Herbal Spa Day!

After a long day in the garden, wouldn’t it be nice to kick off your clogs, grab a glass of wine, and treat yourself to a spa day? Here are a few DIY ideas to help you get your ‘om’ on!

Relaxing Body Oil…

Lavender has a relaxing, sumptuous scent so it’s not surprising that it’s used in oodles of massage oils, foot soaks, etc. To make your own bath and body oil, take a handful of lavender and bruise the leaves and petals. Place these in a jar and add just enough olive oil to cover the herbs. Place your jar a sunny window sill and shake every day for 2-3 weeks. You can add additional herbs to achieve a stronger scent. Use cheesecloth to press and strain the herbs. Voila! Your lavender oil is ready for relaxation! The oil can be stored in a dark place for up to a year.

Calming Shower…

One of the best things about a day spa is the luxurious aroma that permeates the air. To recreate this environment at home, simply hang a handful of eucalyptus in your shower. The heat and steam releases the essential oils into the air for a lovely scent. Light some candles for ambience, turn on some tranquil tunes, and enjoy! 

Invigorating Foot Scrub…

Featuring a blend of citrus and grassy notes, lemon verbena has a lovely invigorating scent. To make your own rejuvenating foot scrub, follow same steps for Lavender Oil to create your Lemon Verbena essential oil. Then simply add 2 cups organic sugar, ¾ cups coconut oil, and 6 drops of essential oil (you can add more to get the desired fragrance). 

For more DIY herbal spa ideas, visit our Pinterest page!


Perennial News!

We attended a perennial plant seminar this past week.  There was so much to  take in! Here are a few highlights from our trip. 

Hellebores – Those wonderful plants that bloom in late winter!  The singles varieties self-sow much more prolifically than the doubles. For what these plants usually cost, that’s a good thing!

Rue –  Like an herb, it’s a great swallowtail butterfly host.

Chives – While we’re talking about butterflies, let your chives overwinter.  Their cheerful blooms in the spring are a great early butterfly nectar source!

Broadleaf Coreopsis – These varieties are very hard to kill. I was glad to hear this, because I can kill the threadleaf varieties in a heartbeat!  There’s a new series called Li’L Bang. Varieties –  Red Elf, Starstruck, and Daybreak . They’re 6-10” tall.  Very pretty!

Iris – Did you know that that there are Iris varieties that re-bloom in the fall?  We have a blue one out at the farm, but there are more colors. Check out Apricot Silk.  We hope to have 5 or 6 colors to sell this year!

Keep tabs on what’s growin’ in the Greenhouse here!

4-H Recipe Winner!

Growing up, March always meant presentation contests. That’s when 4-H’ers prepare a talk or demonstration about something they’ve learned in their project.  My first one was on the recipe “Cherry-0-Cream Cheese Pie”.  I couldn’t guess how many pounds my family gained as  practiced this one getting ready for competition!

So next weekend the tables are turned and I get to be one of the judges!  Thought I’d share one of the recipes from a 4-H’er who won State competition. I use it all the time. Bear in mind that the winner could not only prepare this delicious salad right in front of your eyes, but also talk about all the nutritional benefits, show how to proper measuring techniques…. In about 12 minutes or less and do it with a smile!  Thanks Melissa Pence!

Broccoli Salad Supreme

1 head fresh broccoli
½ red onion
½ c. golden raisins
8 slices fried bacon
¼ c. peanuts
1 or two fresh mushrooms
1 c. cubed Cheddar Cheese

Prepare broccoli by slicing into bite size pieces. Chop onion; slice mushrooms. Fry bacon; cool and crumble.


1 c. mayonnaise
½ c. sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar

Prepare dressing; mix vegetables, raisins, peanuts and bacon with the dressing. Garnish with Cheddar cheese. Served chilled. Serves 10-12


The Fern Story …

I need help my friends.  I’m looking for a plant owner.  Years ago when we were at the farmer’s market location on Rt. 11, a retired JMU professor came in to ask that I care for his 50+ year old Staghorn Fern. I’m hoping you can help me find him.

The Staghorn was a gift from his father when it was but a single “pup”, mounted on a small mesh wire cage. He had kept it for years, but he found that when he retired he was traveling quite a bit.  He feared that he would come home from his travels and find his dear plant had not survived during his absence.

I took it in and was amazed to see it nearly double in size that first year.  It loved the greenhouse environment. The professor visited from time to time to check on it, but I lost track of this gentleman when we moved out to the farm. The fern now spends it summers out under the oak tree and has continued to thrive.

The fern has gotten so big that we had to break it apart and divide it this year.  In its greatest glory, it had grown to over 8 feet across and we could not longer get it through the door of the greenhouse.

So if you know of this retired JMU professor, or any of his family, please have him contact me.  I want him to know that his father’s legacy is alive and well.  When we divided it, we even found remnants of his dad’s tiny wire cage, buried in years of fern shields that made this plant so massive. My personal e-mail is lynnehghouse@aol.com

Shamrock Factoids!

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we dug a little deeper into the history of Shamrocks (Oxalis). Here are a few interesting factoids!

Not just green…

There are several interesting varieties of Oxalis including the Oxalis Hedysaroides ‘Rubra’ which features vibrant maroon leaves and the golden-leafed Oxalis Namaquensis. These would be great for adding a pop of color in your garden!

Not so lucky…

Shamrock has not always been lucky. In the early 1900s, Shamrock was considered a symbol of rebellion of the Irish against the English. ‘Wearing of the green’ was actually illegal and punishable by death.

Sour plants…

Oxalis literally means “sour” and the plant was named for it’s high oxalic acid content. Oxalis is edible and has a zesty citrus flavor. However, as with any plant, always use caution and make sure it is what you think it is before munching.

Celtic luck…

Similar to it’s use by St Patrick in spreading the word of Christianity, the Shamrock’s triad of leaves was utilized by the Druids to represent a higher power, the Goddess: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. The Druids also believed the Shamrock was useful in warding off evil spirits and bad luck.


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