“Alone of all life forms, plants can not only catch sunlight but by a unique alchemy compound it with terrestrial ingredients to make the basic food and substance of all living things” The Power of Plants Brendan Lehane
The original American herb gardens were the pre-settlement native plant communities naturally existing in the fields, woods, meadows and wetlands across North America. Over the course of time, native herbs have contributed to the health and well-being of humans and wildlife alike. Historically they were valued for their medicinal, flavoring, fragrance, industrial, culinary, cosmetic and symbolic uses. David E. Moerman’s book Native American Ethnobotany documents Native American use of 4,029 kinds of plants with a total of 44,629 usages.
Native herbs give so much and ask so little of us. Plant species native to a particular area contribute to its regional econicity, natural heritage, and inherent beauty. Traditional ecological knowledge recognizes that plants, like humans, get by with a little help from their friends.Having developed and co-evolved over centuries within a biological community, native herbs are well-adapted to the regional climate and conditions. We do not always appreciate or notice how individual plants work together as part of a complex and successful ecosystem making our local landscapes unique and different.
Native herbs are by nature neighborly and multi-talented beings each one, with its own individual character and curious habits. One species may provide special nutrients needed by neighboring plants or perhaps a root system that is beneficial for loosening the soil. Some plants repel insects while others emit fragrances which attract insects. Many native insects and birds rely on indigenous plant species to feed, shelter and raise their young and in return they cooperate with plant pollination and seed dispersal. Plants and wildlife naturally work together for the good of their ecological community. More to come… the Sun is shinning for the first time in days, I think I will step outside for a bit.