pepper on leaves routinely and then added a nonobtrusive wire mess to the area.

 

2. Add food producing plants to your landscapes.

 

In previous posts, I have mentioned adding fruit-bearing shrubs such as blueberries, cranberries, and loganberries into more traditional non-food landscapes. If you spray and/or use chemicals then they are not edible. But if you have azalea, rhododendron bushes on your property, which like an acidic soil and are not treated, then you have a great match. Berries add color and provide food and habitat for many species. Get a soil sample done to make sure soil pH will support the berries. Blueberries, cranberries, and loganberries are all in the Vaccinium family and compatible.

 


3. Plant Wildflowers

Wildflowers can occupy a small land space. I especially recommend them if you have a field of “weeds” and its overrun. While the first year is the most work, the subsequent years need little to no maintenance, are drought resistant, and are sustainable. Meadows provide habitat, shelter, food, and water for so many critters, who are endangered today. My book, At the Garden’s Gate, has a chapter on how to turn lawn into a meadow in 7 easy steps.

We get creative in spring with our land spaces. After winter’s quiet and mono palette we look forward to springs renewal. I know I do.

I hope you found these tips helpful. What changes will you make in your gardens this year? Share your stories. We enjoy hearing from you. Judith.

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Massiel Abramson

Description: There are many spokes to the center of the wheel of life. Holism is the glue that keeps the circle strong. My guest this week, Massiel Abramson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, works with infants and young children. She describes how urban families often struggle with the care of young infants and children. Housing insecure, food insecure, and job insecure doesn’t leave much energy for their care. Her holistic approach fosters more consistent nurturing and considers a mind, body, spirit approach. Join us for a look at how this population is doing and how holistic considerations make a difference.

About My Guest: Massiel Abramson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working with infants, young children and their parents providing attachment and trauma-based therapy. She has worked in the clinical mental health field for 9 years in different capacities, management, training, and direct care. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Human Development with a specialty in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Rhode Island.

Transcript: #62 Massiel Abramson

Clean Solutions for Spring Cleaning

 

 

Dear readers, This article is too good to not pass along. Short and helpful it gives us practical items to use for cleaning home and office.

Many of us choose to use safe cleaning products.  We want our homes to be toxic free not only for ourselves and children but for our pets too.

Dr. Mercola’s site: mercola.com has a great article today offering:

How to Clean and Sanitize Without Harmful Chemicals

Some common household items, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can get the job done just as well — sometimes even better — than their toxic counterparts. Here’s a simple starter list of what you need to make your own natural cleaning products:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Liquid castile soap
  • Organic essential oils (optional)
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spray bottles
  • Micro fiber cloths

For a great video on how to use these ingredients and other tips for cleaning your home without hazardous chemicals, please review the article: How to Keep Your Home Clean Naturally. For example, vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer.

Cleaning mirrors and windows is as easy as adding a quarter-cup of white vinegar per quart of water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the mixture if windows or mirrors are really dirty, but be very careful not to use any that contain harmful antibacterial substances.

Most people know that baking soda is an ideal means to absorb odors in your refrigerator, but did you know it’s also a real powerhouse when it comes to cleaning?

Half-a-Dozen Uses for Baking Soda

Here are half a dozen examples of how plain and simple baking soda can replace dangerous commercial cleaning products in your home:

  1. Use as a safe non-scratch scrub — for metals and porcelain.
  2. To clean your oven — simply sprinkle a cup or more of baking soda over the bottom of the oven, then cover the baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste. Let the mixture set overnight. The next morning the grease will be easy to wipe up because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven.
  3. To unclog a drain — pour 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then slowly pour 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar in after it. Cover the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. If it bubbles like a volcano, it means it’s working as planned. Flush with a gallon of boiling water.
  4. Deodorize dry carpets — by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes, then vacuum.
  5. To rid your garbage disposal of foul smells — add vinegar to water for ice cubes, then let a few of them get chopped by your disposal.
  6. To clean your silver — boil 2-3 inches of water in a shallow pan with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for 2-3 minutes more. Remove silver from the pan and wipe away the tarnish with a clean cotton cloth.
Lemon juice or lemon essential oil are two of my favorite cleaning products that I keep handy in the kitchen.  A few drops on a sponge  leaves a refreshing smell to any kitchen counter or sink. Lemon oil or juice also deodorizes  a sponge. These products are safe to clean a pets cage or litter box.

Spring cleaning happens indoors and out. The above offers great advice. Dr. Mercola’s list of products to keep in our homes are easy to obtain and easy to use. So grab your your shopping list, add what you need and know you are protecting your family’s health. Here’s to spring cleaning….

Enjoy this beautiful day. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Dr. Gordon Pederson

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Description: Dr. Gordon Pedersen is board certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Naturopath, My Doctor Suggests Institute Medical Director and an original co-author of Chicken Soup for the Enriched Soul.

Energy Medicine is another spoke on the wheel of health and healing. Several modalities like color and sound are medicines of the near future. Dr. Gordon Pedersen joins us to discuss energy medicine from the point of view of bioelectric medicine. What is it? What progress are we making? And as an added benefit he discusses the history of using silver in medicine and how today’s technology creates an alkaline solution that our bodies recognize and can utilize for healing. Join us for an engaging discussion.

About My guest: Dr. Pedersen is a Ph.D., N.D., FAPWCA, FAARM, Board Certified Anti-Aging, and Regenerative Medicine, Naturopath, My Doctor Suggests Institute Medical Director and an original co-author of Chicken Soup for the Enriched Soul.

Gordon holds five doctor’s degrees, is Board Certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and also holds a master’s degree in Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness. He is a bestselling author many times over in the fields of health and wellness and a well-known expert on women’s issues, the immune system, gut and brain relationship, yeast and bacteria management, and silver’s uses in health.
Gordon was the only intern of Jonas Salk, noted for the discovery and development of the polio vaccine, and has formulated over 150 products, including the first formulations and studies of protein powders as they worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other premier athletes.

Gordon is frequently called upon as the world’s leading authority on silver as a health tool and has volunteered and personally funded efforts to bring silver’s benefits into Africa’s poorest communities with dramatic results on malaria; working with several National and International governmental organizations on the topic of silver.

Transcript: Podcast #61 Gordon Pedersen 

Earth Day: Precious Water, Symbol of Life

 

My podcast guest this week, Grandmother Nancy Andry, shared her story, her wisdom and spoke about women as caretakers of the water. She is one of the singers, sharers, and promoters of the Algonquin Water Song. This incredible gift, the Algonquin Water Song is for us. Please listen to the recording and sing the song every day. We have misused our water, shown great disrespect for water as evidenced by the level of pollution that exists on our planet.
In the past 12 years, drinking water used by 49 million residents of the United States has been contaminated with bacteria, radioactive materials, and arsenic in levels that are both illegal and incredibly unsafe. 

Water, a powerful symbol in every culture, is our lifeblood. Water is connected to healing, cleansing, and renewal. I ask that you remember to give thanks for every drop of water you drink, bath in, wash in not just during Earth Day Celebrations but every day. Today I am adding the River Song sung by Brooke Medicine Eagle, and, a song for and with the creatures of the Oceans by Dr. Leesa Sklover, also a podcast guest.

Water is crucial to our existence on this planet. Please share these beautiful songs and sing the water song every day. Did you enjoy these songs? I hope so. We’d like to hear from you. Enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Grandmother Nancy and the Algonquin Water Song

Description: This Algonquin Water Song expresses loving gratitude for the water and raises the consciousness and connection of women with Mother Nature’s greatest gift. The song is easy to learn, and our hope is that millions of women will sing it, raising their own connection and awareness of the water they interact with daily even in the shower or at the sink. Sing it 4 times, facing each of the 4 Directions. We believe this is a powerful step to change, leading to both a spiritual as well as the environmental shift on our planet.

This song was written by Irene Wawatie Jerome for Grandfather William Commanda’s 2002 Circle of All Nations gathering. It is recorded with permission from the Wawatie and Commanda families and the Circle of All Nations Foundation and the Elders in Canada.

Please note: This information and use of the water song is shared here with permission. It is my intent to honor our elders and their teachings. Honoring our water is needed and timely. Women traditionally hold the water. It is with gratitude I share these messages, song, and information.

About My Guest: Grandmother Nancy is of Algonquin and French heritage and has followed the Red Road since childhood. Seeking out elders willing to teach, her first two mentors were Lakota, one an author, one a medicine man. An Ojibwa medicine woman, then a Mi’kmaq grandmother later adopted her. Community elders gave her permission to pour lodges since 1991. She served as a facilitator for a Native Women’s Circle in federal prison for 17 years.

A Sundancer and a Sacred Pipe carrier, she is acknowledged as an elder and a grandmother in her communities in Canada, where she was given instruction to bring out and share certain teachings. Grandmother Nancy is a well-known storyteller, sharing legends from many different Nations in schools, health facilities, and the pow wow circuit. She was a staff member of the Joined Nations of Connecticut, a youth organization for those of Native heritage. She has given talks in Calgary, Canada, St. Croix USVI, and at various centers in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She also owned and operated an equestrian business until retirement, and now incorporates Horse Medicine in some of her lectures about Native culture.

Transcript: #59 Grandmother Nancy 

Algonquin Water Song: click on this link to view the short video with the Algonquin Water Song. I hope you enjoy it. It brought me to tears. My heart sends a big thank you to our elders who share this wisdom. It’s timely and it’s special. Remember all comments are appreciated.

Enjoy, Judith

Blog: Beauty and Magic of Pollinators.

I couldn’t resist this video. The photographer shares his lifetime of work capturing pollinators on film. He reminds us that when we see something that is beautiful and touches our heart we are more apt to care for it. My podcasts seek to remind us that we are nature and what we see in nature is in us, whether looking for a medical cure, protecting pollinators, looking for solutions to climate changes, or social changes. It’s all there if we look more deeply and let nature guide us more. Let’s “get out of our cleverness”, says Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute and open our hearts to more compassion for nature’s intelligence. This short film is spectacular and inspiring. Please share and comment. It’s always appreciated.

My podcast guest this week, Vicki Wojcik, program director at the pollinator partnership reminds me that pollinators are losing their habitat. It doesn’t take much to bring them back. “If you plant it they will come.” Pollinators are diverse species that are often specialists and need specific plants to thrive. What new plants are you adding this spring? Do they favor pollinators? Don’t forget to check their regional guide too. I recommend you visit their site for more detailed information.

Enjoy spring. Judith

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Vicki Wojcik, Pollinator Partnership

Description: Pollinators are ecosystems service providers. We know they are hurting from the loss of habitat. When they disappear, become extinct they are gone for good. So many of them are endangered today of becoming extinct. So what can we do?  “Build it and they will come!” Vicki reminds us that every garden plot contributes to habitat, food, water, and shelter. Everything basic they need we need too. So, can you help our pollinators and add more flowers, shrubs, trees? I hope so. Check out Pollinator.org for regional planting guides for suggestions.

About My Guest: Vicki’s interest in pollinators was sparked during her undergraduate days with the opportunity to travel to Brazil to participate in a field course in pollinator ecology field research course in Brazil and has continued ever since. Her graduate research focused on understanding how native bees use habitats in cities. This focus on pollinators in human-dominated landscapes has continued throughout her career and has grown to include agricultural lands, industrial lands, and the impacts of climate change. Vicki is currently the Research Director at Pollinator Partnership she oversees the research program, keeping on top of new and emerging pollinator issues.

Transcript: Vicki Wojcik 

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