Sunday, August 19, 2018

Plants as Herbs

Many of you know that there are plants grown as ornamentals that also have medicinal properties. Some of these are used in Chinese herbal formulations. One of those plants is Platycodon grandiflorum, better known to gardeners as 'Balloon flower.' I have one in my garden and am sharing a picture of its lovely purple flower today. I want to put out that when you think more closely about 'medicinal foods' that in fact everything we eat is in some fashion a medicinal. That is because everything we ingest affects the health of our bodies in some fashion. We may not always make the correlation or the effect may be subtle, leading to the idea of certain plants (in some form or another) that have a more obvious influence on our health being labeled 'medicinal.'
Today's photos reflect the mid-summer state of my garden, with typical summer bloomers like Begonias, Dianthus and Mimulus augmented by a few singular denizens of my diverse garden.

 Gloriosa lilies. I had a bumper crop this year of this prolific lily. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks of them as 'dancing flames.'

Mimulus Sunset. A new variety from local grower Susan Ashley. Love its color!

Dianthus Super Trooper Orange. There's a reason why Dianthus are so popular - they're tough, bloom over a long period, are tenacious and drought tolerant and can be tucked in practically anywhere.

One way to use a median strip. Plant a tree (here a Magnolia Butterflies), a shrub or two (here two Flowering quince plus a Phlomis), tuck in a couple ground covers (Eriogonum crocatum and Helianthemum) then fill in with various potted plants.

I'll admit, I'm 'head over heels' for this lighter blue variety of Salvia patens. It's called 'Patio Light Blue.'

Here's our friend Platycodon, mentioned in the foreward. It's called Balloon flower because right before it opens to the flower you see, it makes an oblong balloon-shaped closed flower.

Not in bloom but I bought this morning glory as much for its variegated leaves as for the pretty rose flowers to come.

Two pots of Begonias, Illumination Yellow on the left and B. boliviensis on the right.

Though it's a bit hard to see from this photo, this Echeveria pulvinata has fuzzy leaves and bright red tubular flowers. The green leaves are prominently tipped in red as well.

Lotus jacobaeus (Black lotus). Always in bloom and always crowded with bees. My kind of plant!

Begonia Illumination Apricot. I adore the colors on this variety. Very long bloomer.

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