As you know, we have a new ED transitioning into HWB. Jocelyn Perez Blanco is long-time HWB Queens Chapter Coordinator, has been serving as Assistant Director since late last year, and is transitioning to the ED role in the upcoming weeks. Take a few minutes to checkout the video below, and get to know Jocelyn a bit better!
~From Lucretia Jones
Collected rainwater is our family’s main water source, so drought tolerant plants are often on my mind. Thankfully, the plants I engage with for medicinal purposes are usually hearty and require little to no fussing. In fact, many plants thrive under stressful conditions and offer us the same resilience when getting to know them.
This week, while wandering around the garden gathering seeds, a couple of plant friends stood out and wanted to be included in this conversation. At one point during our Northern hemisphere summer, our water tanks were running dry and we had to pick and choose what plants would get that limited resource. Both comfrey (symphytum spp) and cronewort (aka mugwort/artemisia vulgaris), have received minimal care and have been thriving all season.
Comfrey is a generous plant that offers us support. I’ve planted root pieces about the half the size of my thumb and have seen leaves emerge in less than a month. Once established, lack of water doesn’t seem to affect this plant’s exuberance. Apparently, as seen in the included photo, deer might be its biggest threat.
Cronewort is the definition of prolific. The three or four seedlings we planted near our wildflower beds a few years ago have spread into a sizable patch, even showing up hundreds of feet away from that original location. I make an infused vinegar with new leaves, giving my food a tasty mineral rich boost, and wrap flowering tops into fragrant bundles for dreamy smoke bathing.
Besides their many medicinal benefits, and as conserving water becomes more and more of a concern in many parts of the world, comfrey and cronewort are perfect additions to your drought tolerant garden. A few of each will go a long way for you with plenty to share.
This article is written from plant hardiness zone 6, in North America, where these plants do well in this environment. Be sure to check your local extension to ensure you do not plant anything that is invasive in your specific region, and check your own soil type compatibility with these plants!
Contributor: Lucretia Jones (HWB Board Member)
I've been working and learning with plants for over twenty years. As a wise woman herbalist, my favorite times are spent meeting new and old plant friends wherever I happen to be. Sharing those relationships with other humans led me to create House of Lukaya in 2003. House of Lukaya, is a mobile and online source for plant medicine workshops, incense twists and other handicrafts, and a pocket Guide to Nourishing Herbal Infusions. In 2019, my partner and I purchased land in Virginia where we are building a homestead from scratch and creating space to share herbs and arts with others. I welcome your communication at my website houseoflukaya.com, on Instagram @houseoflukaya, and at patreon.com/houseoflukaya.
HWB has some exciting announcements. First, Denise Cusack, our HWB Executive Director since September 2017, will be stepping down from the role, and Jocelyn Perez Blanco will be stepping in as our new Executive Director! Jocelyn brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the role, as well as experience as herbalist, educator, nonprofit manager, and chapter coordinator. Jocelyn has been serving as the HWB Assistant Director for over 9 months to learn this role, and is ready to jump in and put her stamp on it. We know Jocelyn will be wonderful in this role.
Denise Is not leaving HWB, however, and will remain as the HWB Donation Mutual Aid Network Coordinator, shipping donated supplies to HWB groups throughout the US. She will
also continue to volunteer in social media and seed grant management, and Denise will serve on the HWB Board of Directors, effective her ED end date, to help with the smooth transition!
Our latest newsletter is now live - Autumn 2022. HWB Newsletters are a great way to see what we have been doing, what new Chapters/Clinics/Projects have formed, read about updates and news, and hear more about our work if you have not yet joined as a member.
Our long-time editor, Miriah, is stepping down from the newsletter editor role after this issue. While Miriah will still be supporting HWB as a business member and sharing our work at her tables, she completed her final newsletter. Thank you to Miriah for all of the YEARS of dedication and attention to HWB to help get our message out, share about our work, and communicate with our members and community. We greatly appreciate you, Miriah, and will miss you in this role!
Be sure to read the newsletter- we have a lot of uipdates!
Click below to download and read the latest 18-page newsletter (PDF):
Basic Seed Saving Tips
New to seed saving? Here are a few handy tips to help you get first time seed savers started.
1. Which seeds to save.
Wet seeds come from plants with fleshy fruits including cucumber, squash, and tomatoes.
Dry seeds come from plants with pods, including okra, beans and peas. Also, many medicinal plants including motherwort, vitex, and echinacea.
2. When to save them.
Wet seeds are best harvested when the fruit is overripe.
Harvest dry seeds when you can hear them shake inside the pods, after the flower head has turned brown (echinacea), and when the berries of vitex have turned brownish black.
3. How to save them.
Remove the pulp from wet seeds, open dry pods, place dry seed heads of echinacea and motherwort in paper bags and shake. Spread seeds in a single layer on a paper bag or cloth napkin. Keep well ventilated and out of the sun.
4. Where to store your seeds.
Store seeds in an airtight container, in cool temperatures and out of the light. Label with the plant name and date..
Interested in learning more?
We have SEED SAVING and SEED STARTING Intensives in the works with deep dives into how to start and save seeds with resources, downloadables, and more coming to the member portal.
Download this PDF file with the above tips to save and use!
Basic Seed Saving Tips PDF Contributed by Lucretia Jones.
The Lamiaceae family contains some of my favorite plants for relieving everything from coughs to menstrual cramps. Whether it's a motherwort tincture, peppermint infused honey, or a lemon balm tea, mint family plants offer healing comfort in many forms.
Many of us have heard ‘let your food be your medicine' (thanks Hippocrates, and every home cook since the beginning of time), coupled with the fact that the World Health Organization acknowledges that 88% of countries still utilize traditional medicine, starting our wellness journeys in our kitchens is a sound and simple idea. Most of us can recall a favorite dish prepared by someone in their home that always seemed to improve whatever was ailing..
No matter where we are in the world, soups and stews are often a common denominator in healthful home cooked cuisine. One or two ingredients can be all it takes to make a soothing broth. Basil (Ocimum spp) is well known for its support of our digestive systems and makes a perfect addition to a minimal ingredient soup.
The soup I’m making in this video includes an abundance of several heirloom varieties from our garden and gifted from friends. I added sweet and purple basil for flavor, aroma, and medicinal value. A gentle simmer with enough water to cover the tomatoes, a little garlic and local cream, blended up for smooth deliciousness. Enjoy over rice or paired with a classic grilled cheese sandwich. Yum!
Contributor: Lucretia Jones (HWB Board Member)
I've been working and learning with plants for over twenty years and was first introduced to the wise woman tradition while living an artist’s life in New York City. My father had passed away three days prior to the World Trade Center collapse in 2001, and that uncertainty sent me on a quest to find more autonomy and connection with the natural world. It was at this time that I found a love for connecting people with plants. As a wise woman herbalist, my favorite times are spent meeting new and old plant friends wherever I happen to be. Sharing those relationships with other humans led me to create House of Lukaya in 2003. House of Lukaya, is a mobile and online source for plant medicine workshops, incense twists and other handicrafts, and a pocket Guide to Nourishing Herbal Infusions. In 2019, my partner and I purchased land in Virginia where we are building a homestead from scratch and creating space to share herbs and arts with others. I welcome your communication at my website houseoflukaya.com, on Instagram @houseoflukaya, and at patreon.com/houseoflukaya.
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