Monday, May 25, 2015

The Herb Cottage Newsletter May 2015


MAY 2015
VETIVER- Grass of Many Uses 

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Vetiver Grass, Chrysopogon zizanioides, is a tropical, clumping-type grass grown for many uses. I acquainted myself with this plant some years ago. It has quite an amazing story.

Vetiver is a member of the same part of the grass family as maize, sorghum, sugar cane and lemongrass. It is an ancient plant that has been grown around the world for centuries, with great benefit .

A native of India, Vetiver has had a long history. The name comes from "vetiver," a Tamil word meaning "root that is dug up." The zizanioides was given by Linnaeus in 1771 and means "by the riverside." As you would guess, the native habitat of this grass is in low, damp sites such as swamps and bogs. In spite of that, the grass is now being used on dry hillsides to control erosion.


Vetiver Grass on hillside

And by the sea.

Vetiver system

Vetiver is a clumping type grass, completely non-invasive. It does not produce viable seed, so there is no seeding out as with some other grasses.

The reason Vetiver works so well for erosion control is it produces a massive root system that grows straight down rather than out from the plant. It creates a sort of curtain beneath the soil, trapping sediment and slowing down the movement of water. Because the grass grows down instead of outward, it does not become invasive. The roots are very deep, so it's best to decide carefully where to plant it because it is very hard to dig up.


Vetiver root

The above-ground plant looks much like pampas grass or lemon grass. It is a big, coarse clumping grass that can grow to be very tall. It provides a considerable amount of biomass that can be used for mulching or composting. 
Mature Vetiver Planting


A method of fermenting the harvested grass has been found to make an excellent medium for growing mushrooms.
Vetiver is used as a wind break or to trap soil and sediment from washing away on terraced agricultural plantings as well as bare hillsides. Vetiver Grass used in farming
Notice the Vetiver Grass between the rows of vegetables, above. The Vetiver will keep the soil from washing away from the roots of the cash crop.

Vetiver Grass used as mulch

Vetiver Grass can be harvested for mulch.
Other Uses for Vetiver
Vetiver grown in a container for a lovely effect. Keep it pruned to a desired height for maximum visual impact. (Use the cut offs for mulch!)

Vetiver Grass- ornamental use
The roots of Vetiver have an exquisite and long lasting scent that some liken to the aroma of sandalwood. Leaves of the plant are almost odorless, unless damp.

An open bowl of dried vetiver root can give off a most pleasing aroma for a very long time.

The roots of the plant have been used for centuries as a source of essential oil that makes a wonderful perfume. It is also used for scenting soaps and other cosmetics.
In many areas of the world, the grass is used for thatching roofs and making consumer products.

Vetiver sandals

Vetiver hat

Vetiver thatched roof


Vetiver Root Products
Products from Bali made with aromatic Vetiver Root.

There are myriad more uses for Vetiver Grass. It is used as animal forage at a certain stage of growth. Floating rafts of the grass can be added to ponds to clean water from agricultural runoff, from concentrated animal enclosures, even sewage.

Vetiver Pontoons
Floating pontoons keep water clean


Vetiver cleans water

One last interesting feature of Vetiver is how it recovers from fire.

Vetiver after fire

Vetiver after fire

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND MORE PICTURES, PLEASE VISIT VETIVER.ORG.

All the pictures in the current article are taken from vetiver.org.


You can purchase Vetiver Grass from The Herb Cottage here.


As if all this information isn't enough, Vetiver is also used for health and healing. Stay tuned for the JUNE NEWSLETTER:
VETIVER'S SURPRISING WELLNESS, MEDICINAL AND COSMETIC PROPERTIES
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QUOTE FOR THE MONTH

The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.

-Sigmund Freud, neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis (1856-1939) 

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Until Next Time,
Good Growing to You,
Cindy Meredith, proprietor
The Herb Cottage
442 CR 233
Hallettsville, TX 77964
phone & fax: 979-562-2153, cell: 361-258-1192
email: cindy@theherbcottage.com
http://theherbcottage.com/

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Herb Teas-Beyond Mint" next meeting May 13, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

 

Photo by Style Pie

WHAT: Linda T. Collins will present: "Herb Teas-Beyond Mint"

WHEN: Second Wednesday of every month,

WHERE: ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas

Cindy Meredith, proprietor of The Herb Cottage http://www.theherbcottage.com/index.htm located in Hallettsville, Texas, cannot make our program this month. So Linda T. Collins will present the program, prepared by Cindy, on herbal teas. We will have at least one tea to taste and maybe more depending on what is growing in my herb beds!


Come and learn everything you ever wanted to know about herbs. Did you know that there are over 2,000 herbs and that roses are herbs too? And did you know that many of our Texas Native Plants are herbs also? Herbs have been used for centuries for not only culinary purposes, but also for medicinal uses, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, clothing (one of which is Gossypium cotton), building supplies, dyes. arts and crafts.

Our herb study group was founded in March 2003 and meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas at 10:00 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. We are open to the public. Some members of the group are available as speakers to other audiences, so please contact us if you need a speaker to present an herb program.

The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge and awareness about herbs.
 

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More information: "Field Trip to The Herb Cottage, Hallettsville"


 
Hello everyone!

Even though Linda can't make the trip The Herb Cottage, I hope others of you will get a carpool or two together and come on up here! The wildflowers are out and it will be a pretty drive. Things here at The Herb Cottage are looking great, too.

As Linda mentioned, I have lots of plants to look at and purchase, if you like. For you succulent lovers, there are lots to see!

I'd would be good if someone could let me know if anyone is coming. All the email addresses are in the top of this and Linda's email, if you need to get in touch with anyone to make arrangements. Or just Reply All and your message will go out to the group.

I hope I'll be welcoming a great group of my fellow Herbies next week!


Cindy Meredith
The Herb Cottage
 

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Field Trip to The Herb Cottage, Hallettsville"

 
Dear Herbies,
I just love our group, and I especially love going on field trips up to The Herb Cottage, Cindy Meredith’s herb business located in Hallettsville. I had planned on being one of the drivers for our upcoming April 8, 2015 field trip, but I have to go visit family, and well that’s just the way it is.
So I’m going to send this notice to you all. Maybe a couple of you can make arrangements ahead of time to line up drivers and car pool. Meeting at the Ace Hardware parking lot is a good place to get together and car pool up to Cindy’s. I suggest you meet and leave at 8:00 no later than 8:15.
The following is information from Cindy about getting up to her house.
“There is a Google map and a hand drawn detail map on my website at theherbcottage.com/map.html.  If they get lost call me at 361-258-1192. Oh, for GPS users my address is 442 County Road 233, Hallettsville, TX. I'm pretty sure my location is accurate using GPS.”


Map:  http://theherbcottage.com/map.html
Some of the following information is from our Rockport Herbies Blog:
SUBJECT: "Field Trip to The Herb Cottage, Hallettsville"

WHAT: Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group

WHEN: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 @ 8:00 a.m.

WHERE: Ace Hardware Parking Lot, Rockport, Texas
Cindy has a good selection of herbs for us to choose from including some of them that we didn't have at the MG plant sale, i.e. rosemary, stevia, chives, both garlic and onion, mints, thymes, vegetables including salad greens and lots of succulents.

We pack our own lunches and then almost everyone brings something to share, whether it is a salad, dessert, or whatever. Cindy will provide us with some wonderful herb iced tea. We will carpool, so we will need to know how many of us are going. And we want to leave enough room to bring back lots of plants! Please let Cindy or one of the other members know by Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at telephone number 361-258-1192. Looking forward to having another great field trip up in the country!

Generally we have just our group take Field Trips with us, but our group loves to have any and all that are interested in herbs to join us. So feel free to invite anyone that you know that might be interested. We leave the Rockport Ace Hardware store parking lot at 8:00, and get to The Herb Cottage around 9:45 or so. We then check out all the plants and have a question and answer tour of the plants, eat lunch some where around 11:30 to noon, have a short business meeting during lunch, and generally leave to head back to Rockport around 1:00.

And be sure to check out our Rockport Herbies Blog noted below. Cindy, Ruth and I keep it updated with lots of great information on gardening, the environment and recipes. Don't be shy; just click on the link and you might be surprised at all of the information including photos!
Our herb study group was founded in March 2003 and meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas at 10:00 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. We are open to the public. Some members of the group are available as speakers to other audiences.

The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge and awareness about herb.

Linda T. Collins
Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group
Post Office Box 1988
Rockport, TX 78381
361-729-6037
361-729-6058 (Fax)
http://rockportherbies.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks" presented by Cindy Meredith


WHEN: Second Wednesday of every month, next meeting March 11, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas
 
Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol.

Come and learn everything you ever wanted to know about herbs. Did you know that there are over 2,000 herbs and that roses are herbs too? And did you know that many of our Texas Native Plants are herbs also? Herbs have been used for centuries for not only culinary purposes, but also for medicinal uses, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, clothing (one of which is Gossypium cotton), building supplies, dyes. arts and crafts.

Our herb study group was founded in March 2003 and meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas at 10:00 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. We are open to the public. Some members of the group are available as speakers to other audiences, so please contact us if you need a speaker to present an herb program.

The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge and awareness about herbs.

Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group
Post Office Box 1988
Rockport, TX 78381
http://rockportherbies.blogspot.com


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Mexican Oregano" is just a common name for the two herbs listed below.


There is lots of discussion about "Mexican Oregano"!  Here is some information that I have compiled! 


Well, "Mexican Oregano" is just a common name for the two herbs listed below.  There is at least one other herb that is referred to as Mexican Oregano, but as far as I understand, it is not considered a culinary herb and it does not grow well in Texas! 


Poliomintha longiflora and Lippia graveolens are the ones most commonly grown as "Mexican Oregano" here in Texas with P. longiflora being slightly hardier than the L. graveolens.  Find information about both below.

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The P. longiflora is more attractive with the light mauve-pink, tubular flowers that hummingbirds love, and it stays smaller growing to about 3'. I have found that it can take a little more humidity and lower temperatures than the L. graveolens. It is considered to have the hotter taste of the two and is used in Mexican cooking as is the L. graveolens. It likes full sun but can tolerate partial sun during the afternoons.


Botanical Name
Poliomintha longiflora
Common Name
Mexican Oregano
Attribute
Perennial
Cultural Requirements
Full sun to part shade. Low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing
Ht: to 3' or so, 40" wide. Woody shrub.
Other Information
Light pink, tubular flowers cover this shrubby plant during the warm weather. Although not a true oregano, the narrow shiny green leaves are full of real oregano flavor. Dries well.
Courtesy of The Herb Cottage http://theherbcottage.com/

Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) is a strong-smelling plant popular in Mexico and Texas. Excellent for hot, humid areas, this woody shrub grows 3 feet tall. The small green leaves yield an essential oil similar to that of oregano and are used in cooking. Its tubular flowers of white to lavender blue attract hummingbirds.


South of the Border: Mexican Herbs for Texas
By Ann McCormick


Mexican Oregano
If you have room for just one native herb, then Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) is your best choice. The leaves of this shrubby herb are a somewhat spicy replacement for garden oregano. When substituting, reduce the amount in your recipe to about two-thirds of garden oregano.

Mexican oregano likes full sun but will also grow in partial shade. This graceful perennial provides lovely color through summer and into fall with tubular white, pink and lavender flowers. It generally reaches 3 feet. In my shade garden, however, it is prostrate, growing no higher than about 10 inches. Although native to the drier regions of Texas, it can adapt to the humid gulf area. It can also be grown in containers, where it will delight you with a cascade of showy flowers.

Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) is doing very well with minimal water, and it's covered in the pinky-purple flowers it's known for. This is an underused plant. It has great flavor, is evergreen during the winter in our part of the state, and flowers during the hottest part of the summer.
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The L. graveolens is not as pretty as the P. longiflora, with small yelow-white flowers and growing to a lanky 5', but in my humble opinion, it has a better spicy oregano flavor than the P. longiflora. It is closely related to Aloysia triphylla (lemon verbena) which was once classified as Lippia citriodora. It likes full sun and well-drained, sandy soil and hot climates. I finally lost mine after 5 years. I think it was because it wasn't planted in full sun.


Botanical Name
Lippia graveolens
Common Name
Mexican Oregano
Attribute
Tender Perennial
Cultural Requirements
Full sun to part shade. Low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing
Ht: 4' to 5'. Shrubby in form.
Other Information
Native of Mexico. Very pungent oregano flavor and aroma. Very tasty in salsa. Long lasting flavor when dried.
Courtesy of The Herb Cottage http://theherbcottage.com/

It's a slender aromatic shrub or small tree, whose pubescent (felty) branches bear rounded to obtuse, bluntly serrated leaves. Fragrant flowers are yellowish or white with a yellow eye and occur throughout the year, especially after rains.

Mexican Oregano (Lippia) lippia graveolens Oregano, Mexican (Lippia graveolens) This is probably the better known of the "Mexican Oreganos" in this country. Actually a relative of Lemon Verbena, this grows as a small shrub, reaching 3-5 feet in one season in Zone 5. Much of the oregano used commercially in the U.S. is actually this one. North of zone 8 it should be grown as a tender perennial

Both of these Mexican Oreganos are tender perennials, growing in zones 9-11, and can be propagated from cuttings and are well worth growing here in south Texas.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Days like today, make for perfect "soup weather"!



It's cold and rainy here today! Days like today, make for perfect "soup weather"! I was looking for some recipes, and found this one by Epicurious! The following recipe is courtesy of website:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-and-sage-soup-with-sage-breadcrumbs-241346

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs recipe



Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs Bon Appétit | February 2008

Deborah Madison

Yield: Makes 6 servings

ingredients

Soup:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 to 6 cups Chicken Stock or 5 to 6 cups purchased organic chicken broth

Breadcrumbs:

  • 2 crustless slices fresh whole grain wheat bread, torn
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

preparation


For soup:

Melt butter with oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, parsley, and sage; sauté until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add squash and coarse salt; sauté until squash softens and onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add 5 cups stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender, allowing some texture to remain. Return soup to pot. Thin with stock, if desired. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and chill. Rewarm before serving.


For breadcrumbs:

Place bread in processor; blend until fine crumbs form but some slightly coarser crumbs remain. Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and sage. Cook until crumbs are crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

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