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Travelogue: English Gardens Vol. I

Travelogue: England

This is the first of three installments from my recent trip to the UK. We visited three gorgeous large gardens and multiple small ones. First, I’ll cover Hidcote Manor Garden in the beautiful Cotswalds outside Chipping Camdon. It was created by an American, Major Lawrence Johnston, in the Arts and Crafts style. It is famous for its intricately designed outdoor “garden rooms”. Each “room” was completely different. There was a white garden, red border, succulent garden, amazing greenhouse, vegetable garden and much more. Even a tennis court and racquets were available! The trees were gorgeous, including several long striking lawns lined by trees with focal points at the end. The height of the plants was astonishing as demonstrated by my 6’4” husband Brian. I loved the way they had little jars with cut flowers and labels in some of the outbuildings. Perfect if you were wondering the identification of a bloom, and a great idea for our upcoming garden tour! The sheep “baaa’ing” in the nearby fields made very clear we were in jolly old England. For more photos, see the GDOGC Facebook page.

Allison Liddell

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CUCUMBER USES

CUCUMBER TIPS & TRICKS THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS!! 

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2.For a pick me up in the afternoon... Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. Slice some and put in your water bottle.

3. If you rub a cucumber slice along your bathroom mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Place a few slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemical in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free.
Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

Read more: CUCUMBER USES

PERILLA / SHISO

Let's revisit this herb.  Perilla or Shiso.  The following information is from the following link:  http://www.altnature.com/gallery/perilla.htm

Another informative source is:  http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/p/perilla-frutescens=shiso.php

Perilla

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Photo courtesy Jacki Brewer

(I have this plant in my garden and I love it. I think it smells good.  It does come up here and there but I do not find it invasive as the article describes. 

It is easily pulled out.  Evasive plants I find set themselves in very firm or have spreading under ground rhizomes. - Jacki Brewer)

Perilla frutescens Other Names: Ao Shiso, Beefsteak plant, Ji Soo, Perilla, Purple Perilla, Shiso, Wild basil, Wild red basil, Chinese basil, Purple mint, Rattlesnake weed, Summer coleus

Perilla smells funny, which is no wonder since you will usually find it in cow pastures. Rub leaves on your skin and clothes on hikes to repel ticks. Also a good companion plant for tomatoes. Harvest before seeds form, very invasive if allowed to seed.

Habitat   Annual herb of the mint family native to E. Asia, it is a traditional crop of China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries. Perilla was brought to the United States in the late 1800s by Asian immigrants. It has quickly naturalized and become a common weed of pastures and roadsides in the southeastern United States. Found growing in sunny open fields, roadsides, waste places and open woodlands. Cultivation is very easy Perilla prefers light to medium moist well-drained and rich soil in full sun. Perilla is a very attractive plant for the garden and attracts butterflies. It’s deep purple stems and purple to red tinted leaves last all summer and fall. It is a very aromatic plant, with a strong minty smell. Growing up to 4 feet tall when in bloom, the stems are square, reddish-purple and branching. The leaves are large, up to 6 in. in diameter, petioled, opposite, ovate and serrate, edges ruffled or curly, dark green tinted red to purple (especially on the underside) and hairy. Sometimes the leaves are so large and red that they remind one of a slice of raw beef, hence the name beefsteak plant. The flower spikes are long, up to 10 in. and born in the leaf axils. Flowers are small about 1/4-inch long and tubular, pink to lavender and numerous. After blooming from July to October, they leave their calyx on the spike to cover the seed pod, shake the dry seed stalks and it rattles like a rattlesnake. That's how the plant got one of its common names (rattlesnake weed). Perilla is often confused with purple Basil and used for the same purposes. Gather the edible tender leaves from the plant tops anytime. Gather entire plant in bloom and dry for later use.

Read more: PERILLA / SHISO