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Thursday, April 24, 2014

'Earth to Spring'...not a moment to waste!

~photo by Suzanne * February 28, 2014 * Fort Worth, Texas

Here we are in the midst of ...well, we're being told it's Spring!  What a HARD winter it was for a lot of us.  Not so bad for Texas as was other parts of the country. And, I certainly hope it's coming around to being green for everyone at this point!

This is Earth Week, isn't it?  We've had Earth Day, and then Arbor Day all in one week-hey, I almost forgot!  Karo planted an apple tree today.  He started this tree a couple of years ago from the seed of an apple he was eating.  Oddly enough the little seed had a root on it.  This was a Gala apple from the grocery store, and it has been in a small plastic pot for two years, braving the stifling Texas heat and the bitter Texas frost!  And, Karo's friend Ron says that apple trees cannot survive the Texas heat.   But, I guess time will tell all...the job is not complete...the tree will have to be nurtured and protected in order to ensure it's success.  And, Karo is just the man for this job!  He says, "Anything that can live in 4 inches of dirt for two years can surely survive the true element of our Texas soil." 

photo by Suzanne * Karo's Gala Apple tree * April 24, 2014

Soooo...moving right along!  How are you all doing lately?  At MyTexasGardens, we're spinning our wheels, hoping for the best showing of our plants and flowers this year.  

Here are some early signs of Spring in my neck of the woods.
~photo by Suzanne * April 13, 2014 * Fort Worth, Texas
Large white Iris, pink Dianthus, and yellow Violas

~photo by Suzanne * April 11, 2014
~a lovely peasant girl * Violas, Vinca Major, Day Lilies and,
all the way down is a Loropetalum !

As always, I like to refresh my 'Private Garden'.  It is so much fun to spruce it up, and, add new elements and trinkets each year.  The photo below is just the beginning of this process!

~photo by Suzanne * Easter Sunday * April 20, 2014

***Remember, the earth is God's gift to us.  It is ours to enjoy, to lavish with beautiful colors of our own personal choosings, and, to roam through and through as our hearts desire.

It is our responsibility to serve and protect our earth.  Let's keep it picked up and beautiful!
And, I'm talking about everyday, NOT just April, once a year!

~Mother Earth * Cool, huh?

"Like the trees, we are visitors, 
Guests of the earth."
~Kim Stafford

thanks Google and Yahoo!

And, the biggest thank you goes out to you, my dearest readers!  Please stop in and say hello if you get the chance.  I accept kindness from all...and, I strive to pass out all the kindness I can!  Our hearts can give and receive more love than we know!


Please be safe, laugh a lot, and give love!
Til next time, I remain your faithful blogger servant!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Strength in Numbers!

In 480 BC, Queen Artemisia commanded 5 battle ships as a Persian ally, during the Greco-Persian wars.  "What a Woman, you say!"  That's many of us are aware that this woman could have been one of the women's lib pioneers?  Not me...I knew nothing of her existence until just recently.

~Queen Artemisia

Even with a grown son, Artemisia took the throne after her husband's death.  And, as the ruler of Halicarnassas, Artemisia decided to participate in the battle at Salamis.  She was fighting for Xerxes I, the Greek King of Persia, against the free Greek states, and commanded her best 5 ships to enter into the expedition with her.  She chose to commandeer the most reputable ships in the fleet, that would present the bravest and, most notable warriors. Xerxes later praised Artemisia for her brave and wise suggestion that he maintain a low profile during the war, saying, "Spare thy ships, and do not risk a battle."   Hence, the opposition became wary of this and retreated back to their posts.  Artemisia commenced to fight as a soldier, and, the enemy's plan to capture her failed.
Xerxes presented Artemisia with a complete suit of Greek armour.  He held her in great esteem, exclaiming that through her brave and manly actions, she excelled above all officers in the fleet.

As the story goes, after the war at Salamis, Artemisia fell in love with a younger man named Dardanus.  The gentleman did not return her love, and, by the advice of an oracle, Artemisia jumped to her death from a cliff.

*** Sooo...I guess you're wondering---

"What has this got with the price of beans, or the herb of the year?"

Really?  You don't know?  Well, that's what I"M here for!  From the Western Reserve Herb Society comes the announcement of the herb of the year for 2014!

the Envelope please!

The herb Artemisia has been mentioned and used in popular culture for centuries.  This herb has between 200 and 400 species belonging to the daisy family, Asteraceae, aka 'mugwort', 'wormwood', and 'sagebrush'.  Most of the species have strong aromas and bitter tastes, however, the aromatic leaves of some species are used for flavouring.

*  Dracunculus, aka tarragon is widely used as a culinary herb, important in French cuisine.  It is a good source of iron for both men and women, and promotes normal heart and muscle function.  It also supplies a small amount of vitamin A for the eyes.

* Wormwood, highly potent spirits absinthe and Malort contain all have heard of taking bitters before meals, I'm sure!  It is used to stimulate the digestive system. It is also used to brew beer and distill alcohol.  But beware!!!  Prolonged use of this Artemisia species can cause mental impairment and loss of reproductive function.

* Dusty Miller * photo by Suzanne * Fort Worth, Texas

* Artemisia stelleriana is known as Dusty Miller, also a member of the Daisy family.  Hey!  I've had Dusty Miller!  See in my photo how silvery it is?  I took this picture at night, and, it almost glows! I have it flanked with red and white bordered Dianthus in the center, and a darker red Dianthus to the right of that little green frog.  The iris foliage makes a great back drop for this garden! Dust Miller stays alive pretty much year round, and thrives in almost any well drained soil with good light.

* Artemisia annua, aka sweet wormwood, sweet annie, boasts a single stem with fern-like leaves, yellow flowers, and a campho-like scent.  This plant and its derivatives are a group of compounds with the most rapid action of all current drugs and now are standard treatment worldwide for malaria.  


Well,  what do you think?  Strength in numbers?  Queen Artemisia used 5 battle ships (a lot of soldiers) to conquer the war at Salamis, and, I can't begin to describe all of the species and uses of the herb Artemisia to you.  The name Artemisia ultimately comes from the Greek goddess Artemis.  And, we do know that some of the species have aromatic leaves used for flavoring, albeit, they have a bitter taste.  And, some of the species are grown as ornamental plants like my Dusty Miller.

*** It's no wonder this herb was chosen for Herb of the Year ***

By the way...Artemisia is also used as home decor in floral arrangements!

Isn't this a nice one?

Thank you so much for taking the time to come by and see me.  I know I haven't been around much lately, but, I do keep up with all of your blogs, and enjoy hearing from you.  Everyone cleverly presents their news with exciting photos and captions...what is so much fun, are the stories behind the photos!  Even if the illustrations are not actually photos that you have taken, you bring them to life and make them speak, and, I always feel as though I am right there with you...ah, wishful thinking, eh?

My Thanks Goes out to:

* So, I say thank you once again, my gracious readers, and, please stop by anytime!  Everyone is welcome to come and browse, and say hello!  I mean...where else can you get two stories in one?  Haha! 

"Eventually all of the pieces fall into place.
Until then, laugh at the confusion,
Live for the moment, and,
Know that everything happens for a reason."

'Till next time, I remain your faithful servant...
Be safe, give Love

I'll be BAHCK!!!