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Dave's Garden Articles: By Sharon Brown

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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Lovage
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

With a name like lovage, it had to be a love potion, didn't it? I wasted one whole summer collecting and testing it on unsuspecting, good looking young men, and it didn't faze a one of them. Of course it could have been that they were only ten years old at the time.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Wild Pansy
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

They told me if I slept with wild pansies on my eyelids, upon waking I would see the face of my true love.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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Wild Senna
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Rarely have I met a plant that I didn't like. I am not known for digging up plants and throwing them out in the trash either. There comes a time in the life of a gardener when she simply has to stand firm: either she goes, or the plant goes, and in this case, I am not budging. I don't think the plant will budge either.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

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Hair Herbs
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Those years of streaking plant dyes through my hair have finally paid off. I can honestly tell you that my hair survived those years, and even now it thrives with all the herbs I can pour on it. I thought it was a story worth telling.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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Apple Cider Vinegar
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Apple cider vinegar has quite a history as a medicinal plant, an antiseptic, and as a curative. But is it really? Let's take a look at the role it played in history. One thing I know for sure, it does not straighten curly hair.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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The Benzoin Tree
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

These days I am much more aware of lists of ingredients on products that I purchase. I am the one standing in the aisle of the corner grocery reading the fine print on the bottle of cough syrup or the jar of peanut butter. Someday soon, perhaps we will all be standing in the aisles reading labels.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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Slippery Elm, Slippery Slide
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Slippery elm and Raggedy Ann's Slippery Slide have not a thing in common, but somehow the two intermingled in my mind. It could be because I learned about them both at about the same time when I was a little girl.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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The Dog Rose: Rose Hips
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I recently found myself entangled in an impenetrable thicket in my son's backyard. It was my own fault, I had walked backwards playing with the little grandpuppy named Ruphus, and ended up on my backside with rose hips all around. It reminded me of a time long ago, when I ate rose hips straight from the bush.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Pipsissewa: Wintergreen
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There was a tiny plant that was very scarce in the southeast Kentucky mountains. If I looked hard enough I could find it, and when I did I always sneaked around chewing on its leaf. It wasn't toxic, but I was never supposed to take a bite of a plant unless Aunt Bett was beside me directing every swallow.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

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More than you ever wanted to know about onions
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I was the designated onion gatherer. I had a basket, a hand tool, a bonnet, and a red bandana. The bonnet kept the sun off my face, I dug the onions with the hand tool, I placed the freshly dug onions in the basket, and the red bandana covered my nose. I could not stand to smell the onions.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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The Culture of Plants
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I had a really rotten high school history teacher. But maybe, thanks to him, here I am a few decades later happily digging around, searching for things he did not teach me. Just like a botanical archeologist looking for golden treasures, I need to share what I found with you.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Nature's Surprise
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Sometimes when we least expect it, Mother Nature hands us a gift that brings us to our knees in thanks. This is such a story.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Aunt Bett's Common Cold Cures
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I am the world's worst patient, and I am at my worst when I have a cold. Common colds seem to grab me at the most inopportune times, when the sun is shining and it's warm, when it's holiday time and company is coming, or when I have to make a presentation to a hundred people. Ahhhh, but I have some secrets about cold remedies, thanks to my great Aunt Bett, and truly they work!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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White Pines and the role they played.
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Some trees will stop erosion, and will give us much needed shade. The white pine was one of those trees, but I don't think my dad knew that 100 white pine trees was about 50 too many.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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Wallflowers
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

When I was growing up, I identified with the wallflower. It had a habit of clinging to walls and I had a habit of clinging to the sidelines of certain social events. I quickly outgrew that habit, but the wallflower still clings to rock walls.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

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Pickled Corn
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It wasn't until I was in college that I realized my food preferences were not normal. We had a really good cafeteria located on campus that offered vegetable plates, with lots of food choices. Sometimes I asked for foods that brought strange looks to the faces of those ladies who worked in the cafeteria. You should have seen them when I asked for pickled corn.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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Sticks and Stones: Nature Craft for Kids
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Do you remember the phrase: Best laid plans? Well, I can truly tell you, they don't happen. I spent hours last week planning a nature craft project for kids. My 5 year old grandson came, and in about 5 minutes, my plans were in the trash. It sure was a lot of fun and I thought you might enjoy the story.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

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Black Haw
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I could sample the fruits of Black Haw, without worrying that later in the evening it would be stirred into a brew that I would be forced to drink as a remedy for some ailment or other. And the sweet berries were good to nibble as I trailed around in the mountains.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

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Hominy
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I loved making hominy and I loved to eat it. There was a time when I could have eaten it for every meal, and probably did. Little did I know that it was good for me.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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Babies and Colicroot
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

When babies are sick, life can be very scary. It seemed that every time a young mother brought a crying baby to Aunt Bett's front door, the baby and the mom went away with smiles. I thought Aunt Bett was magic. I think the mothers thought so, too.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

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Persimmons and Mimosas
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Persimmons and mimosas can provide a very sticky nasty ground cover when they grow side by side. They also provide a slippery slide and blossoms for a little girl's hair when she has a vivid imagination.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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Pushki
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I spent ten glorious days in June wandering around the mountains of Seward, Alaska, living with friends and studying the flora and fauna of the land. I barely slept during the time of the Midnight Sun, but with eyes wide open, I made the acquaintance of new plants, and said hello to some I remember from my childhood.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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White Ash
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

The ancient white ash tree was leaning precariously close to our house. The rains kept coming, and the tree held for one more year. The next spring, I held my breath, but the rains came again.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

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Just so much Junk!
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

What is an eyesore to some could easily become a treasure to others if you put a little thought in it. This is the story of broken garden furniture, the damage of an ice storm, a little duct tape, E6000 adhesive, a can of cobalt blue spray paint, and how they all came together to create my Blue Garden.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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Hart's-tongue Fern
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Did you ever notice how some words don't always live up to their names? Take hart's-tongue fern, for example. That plant neither looks like a heart, nor a tongue, nor a fern. And I truly thought it grew out of the rocks in the cave.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

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There's Always a Reason: Companion Planting
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It never seemed to matter what the question was, the three women in my childhood would give me the same answer, "There's always a reason". Sometimes that reason was because they said so, but most of the time Mom, Granny Ninna or Aunt Bett would go ahead and explain their answers to my questions. All these many years later their knowledge is my treasure.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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Stoneroot, worth remembering?
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

This little known plant is hardly significant anymore. Little is said about it, very little is written about it, and no one even remembers it. Like a lot of other things, its heyday was long ago and far away.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

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Foxglove
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Foxglove is among the loveliest, most famous, most important, and most dangerous medicinal plants. It is also as necessary in the field of medicine today as it was hundreds of years ago. Very few of the other early medicinal plants have survived the tests of time or science.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

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Mountain Laurel Memories
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There is nothing prettier than a cluster of Mountain Laurel blossoms. I wore them in my hair, I tucked them into the pockets of my overalls, and I tied them on my wrists when I played dress up. They refuse to grow for me here in the flatlands of western Kentucky, but in my memories they are always in bloom.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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Let's have a tea party!
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

According to those who know, a tea party is an afternoon social gathering at which tea and light refreshments are served. I'll make the tea, and you bring refreshments, won't that be fun?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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Mountain Mist: Basil Thyme
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

We called it Mountain Mist, and I take a deep breath even now when I visit my brother back in the mountains of southeast Kentucky. "Sniffin' peppermint", I think out loud, as I remember stuffing it into my pillow case.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

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White Willow: Learning useful things
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I used a willow basket when I went to gather eggs. I sat in an old willow rocking chair on our front porch. And I was given a tiny sip of willowbark tea to drink when I had a fever. I learned to weave baskets by using young shoots of the white willow, and when I learned to draw, my teacher gave me drawing tools made of willow charcoal. I remember willow switches, too.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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Wild Thyme
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Some scents remain with us forever. Newly mowed grass, baking gingerbread, ground coffee, and my grandmother's lavender sachet, those were all special, but I have always favored the scent of lemony plants. Here's an idea for your scented garden.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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The Rose in the Arts
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Roses have a subtle way of weaving themselves into music, art, and literature. We can look at ancient art work whose subject is majesty, myth, or religion and if we look closely, we will see a rose. When we read Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare, we find the rose. And if we listen to Bette Midler sing, we hear The Rose.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

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The Rose: Medicine and Food
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There is nothing quite as beautiful as the rose. Throughout its long history it has not only been admired, sniffed, and coveted, but it has also been used as food, as drink, and as medicine. Isn't it interesting how endearing and enduring the rose really is?

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Friday, February 13, 2009

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How Old is the Rose
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Few flowers can be found as often in 8,000 years of recorded history as the rose. When we think about it, very few plants have withstood the perils of time as well as this popular flower. No other plant has played a larger role in history, religion, art or literature. Here is a very brief history, as colorful as the rose itself.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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The Coffee Bean Tree
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

The world just has to go on without me until I have had my two cups of coffee. Those who know me, know that I have no voice, no sight and no motion until I have been fueled with a dose of caffeine. Two cups is not too bad, is it?

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Friday, January 30, 2009

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Ahhhhh, Cornbread (Cornmeal)
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It was during WWII, and I was learning to eat different foods, one at a time. In my memories, every one of those foods was eaten with cornbread. A little later I remember learning to make cornbread in my Granny Ninna's kitchen, it wasn't the best that was ever baked, but it was mine. And I ate every bite of it all by myself.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

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Hyssop
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

So strong is the scent of hyssop that at one time women pressed it into their psalm books to keep themselves from falling asleep during church services. I had a bit of a problem the day I carried a sprig of it into church with me.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

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Mountain Magic
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Our country is still young enough for many legends and traditions to be remembered. Here are some thoughts for you to ponder, things I brought with me straight out of the Appalachian mountains of southeast Kentucky. I like to think of them as mountain magic.

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