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Medicine Trail Update
posted on Tuesday, November 10th 2015 6:30 pm

Medicine Trail Entrance with our UpS Grant Recipient Sign!

Medicine Trail Entrance with our UpS Grant Recipient Sign!

Starting in April 2015, we began clearing invasives from the western portion of our property with the goal to create a medicinal woodland trail. The area is overrun with bush honeysuckle, trash and debris, neglected from the previous owners. Clearing the debris from this farmette has been an ongoing process over the last 10 years and this is the first year that the possibility of cleaning up this side of the farm became available.

The area is rich with promise, hosting a variety of native slippery elm, elderberry, oak and more. We worked on a third of the trail this year, clearing the invasives, piling them on the western border to create natural habitats for critters and preparing beds for native medicinals to be planted. We also worked to clear out trash that had been left by the previous owners as well as trash that had blown in from the subdivision next door.

At the end of April our first round of medicinal plants arrived: 40 luscious plants, 10 each of: Black Cohosh (Acteae racemosa), Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) from Companion Plants in Ohio. These beautiful bare roots were quickly settled into their beds and labeled. I also received some Wild Ginger (Asarum caudatum) from a friend which was also planted along the trail.

Mid-May saw the arrival of more plants: 5 False Unicorn Root (Chamaelirium luteum) plants arrived, along with 2 Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens). A few days later, 5 True Unicorn (Aletris farinosa) plants arrived and were placed in a sunnier location of our garden. Eventually, they will be incorporated to the beginning of the Medicine plant trail when the beds are prepared accordingly for them.

Our summer provided lots of rain so after the first few weeks, we did not find it necessary to water the plants anymore. The rest of the summer was spent maintaining the area, mostly keeping the honeysuckle from returning.

Most of the plants have gone dormant at this point, nestling down for the winter. We will spend the autumn raking the leaves into the plant beds to provide extra mulch for nourishment and protection during the winter.

Over the winter we will be making signs to place in the beds.

Next spring we plan to double the plants in the beds and add some native Trillium (Trillium recurvatum), Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum commutatum), Solomon’s Plume (Smilacina racemosa), Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). We will also begin clearing out the next portion of the trail. It is our hopes to have the trail completely cleared in the next 2 years, opening it to the public for a educational walking trail. In the meantime, we plan to host plant walks to the community starting early next summer for the first portion of the trail.


True Unicorn Root Plants!
posted on Wednesday, June 10th 2015 6:03 pm

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I happily unwrapped and planted the True Unicorn Roots (Aletris farinosa) that arrived today. They look amazing! I got them from Rare Finds Nursery, a nursery that specializes in growing rare plants. You can’t tell from the picture, but the pots were all stapled into the box so that they didn’t crush each other.

For the time being, I am planting them in my main garden where I can keep an eye on them but eventually, they will be moved to the front of the medicine trail once the area is cleared and prepared. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful plants.

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More Plants for the Medicine Trail!
posted on Friday, May 15th 2015 10:17 pm

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Today 5 lovely False Unicorn Root (Chamaelirium luteum) plants arrived, along with 2 Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens). Sadly, it appears the Hydrangea may not have survived the trip but the Chamaelirium looked pretty perky considering their 2 day trip through the mail service.

I immediately planted them out and watered them in. I will be fussing over them like an anxious mama, hoping they will settle in and do well.

Typically I’ve been planting in 2 separate locations to ensure a productive crop but because Chamaelirium luteum is unisexual, I wanted to plant them all together to make sure I have some male and female plants together in the grouping for reproduction.

This is the perfect time for transplanting as we have comfortable temperatures and gentle warming rains to help soak them in.

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2015 Grant Recipient
posted on Tuesday, May 12th 2015 12:32 pm

Grant-Recipient-Sign

We are excited to announce that we were chosen as one of the 2015 Grant Recipients for United Plant Savers! We will be using this grant money to purchase medicinal plants for our medicinal plant trail that we are creating along the length of the western property line. This trail will be used to encourage our community to learn about native endangered plants and to start cultivating them on their own property.

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of our medicine trail!


Medicine Trail Update
posted on Saturday, May 9th 2015 10:38 pm

A bit of rain has been these plants very happy. It’s exciting to walk through the trail and see the daily changes…

Blue Cohosh is flowering!

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American Ginseng is growing by leaps and bounds

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Ginger is perking back up

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Black Cohosh is appreciating the rain and emerging nicely

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Even Goldenseal has finally started to pop

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A Slippery Elm along the trail

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The medicine trail entrance is guarded by Grandmother Elder

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Black Cohosh in another garden bed, seems very happy

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Emergence
posted on Friday, May 1st 2015 8:32 pm

Just a few short days and already plants are popping up!

Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides

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American Ginseng – Panax quinquefolius

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Notice all the stick fence chicken deterrents? Just a few twigs around each tender emerging plant protects them from being snapped by scratching chickens.


First Round of Native Plants Have Arrived!
posted on Sunday, April 26th 2015 7:21 pm

My first order for the Medicine trail has arrived, 40 luscious plants, 10 each of: Black Cohosh – Acteae racemosa, Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides, American Ginseng -Panax quinquefolius and Goldenseal – Hydrastis canadensis from Companion Plants in Ohio. I am very pleased with these bare root plants and highly recommend them!

Here’s a glimpse of some of the roots…

Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides

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American Ginseng -Panax quinquefolius

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Black Cohosh – Acteae racemosa

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I was so excited to get them all in the ground that I completely forgot to get pictures of Goldenseal.


Woodland Garden Happenings
posted on Saturday, April 18th 2015 1:08 pm

One of my favorite activities is visiting my little plant babies to check their progress. They grow by leaps and bounds every day!

This is what is growin’ on…

Goldenseal is blooming

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Black Cohosh has emerged…

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Celandine Poppies are blooming…

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And Trilliums too…

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Even the Ginger is but you have to look closely under all those lovely leaves…

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Virginia Bluebells are a childhood favorite of mine

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Native Yellow Violets are starting to spread…

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Luna Farm Medicinal Plant Trail
posted on Friday, April 17th 2015 12:33 am
Trail Head

Beyond the Mulberry tree lies a secret trail…

New in 2015, this trail runs the length of our property line in a woodland setting. As time and funds permit, we’ll be adding native and medicinal plants, creating a teaching trail for the community to enjoy and learn from. The purpose of this trail is to educate the community, enhance native and endangered plant species, create wild spaces for wildlife to habitat and to cultivate at risk and endangered medicinal herbs.

Currently this medicine trail hosts (we’ll add to the list as we add to the trail and discover what’s growing as we clear out the invasives):

Plants
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Shrubs
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Trees
Slippery Elm aka Red Elm (Ulmus rubra)*
Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Mulberry (Morus alba)
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
Box Elder (Acer negundo)
White Maple (Acer saccharinum)

In the coming seasons, we hope to add:

Plants
Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)*
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)*
False Unicorn Root (Chamaelirium luteum)*
True Unicorn Root (Aletris farinosa)*
Trillium (Trillium spp.)*
Solomon Seal (Polygonatum commutatum)
Solomon’s Plume (Smilacina racemosa)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)*
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)*
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)*
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense reflexum)
Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens eriocarpa)
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Ramps (Allium tricoccum)**
Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)*
Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium spp.)*
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)**
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)**

Shrubs
Rose (Rosa rugosa)
Sumac (Rhus glabra)
Gooseberry (Ribes spp.)
Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

Trees
Red Bud (Cercis canadensis)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Hawthorn (Crataegus mollis)
Holly (Ilex opaca)

Water/Marsh Plants
Calamus (Acorus calamus)
Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Common Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)
Lizard’s Tail (Saururus cernuus)
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Horsetail (Equisteum sylvaticum)

Trillium blooming in the woodland garden.

Trillium blooming in the woodland garden.

Phase One – 2015
Clearing of invasives – We will be removing large amounts of bush and vining Honeysuckle from the area to make room for a multitude of wood land natives and medicinals. Much of the debris will go towards creating natural habitats for wild creatures to make their home such as birds, insects, rabbits and other small woodland animals.

Clearing trash and debris – The previous tenants of our property viewed our land as a trash dump. There are lots of beer bottles and cans (they held wild parties that the town is still talking about 20 years later), old household goods and car parts as well as trash that has blown in from the subdivision.

Planting of natives and medicinals – We have plants we will be transplanting from our gardens and friends’ gardens as well as many that we have on order to plant as time and funds permit. We hope to create a native oasis that will benefit the community and the local fauna.

I forgot to snap before photos but this is looking back out towards the trailhead. To the left is a stream where I can grow some water loving plants. All that greenery to the left? Honeysuckle. By the time we were done today, it was all gone. I'm envisioning Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Ginger, Goldenseal, Ginseng, Bloodroot, Solomon's Seal, Trillium, False Unicorn Root, True Unicorn Root, Mayapples, Gooseberries, Nettles and so much more along this trail...

I forgot to snap before photos but this is looking back out towards the trailhead. To the left is a stream where I can grow some water loving plants. All that greenery to the left? Honeysuckle. By the time we were done today, it was all gone. I’m envisioning Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Ginger, Goldenseal, Ginseng, Bloodroot, Solomon’s Seal, Trillium, False Unicorn Root, True Unicorn Root, Mayapples, Gooseberries, Nettles and so much more along this trail…

Turning around and looking the other way, you can see the wall of Honeysuckle we'll be facing in the next day of hacking. The greenery on the right is Honeysuckle that has been cut down and ready to be cleared out. We are mostly throwing it into the pasture at the moment for the goats and sheep to clean off then we'll burn the stripped branches once they dry out. That white glob in the back is a pile of trash that I gathered to be picked up and thrown away. There is so much trash all along the trail, a lot of it blows in from the subdivision (on the left side of the entire length of our property). Sage was excited to start building himself a debris hut as we worked.

Turning around and looking the other way, you can see the wall of Honeysuckle we’ll be facing in the next day of hacking. The greenery on the right is Honeysuckle that has been cut down and ready to be cleared out. We are mostly throwing it into the pasture at the moment for the goats and sheep to clean off then we’ll burn the stripped branches once they dry out. That white glob in the back is a pile of trash that I gathered to be picked up and thrown away. There is so much trash all along the trail, a lot of it blows in from the subdivision (on the left side of the entire length of our property). Sage was excited to start building himself a debris hut as we worked.

Before shot of what we're working with.

Before shot of what we’re working with.

Another before view.

Another before view. That’s the stream running through the center.

Lots of vines to hack our way through...there's a path in there somewhere...

Lots of vines to hack our way through…there’s a path in there somewhere…

Hey! There's one of our mama turkeys, setting on a clutch of eggs. She wasn't very happy to see us cutting down the brush around her, but we piled it back up to give her some privacy, she's one of the first critters in our habitat hedge row!

Hey! There’s one of our mama turkeys, setting on a clutch of eggs. She wasn’t very happy to see us cutting down the brush around her, but we piled it back up to give her some privacy, she’s one of the first critters in our habitat hedge row!

Finally, a bit more cleared away...

Finally, a bit more cleared away…

Phase Two – 2015/2016
Labeling medicinal and native plants – Native and medicinal plants will receive a plaque that gives common and botanical names, historical and present uses and status if an endangered plant. The trail head will also have brochures with maps and points of interest/information about the medicinal and edible uses of many of the plants for self guided tours. Eventually I hope to also post signs explaining the natural habitats that we are creating for the fauna as well.

Continue planting, including native trees and shrubs – We will continue to build up the natural flora each year, working to see which habitats within this location best suit the plants we are planting.

Phase Three – late 2015 and beyond
Hosting plant walks for adults and kids – It is my ultimate goal to give guided tours to the adults in the community as well as the children of the community to teach them awareness about growing native species, not spraying their own lawns and how to create their own native gardens, incorporating native at risk plants into their landscapes to help preserve our native plants.

Maintenance and continual planting – We’ll host work days for folks of the community to come out and assist with weeding out the invasives that are sure to return in the first few years of growing this garden and to help divide and spread the plants as they begin to grow.

*On United Plant Saver’s “At Risk” List
**On United Plant Saver’s “To Watch” List

Sources for Native and Endangered Medicinal Herbs:

Companion Plants

Horizon Herbs

Thyme Garden

Mountain Gardens


Luna Farm Herbal Gardens and Botanical Sanctuary
posted on Friday, February 20th 2015 12:43 pm

BSN-Member

After years of putting off the paperwork required, this winter I took the time to fill out the required paperwork for our farm to become a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary. This is an exciting step forward in a direction I’ve been working towards for years, teaching the public about endangered species, bringing awareness on the use of these plants as well as knowledge on practicing sustainable growing methods to ensure the future of these wonderful plants.

I’ve had a small woodland garden on our property for years but now we will be expanding this garden to cover the entire length of the western edge of our property as well, as this little garden is bursting with plants that are ready to spread their roots and seeds in a larger space.

Stay tuned, we’ll be having plenty of updates on our upcoming projects!

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