Jenza's Garden

Where My Imagination Grows Wild!


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Echinacea Root Harvest

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (1)

When to harvest is always a good question.  With roots Spring or Fall when the energy is in the Roots is recommended. The fall back is: "when you are able". Sometimes you can't wait for the ideal time. With that being said I harvested these Echinacea roots in this Spring in April.

Echinacea is one of those plants that produces new growth. Spring is the time of year that I can easily see the new growth from the old growth and divide them.

I dug up two plants that were just starting to come up this spring. You can see in the picture above it was just starting to sprout so most energy is still in roots. I knew each plant was about 3 years old which is said to be the ideal age to harvest the roots of Echinacea.

There was a lot of new growth mixed in so I was able to divide the new growth from the older roots to get more plants. Easier than starting from seeds and why buy more.  Keeping the small roots attached I removed the new buds from the older/larger roots. 

Older Larger Roots set aside to make medicine

After separating the older roots from the plants I separated the the plants into 2 categories by lengthen/width of roots. Larger roots I put in my 2nd year growth pile and smaller new roots my 1st year growth pile. Now do I know for sure that it's 1st year and 2nd year? NO. This is pure guessing. Educated guessing though. 

What I do know is that the largest ones will go into my 1st tier of my Tier Garden to be harvested next year if they seem large enough and the smallest ones will go into 2nd tier to be harvested the year after and the ones I did order online as plugs (started by seed earlier in year) will go in the 3rd tier.  This system will keep me on track for furture years.

2nd Year Growth

1st Year Growth

When this was all over I lost count of how many new plants I had. I took the 5 largest and replanted in the areas I took from. I still had about a dozen of the the 2nd year growth to plant in the 1st row of the Tier Garden. I took the ones with the smallest barely there roots and planted them in a tray with 32 slots. Filling all the slots.  The rest of the smallest "1st year" plants gave me almost 2 dozen to plant in the Tier Garden and another dozen to plant for "decoration" in another area. Not bad. Next year I will continue process and I will not have to order any plugs. Money saver :).

I hope you found this helpful. If you have to harvest in fall, harvest in the fall.

Bright Blessings,

~ Jenza



Marshmallow~ Althaea officinalis- Root Medicine PART II

Posted on April 13, 2017 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

You might had read my 1st Marshmallow Root blog and at the end you might had been like "Great I harvested now what?"  Well here is where we left off. Rinse and scrub your roots to get rid of the dirt. Remember Cold Water draws out the demulcent properties quicker than warm or hot water which is why you make a Marshmallow infussion with cold water and not hot like a tea.  so use warm water for that wash/scrub part.You will want to get the root into smaller pieces within a day or 2 of harvesting. Once it starts to dry the inner root gets to hard to work with easily.

Next assemble your Tools. I recommend 2 bowls. 1 for the scrapes and one for the end product. I also like a peeler and a paring knife. 

The goal is to take off the outer layer without scarifcing too much of the inner goodness. I recommend using the peeler or knife just to start a small strip then pull the rest of the strip off with your fingers. It takes longer but you loss less. If you use peel or knife to take off a long strip you tend to go deeper into flesh.

The paring knife come in handy to remove the unwanted parts. See below for how much I was able to save.

 Isn't it so Pretty?? All nice and white.

I am not going to lie. This can be time consuming but so worth it. I suggest doing when you are watching tv. I was lucky enough and one of my friends" target="_blank">Oneca Fine Arts had posted a live video the night before so I was able to watch that while I peeled. The video was over an hour long and I still had peeling to do when it was over so I went to Youtube and watched my favorite herbalist talk about Marshmallow. It's not over when the peeling is over. You have to get it even smaller to be able to dry. Sorry folk time to put on Nextfil or catch up on your DVR. I went with Tiny House Hunters ;).  

Next I peeled it some more. Think String Cheese and how that peels. The knife comes in handy for this too. The peeler will get too gunky. After 3 episodes and the help of my mother and son. I got it all finished.

Actually I have more to do. I will give it a bit of a rough chop before putting in the dehydrator. Once dry I will leave it in the larger pieces (less air exposures) and only grind it up as needed in my coffee grinder.

Stay tune for My Mad Scientist Blog to see what I did with the scrapes.

Bright Blessing ~Jenza


Marshmallow~ Althaea officinalis- Root Medicine

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Marshmallow is one of the many lovely flowers that grace my garden. The Bees love it too.

Though the whole plant can be used it's the Roots that are mainly sort after. Spring and Fall are the best time of year for Harvesting Root Medicine because that is when "engery" of the plant is in the roots. I find Spring to be the more ideal of the 2 for certain type of plants. In the case of Marshmallow I find the roots more manageable and I can divide them easier so I have future plants.

It's April and Spring has sprung here in North West RI. I was able to get out into the garden today. As I was cutting down the dead growth I came across Marshmallows sprouting amoung the dead stalks.

I decided it was a good time to divide and re-plant. As I dug up the plant I found great roots. Left the "Mother" plant to continue producing and dug up the rest. Following the twisting roots I was easily able to separate the new plant growth from the larger roots which I harvested to dry later. Another reason I like to divide in the Spring. The new growth is there to guide me.

Freshly dug up Marshmallow Roots

New plants to be re-planted. 20 in all.

The roots after a quick rinse in scrub in the bath tub.

I rinsed the roots in warm water and scrubed off the dirt. I left them as whole as I could in the process so there would less exposured surface area. I will let dry overnight and cut up into smaller pieces to dry out before storing. When I use the dried root I mostly make an infusion using Cold water. Though most plants like a hot water infusion (tea) the constituents you want for Marshmallow come out in cold water better. Another reason I washed in Hot water and not Cold water. I didn't want those great demulcent properties to come out too early.

Hope you found this helpful.

~Bright Blessing Jenza





Orange Peels

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Today is the first day of Winter.  Winter Solstice. Yule for some (and me!).

I am working on a few things to celebrate the turning of the Wheel. Tomorrow night I will be celebrating with a group and I am creating a Yuletide Tea Blend for that.  In that blend there will be Orange Peels.

If you aren't saving your Orange Peels now I highly recommend you do. So versatile.

The first thing I ever started using them for was simply Cleaning!

As I get the peels I just put them in a designated jar and cover with basic white vinegar as I go. Some times the jar fills quickly some times not so much. But I always have a jar going. Once jar is filled I just let it sit until peels look spent. 


This is a jar of peels after I drained the vinegar out. Next stop Compost! Waste not.

When I need to replenish my cleaning supply I strain the vinegar out. I put the strained vinegar into spray bottles and mix with Water. 1/3 Orange Peel Vinegar to 2/3 Water. Don't worry it's not an exact science play with your ratio. Just remember the more vinegar the more of the vinegar smell :)

I use this for my tough greasy cleaning.

In Tea was my next foray and Favorite way to use Orange Peels.

I cut them up smaller and dry them for the tea use.

As you might know I am a big believer (and practicer) of conituing education. While taking a Herbal Constituent class (yep pretty heavy stuff) I discovered that Orange Peels are considered Immune Modulators especially that bitter white part. In class we had a good laugh when on one of the videos we were watching the lecturer mentioned eating the orange peels as it is to get the benefits and it wasn't the best of experience. We had a group discussion of other less Bitter ways to get the benefit. I think we came up with in your morning smothies.

Next time I was starting to feel under the weather I added Orange Peels into my tea. Loved it!!


Stay Away Flu Tea

2 part Ginger

1 part Orange Peels

1/2 part Cinnamon

Honey to taste.

If you are more ambitious Orange Bitters!! Will save that for another blog though. Just teasing you today LOL!

~Bright Yuletide Blessings







Tulsi- a love story

Posted on January 14, 2016 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Tulis AKA Holy Basil AKA Ocimum sanctum

Plant Allies come to you over time from working with them, from growing them and from sitting quietly with them. A few new ones came to me this summer. Holy Basil or Tulsi as I like to call her is the one I am going to lament on today.

Tulsi is an annual and I have always had a plant or 2 each summer but it wasn’t until this summer that we spoke. She may have been trying to talk to me all along but I didn’t hear her. I don’t know why this summer was different, but this summer I heard her and fell in love with her sweetness.

In years past I would buy a plant or 2 from a local nursery and keep them by the side door which is the main entrance of our home for protection (a practice in India). Last spring anticipation of harvesting some for my own use I had bought a bunch of babies at Farmacy Herbs in Providence. I planted them in 3 long planters and 2 smaller round planters.

As a grower here is what I learnt from these two different planters. They like their space. The long planters though productive with almost daily pinching when they started to flower did not bush up like the smaller round planters that I had not crowded as much. Next year they will have their space!

Every plant has its “Actions” the why are we using it component. Actions of Tulsi: adaptogen, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antioxidant, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, herat tonic, immune-modulator, nervine, rejunvenative and lowers blood sugar levels. Wow a lot of actions for a small plant. Now is it the best choice for each of these actions? No and that is were working with it and learning more about making formulas come in to play. Practice your craft.

Here is how I “played” (practiced) with her this past year. First simply drying her was an experience. She’s a tough one. I would pair her with Calendula (picture below) both take their time drying and if was humid she could be in the dehydrator for DAYSSSS! But what a beautiful smell in the processing tent those days.

I have always been taught that Tulsi is a plant to help our Spirit, our Soul if you would so I had to make it into a flower essence. When mediating over the use of Tulsi as an essence it came upon me that this essence would aid the use with Nourishing the Spiritual Body. Don’t we all need our help Nourishing our Spiritual Self from time to time? for more on Flower Essence visit my Etsy Shop.

Dried Tulsi in a tea blend or alone is a no brainer as a great use. Tinctures or glycerin to help with focus (can we say ADHD?) are common use. Well sometimes you want something a little different. Me and my intern Lisa in our own ADHD moment came up with the idea of making it into an elixir with Lemonbalm. I think I was in the Lemonbalm garden at the time and she was harvesting Tulsi. So like mad scientists we took fresh Lemonbalm, Tulsi chopped them up covered with Brandy and added Honey. It was love at first sip.

I could go on and on how I love Tulsi but I will end with this. For an annual that I have never been able to grow from seed (might be a patience thing with me) she if TOUGH! We have these stone steps that lead to garden from the side door, all summer these “weeds” were going in the cracks. I didn’t know what they were (3 plants in total) at one point I thought Tomatoes. Finally they flowered. Lo and Behold TULSI!! The pots I had the year before must had sent some seeds down the stairs.


My Tool Kit: Flower Essences

Posted on January 8, 2016 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I can go days and days without any extra help but some days I just need more to keep going Full Steam Ahead. On those days I go to my “Tool Kit ”. It is an old cigar box I picked up at a 2nd Hand Store. Filled with things that will give me that extra something-something I need: Crystals, Tarot card, a Pendulum and the focus of this Flower Essences. When I go to it “These are some of my favorite things…” run through my head. Even now the thought of my box makes me smile.

Flower Essences were originally “discovered” by Edward Bach who worked and wrote about 38 essences. What are Flower Essences exactly? In short everything has a Vibration an Essence if you would. Flower essences are infused into water by floating flowers in the water under the Sun then preserving that water with Brandy (yes I said Brandy..say it with be BBBRRANDDEEE).

That Essence when ingested or placed on pulse points (for the less daring) helps the user with a particular issue that they may be going through. Those Vibrations a tune within us if you would. Oh and a little goes a long way, you only need a few drops (not droppers…Drops). Less is More here.

Each flower has its own Vibration/Essence and that Vibration/Essence works with a particular set of issues within us. As I said Bach had 38 that he discovered and worked with. He had 7 categories of issues and within each of those he had flowers that would help with an aspect of it. Now as I said many others are making flower essences some on a large level like Bach (though he has past the company lives on) and others on a smaller cottage level like myself (see my" target="_blank">Etsy Shop). There are a lot more than 38 available now a days and many times the same flower will be uses for the same issues with each seller and just as many other times the same flower will have a different purpose with between sellers. So who is right? I say them all. Especially if they are doing it on a smaller level like myself. How’s That??

No two people are unlike; even identical twins have their differences, the same with flowers. The Rose I grow in my New England Garden maybe very different then the Rose grown in a Sunny California garden. Trust the maker to have taken the time to gotten to know their flowers and how they want to heal us.

Now that that is out of the way let’s move on to the good stuff.

Depending on the issue you are dealing with you might want to work with the same essence daily or just as needed. This Fall when I was trying to let go of things that I let overwhelm me I pulled out my Essences placing them in a circle with the label facing away from me, I took my pendulum out and scryed to find the one I should use lo and behold it lead me to Joe Pye Weed Flower Essence~Letting Go of what Overwhelms Us. Perfect! I worked with that on a daily basis until I wasn’t overwhelmed any longer and I felt in control.

On New Year’s Ever I went to my box for guidance with the new year to come. Using the pendulum I pulled a stone, a card and a Flower Essence and they all lead me to Time. Or Thyme in the case of the Flower Essence; Thyme Flower Essence~Letting Go of the Control of Time. Perfect I had been feeling like I did not have enough “Time” to do all I wanted or needed. The following days seemed to be filled with time and I was able to do what I wanted. Or maybe it was how I perceived Time. Whatever it was I am grateful.

I suggest starting your own collection of Essences. You can start small adding on as you need them or can. I was lucky enough to learn how to make Flower Essence during my first Herbal Apprenticeship and have a great garden to work with. For those who need to buy there are plently of online source including myself (small plug there) if I don't have what you need I would first ask that you do try to by from some small who is crafting in small batches. So go out and get some Flower Essences they are a wonderful tool to put in your Tool Box.

Bright Blessing ~ Jenza