Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lady's Mantle Emerging

Lady's mantle. Alchemilla vulgaris. It's said the dew collected from lady's mantle leaves have magical properties and was used by medieval alchemists in their attempts to turn lead into gold. Not one to pass up an opportunity to anoint myself with magic, I always dab a bit of the dew on my face while in the garden.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Flowers

While in the garden yesterday, I remarked to my 5-year-old grandson, "Look, the coltsfoot is in bloom." He stopped, looked down and said, "Granny, they look a lot like dandi-flowers." It's true. And many adults assume the yellow blossoms along the side of the road at this time of year are dandelions. Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, is one of the earliest blooming wildflowers/herbs in the Northeast. Also known as "Father-Before-the-Son" because the flowers appear before the leaves, coltsfoot brings welcome color in early spring. Coltsfoot is used as a cough remedy by herbalists.

Also blooming are sweet violets. "Regular" garden violets will bloom a little later, but the sweet violets always appear first. Pushing up through the earth, garnering our attention, were angelica, catnip, butterbur, squirrel corn, motherwort, nettles, pulsatilla, chickweed and chives. The first of the peepers were singing. The ground is still sodden and there is standing water in many places after the huge rains. Some snow remains in shadowy places. But, spring is springing!