PIONEER PATHS. Newsletter of the Herb Society of America Pioneer Unit. January 2014

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1 January 1 New Year's Day - January 5 Twelfth Night - January 15 Wolf Full Moon January 2014 Newsletter of the Herb Society of America Pioneer Unit Date: January 9, 2014 Volume 21 Number 5 MONTHLY UNIT MEETING Time: 9:30 a.m. Meet and Greet 10:00 a.m. Program followed by Meeting Location: Directions: Brenham Presbyterian Church 1005 Green Street, Brenham, Texas From Highway 290 in Brenham, take Business 36 north, turn west on College Avenue, and then south on Green Street. - January 22 Board Meeting Home of Janie Plummer (9:00 a.m.) Program: Speaker: Angel: Hosts: Lunch: Book Club: Herbal Cooking, Here and There, Then and Now Lois Sutton Cindy Rollins Pat and Mike Cox, Jane Press, Mary Reeves, and June Smith Herbal Delights The Lost Garden, Helen Humphries

2 Page 2 MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR Happy New Year to everyone! I cannot help but reflect, as I do every year, about the start of a new cycle of the seasons. I am completing this article on New Year's Day. As soon as I am done here, I am going out to plant the last of the tulip bulbs I bought. Even as we experience more freezing weather that is expected, the bulbs will be growing and preparing to dazzle me with their blooms. Or that is the plan anyway. I already have bluebonnets blooming in my herb garden, and I know the carrots and peas have survived the frost. I have five kale plants that have provided kale for more than a year now. My garden is a place of work, but more it is a place of nourishment and delight. I hope that everyone is enjoying the holidays and spending time with family and friends. I hope you are also working on something for the Thyme Well Spent Shop. The Herbal Forum is just over two months away, and there is much to be done. Although each little thing we do seems small, all those efforts will blossom into that one big fund raising event we have each year. The variety of talents and efforts that each of you demonstrates amazes me. Some of you have perhaps noted how much l like poetry. I have read quite a few poems looking for a winter poem to include on this page, and I have found many poems that I liked, but most of them are gloomy. Still, I decided to include the poem below by Robert Frost because I am a fan of Frost, a good New England poet, and because of the hope in the poem that springs from an encounter with a crow, my favorite bird. Enjoy some of this winter weather! I look forward to seeing all of you at the January meeting and perhaps at a workshop as well. Linda L. Rowlett Pioneer Unit Chair Dust of Snow The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued. Robert Frost

3 January 2014 Page 3 FROM THE PROGRAMS CHAIR A big thank you to Henry Flowers for sharing his knowledge and expertise on our Herb of the Year for 2014, Artemisia. His presentation was amazing and extremely informative. The displays in the back of the chapel as well as on stage were remarkable and, as always, very professionally done. And once again, we were treated to a delicious Christmas dinner at Menke House. The chef there is amazing, and the service was five star! Thank you to everyone at Menke House for making the Pioneer Unit feel so special! For January, Dr. Lois Sutton will speak to us on "Herbal Cooking, Here & There, Then & Now." We will meet on January 9, 2014, at Brenham Presbyterian Church. This meeting will be a great way to start our new year! Hope to see you all there! Diana Reed Program Chair

4 Page 4 Linda Rowlett, Chair, opened the meeting. MINUTES OF UNIT MEETING HERB SOCIETY OF AMERICA PIONEER UNIT DECEMBER 12, 2013 Diana Reed, Programs, introduced Henry Flowers, who provided an interesting and informative program about "Artemisia." Following the program, Diana thanked Henry and the meeting hostesses. She reminded members that Dr. Lois Sutton will be presenting the January program on "Herbal Cooking." Linda called for announcements. Carla Lessard, Thyme Well Spent, reported that there are 4 open slots for the jelly workshops being held January 14 and February 25. She also reported the need for someone to inventory seeds collected for Forum. Seed keys will be obtained and made available to helpers. Susan Lake, who handled seeds last year, will not be available to assist until shortly before the plant sale. Verena Aeschbacher reiterated her thanks to all volunteers who helped with the Brenham ISD elementary programs in the Sensory Garden. Verena said that the children enjoyed, and will benefit from, the experience. She said it was the best field day ever! Henry Flowers, Gardens, announced that the HSA calendars did not arrive as expected. When they come in, he will contact and get orders to those who requested them. He also said that the Sensory Garden will need one more workday because of the recent frost. He will let members know when one is scheduled. Finally, Linda reminded members about proposed changes to the PU bylaws, as presented in the December newsletter. A vote was proposed and seconded. Motion: Upon a motion duly made and seconded, the members voted unanimously to change the wording in Bylaws Article III Membership, Item 3, Section A. (1) to read: "Prospective members can submit an application after attending three monthly meetings as a guest and attending Unitsponsored garden workday[s] with [for] a minimum of three [two] hours participation [at each of the unit's gardens]. These meetings must fall within a period of twelve consecutive months." The motion passed unanimously. The approved revisions will be reflected in the next version of the yearbook. The meeting was then adjourned for Christmas lunch at the Menke house. Respectfully submitted, Karen Cornwell, Secretary

5 January 2014 Page 5 MEMBER INFORMATION We enjoyed a great turnout of our members in December for Henry's Artemisia program and a special luncheon at Menke House. A big "thank you" goes to Cindy Nash and Betty Pior, our two newest active members, and our always willing affiliate member Peggy Cook, who helped Susan Lake and Bob Sowers to hostess the morning meet and greet. This member's first coordinating job was made much smoother with their volunteer efforts. Thank you all! At the meeting the Unit also approved by unanimous vote to revise Article III - Membership, Item 3, Section A. (1) to read as: "Prospective members can submit an application after attending three monthly meetings as a guest and attending Unit-sponsored garden workday [s] for a minimum of two hours participation at each of the Unit's gardens. These meetings must fall within a period of twelve consecutive months." Members may note this in their current yearbooks on page 24, and the change will be in next print of our yearbook for The change will be online currently. Thank you all for reporting your volunteer hours and if any questions, please contact me at or call Wishing all of you a successful and happy New Year this Stay warm and safe! Herbally, Georgia Sowers JANUARY BIRTHDAYS January 1 Carolyn Thomas January 7 Mary Doebbeling January 18 Verena Aeschbacher January 19 Oscar Hillegeist and Sara Parker January 26 Georgia Sowers January 27 Cindy Nash January 28 Euphanel Goad

6 Page 6 Herb of January Caraway Welcome 2014! It is time to start a fresh new year and time to start with a new list of herbs for each month. Through the year we will be paying attention to Artemisia as Herb of the Year, but the Herb of the Month gives an opportunity to take some brief glimpses at herbs which are equally wonderful and sometimes less-known. A good example is the one with which we will start off this new year Caraway. I ll admit that I have never grown caraway, but I do enjoy its unique flavor. Caraway is an annual or biennial member of the carrot family Apiaceae, to which belong other more-celebrated herbs such as dill, fennel, parsley, and coriander. Like those other herbs, caraway is best grown in our climate as a cool season plant that will bloom and set seed with the coming of warmer temperatures in the spring. Like dill, fennel, and coriander, we grow this plant for its wonderfully flavored seeds (technically fruits), which are quite unique in flavor. Unlike those herbs, the foliage of caraway is not often utilized as it is not very flavorful (it is said to have a mild parsley-like flavor). The common name caraway is believed to be a corruption of its Latin name. The Latin species name Carum is believed to have been given to the plant by Dioscorides and is in honor of Caria, a land in southwestern Anatolia (now modern Turkey) where it was grown in great amounts. The specific name carvi was the name given to the plant by the Romans. Caraway is considered to be native to most of Europe and parts of the Middle East. The foliage of caraway is ferny, somewhat like a coarse dill. The biennial form is most common, but annual forms do exist. According to Tucker and DeBaggio in The Big Book of Herbs, the annual forms take a longer time to produce seed than do the biennial forms and the seed of the annuals is considered to be weaker in flavor (less essential oil content). They also say that the seeds of the biennials tend to be darker brown while those of the annuals tend to be more blonde in coloration. Most books say to sow the seeds of either form in mid-spring to mid-summer. I am surmising that it would be best for us to sow then in the fall or early winter as our summers tend to be too harsh for most members of this plant family. The seed are best direct-sown in the ground as the plant has a large tap root and is not easily transplanted (the same goes for most members of this family think carrots). Like parsley and coriander, it is frost hardy and will bloom with characteristic umbels of soft white flowers in spring. Keep an eye on it so that you can harvest it as soon as the oldest seeds in the umbels mature. Cut off the whole stalk and place it inside in a warm place to dry and then store the seeds in a tight container. Caraway is a wonderful culinary plant that lends its flavor to rye bread, Irish soda bread, cheeses, cole slaw, sauerkraut, curries, potato salad, beef and lamb roasts, sausages, liqueurs and spirits (such as Kümmel and Schnapps), salad dressings, soups, stews, applesauce, baked fruits, and more. One of my favorite dishes that employs it is koch kase (cooked cheese), which was often shared with us by our beloved late member Corine Levien (I can you the recipe if you would like it). Today most caraway seeds used in the US are imported from the Netherlands, Hungary, and Egypt. (continued on next page)

7 January 2014 Page 7 Medicinally caraway seeds are considered to be great for relieving digestive problems such as indigestion, gas, colic, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Its essential oil is used in perfumery and to flavor foods such as ice creams, soft drinks, candies, and pickles. I m going to try growing some caraway plants ASAP, and I hope I m not too late. If you have ever grown it, with success or not, let me know as I d love to learn more about it. It is the policy of The Herb Society of America not to advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any particular medical or health treatment. Best Wishes and get Caraway in the New Year! Henry Flowers Pioneer Unit Garden Chairman

8 Page 8 The Herb Society of America, Pioneer Unit Botany Study Group Data Sheet Botanical Name/Etymology: Salix spp. The main willow native to North America and our region is Salix nigra-black Willow. Salix alba-white Willow is the main variety of use in Europe. Family Name: Salicaceae (Willow Family) Common Name(s): willow, black willow (S. nigra), white willow (S. alba), yellow willow, sandbar willow, jara, jarita, and many more Origin: Over 300 species found across the globe, except for Australia mainly in temperate zones 2-9. Growth Habit: Deciduous tree most commonly found growing near a source of water. Most tend to have thin, smooth, lance-shaped leaves. Flowers are in the form of catkins most commonly borne in the spring before or at the beginning of leaf formation. The plant is monoecious having separate male and female catkins on the same tree. Bark color varies depending upon the species, but is generally easy to peel from the tree. Growth (Cultural) Requirements: Full sun to light shade with a moist location. Will grow in average garden conditions if watered on a regular basis. Commonly attacked by a variety of insects such as aphids, caterpillars, and scale. A fast growing and commonly short-lived tree. Propagation: cuttings, seed, or root division. Greenwood cuttings in summer and hardwood cuttings in winter. Folklore and History: Salix is considered a plant of grief, with garlands of leaves worn by those deserted by their loves. In England it was common to weave crosses out of willow at Easter. Chemistry (if known especially active essential oils): primary constituents in the bark are tannins, salicin, populin, and apigenin. In the leafy plant material they are P-coumaric acid, salicyl alcohol, and salicylic acid. Plant Part(s) Used: bark and twigs if the willow is a tree, strip the bark from the newer, smooth-barked branches as this is more potent. If it is a smaller plant, cut the longer, thicker, and darker-barked stems, stripping off the leaves and tying the twigs in bundles. Time of Harvest: Leaves are harvested any time when present and either used fresh or dried. Bark is harvested in the summer at the height of the growing season. Dosage Level: Bark strong decoction, 2-4 ounces to 4 times a day (Moore) GRAS? (generally regarded as safe): unknown Culinary Uses: None found I would surmise that it isn t very tasty. Medicinal Uses: Evidence of the medicinal use of willow goes back to the Sumerians, who used it as an anti-rheumatic. In the first century AD Dioscorides described its use as for relieving pain and lowering fever. The medicinal chemicals in the bark are the glycosides salicin and populin, as well as the tannins. These can help reduce inflammation of joints and membranes and are useful for headache, fevers, neuralgia, and hay fever. The glycosides are excreted in the urine in the form of salicylic acid, salicylic alcohol, and related compounds, which is good for alleviating urethra and bladder irritability. Tea made from the bark is also good in treating minor skin wounds and irritations. Salicin is noted for its fever-reducing, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and painkilling properties. Native Americans drank a strong tea made from the bark to induce sweating as a cure for fevers. Salicylic acid has become a major chemical used in acne medications. Salicylic acid was first isolated in the lab in 1838 and became the basis of aspirin acetylsalicylic acid, which was first synthesized in Salicylic acid has many of the same effects as aspirin, but notably it does not act as a blood thinner nor does it irritate the stomach lining. When aspirin was first introduced, it was noted as superior since salicylic acid was known to cause nausea and stomach pain. Other Uses: Branches and leaves can be soaked in a bucket of water for a day or two to make "willow water." This solution will be high in indoleacetic acid, a hormone which promotes rooting. Cuttings of other plant materials can be soaked in the water and this will promote rooting. Immersed willow branches can help to clean fouled water. Many ornamental willows are available, but tend to do better in colder climates than ours. Many have brightly colored bark and to maintain this character are cut to the ground every 3-4 years in order to create a lot of new and smaller stems. In Britain white willow wood is used to make cricket bats. Black willow (S. nigra) has been used by Native Americans as an anaphrodisiac. Sources for Seed or Plants: Easy to find in the wild, but more "cultivated" varieties can be purchased from many nurseries. Warnings: Not for internal use with anticoagulant drug therapy or immunosuppressant organ-transplant therapy or with aspirin reactivity. (Moore) It is the policy of The Herb Society of America not to advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any particular medical or health treatment. Henry Flowers, January 2014

9 January 2014 Page 9 THE GARDENER S YEAR by Karel Capek One of two gardening books selected by the Modern Library editorial board of distinguished authors, The Gardener s Year is a wry, tongue-in-cheek look at gardeners and gardening. Series editor Michael Pollan, author of one of the best gardening book of the 20th century, as named by the American Horticultural Society, explains that gardening writers come to the subject from elsewhere, which makes them particularly good at drawing unexpected lines of connection between what is going on in their gardens and the seemingly distant realms of politics, art, sex, class, even morality. What you won t find in this series are reference works and strictly how-to books; there s plenty of how-to here, but the emphasis is more along the lines of how-to-think-about-it, rather than how-to-do-it. An introductory piece says that there is only one essential book devoted to the psychology of gardeners. "You are holding it in your hands," claims Verlyn Klinkenborger, New York Times editorialist. "It doesn t weigh much. It doesn t look particularly deep. The text is broken up from time to time with Thurber-like drawings made by the author s older brother and writing partner Josef. The book is a comedy, which is what makes it true." From the internationally acclaimed Czech writer Karel Capek comes this marvelously apt account of the trials and tribulations of the gardener s life. First published in Prague in 1929, The Gardener s Year combines a richly comic portrait of life in the garden, narrated month by month, with a series of delightfully droll illustrations by the author s older brother. Capek's gardeners are all too human, despite their lofty aspirations often they look the fool, whether they be found sopping wet, victims of the cobra-like water hose, or hunched over, hands immersed in the soil, presenting their rumps to the azure sky. "When I was only a remote and distracted onlooker of the accomplished work of gardens, I considered gardeners to be beings of a peculiarly poetic and gentle mind, who cultivate perfumes of flowers listening to the birds singing," Capek wrote. "Now, when I look at the affair more closely, I find that a real gardener is not a man who cultivates flowers; he is a man who cultivates the soil. He is a creature who digs himself into the earth, and leaves the sight of what is on it to us gaping good-for-nothings." The Gardener s Prayer Lord, grant that in some way it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three o clock in the morning, but, you see, it must be gentle and warm so that it can soak in, grant that at the same time it would not rain on campion, alyssum, hianthemum, lavender and others which you in your infinite wisdom know are drought-loving plants I will write their names on a little piece of paper if you like and grant that the sun may shine the whole day long, but not everywhere (not, for instance, on spirea, or on gentian, plantain, lily and rhododendrun) and not too much; that there may be plenty of dew and little wind, enough worms, no aphids and snails, no mildew, and once a week liquid manure and guano may fall from heaven. AMEN Capek is widely considered the greatest Czech writer of the first half of the 20th century. A minister, novelist, short story writer, playwright, and essayist, he was a strong dissident voice during the period of fascist buildup in Europe between the World Wars. He was interned by the Nazis and died in prison where he wrote this book during WWII. Review by June Smith

10 Page 10 WORKSHOPS Vinegar Workshop Sara Holland and Henry Flowers will be hosting a vinegar workshop that will take place on two different dates at Festival Hill. The dates are Thursday, January 16, at 2 p.m. and Thursday, February 6, at a time to be determined by those who attend the first session. We are estimating that each session will only last a couple of hours. This workshop has two different aspects: learning about herbal vinegars and how to make and use them and secondly to produce and package vinegars for sale at the Thyme Well Spent Shop during the Herbal Forum. What we are looking for are five unit members who are willing and able to participate in both sessions (critical as making and preparing the vinegars is a two-step process). If this is of interest to you, then please contact Carolyn Thomas via at or phone at to sign up. Wreath Making Workshop A wreath making workshop will be scheduled for late January or early February, depending on when we roughprune our vines. If the weather is amenable, we could sit outside and fashion wreaths for Thyme Well Spent. There would be plenty of material for everyone to make a wreath to keep and one for the Pioneer Unit. Ideally we would then later have a workshop for decorating the wreaths. Let me know if you are interested in either wreath-making or wreath decorating or both! Linda L. Rowlett

11 January 2014 Page 11 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat BSG = Botany Study Group FH = Festival Hill SG = Sensory Garden 1 New Year's Day Pioneer Unit Meeting Jelly Workshop Vinegar workshop PU Board Meeting Newsletter Deadline February 2014 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat BSG = Botany Study Group FH = Festival Hill SG = Sensory Garden Vinegar workshop Pioneer nit Meeting 14 Valentine's Day Newsletter Deadline Jelly Workshop

12 Volume 21 Editor: Linda L. Rowlett, Ph.D. Pioneer Paths is a publication of The Herb Society of America, Pioneer Unit. Nonmember subscriptions are available for $10.00 per year. The Mission Statement of The Herb Society of America: "To promote the knowledge, use, and delight of herbs through educational programs, research, and sharing the experience of its members with the community." - Chair Linda L. Rowlett Vice Chair Programs Diana Reed Vice Chair Membership Georgia Sowers Secretary Karen Cornwell Treasurer Janie Plummer Pioneer Unit The Herb Society of America Post Office Box 23 Round Top, Texas 78954

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