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  • Writer's pictureErin Luring

Backyard Forager

My patience is being tested these last few weeks as I eagerly await spring and its bounty of flowers and plants. One way I've been feeding my desire to harvest and create herbal remedies is by getting to know as many weedy plants as possible that are now popping up in our small backyard garden. I find this method incredibly educational as I am familiarizing myself with the seemingly insignificant plants that are clearly here to teach me something.

One plant that I recognized from last spring is purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum). Purple dead nettle is in the mint family and has a square stem, fuzzy leaves, and a purple top. Purple dead nettle is astringent, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. I read that purple dead nettle can be used to relieve allergy symptoms so I decided to infuse the purple dead nettle growing in our backyard with honey for my husband, Andy, to use in beverages. Andy is prone to allergies and that will often flare up after working in the yard. I'm hoping that using a medicinal plant from our backyard will be just what he needs to find some relief.

I've been saying many prayers to the garden gods and goddesses for a spring up of chickweed. Chickweed has been showing up in my actual dreams and I've been obsessively reading about it in books and listening to podcasts about the moist, cool, cheerful plant. I have yet to find any on my own but I am confident that I will...when I do I'll let you know.

In other news, we transplanted our yarrow patch! Two weeks ago on a warm afternoon, we carefully dug out our beloved yarrow and moved it to a larger, sunnier location. Caring for plants in this way is one of my favorite methods of familiarizing myself with its qualities and personality. It was a treat to honor our yarrow by giving it a better garden plot where it will continue to thrive and grow. Andy and I were giddy at how well it transferred and the prolific root system we were able to witness firsthand. Because we have more frosty days and nights ahead we gently covered the yarrow with straw along with a lot of gratitude and thanks.

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