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This gift of nature is yours for the taking right now


     Driving along the highways during most of June, you may see the most delightful flowering native shrub or small tree. The flowers of native elderflower, Sambucus canadensis, have especially stood out this year, like antique edging on highways, where there are wet areas on the margins of woods. The extra heavy blossoming is likely due to the heavy rains last year and a good amount of moist weather this year. 

The herb is a balm for many senses


      Once you learn how to grow lavender (covered in last week’s column) you’ll want to use it. The French put lavender in everything. They use it decoratively, for fragrance, in medicine, in cooking, in making liquers, in landscaping and for repelling moths. When you purchase a woolen product in France, it usually comes with a small bag of lavender to keep moths out. Lavender can keep its fragrance for many years.

Revelers leave Virginia Bay beach a sad sight


      Oh, those Virginians.      Floatopia, the annual Memorial Day weekend bash in the far reaches of Chesapeake Bay, drew hundreds of partiers on Sunday.   But the story afterward was not the good times but the almost incomprehensible amount of trash they left behind at Chic’s Beach.

To succeed, make your garden Mediterranean-like


     I fell in love with lavender when I saw fields of solid purple in Provence, France. I was further smitten when I walked through three-foot-tall bushes of lavender in Monet’s garden in Giverny. Back home, I tried to reproduce lavenders of the size I saw in France. Though I’ve grown them successfully, I’ve never been able to get them to grow as large as those.
Take them off the wanted poster and into the kitchen
     The cheery bright yellow flowers of the common dandelion have been maligned by herbicide companies. The plant is on the wanted poster for people who want perfectly green lawns. One of the best ways to rid your lawn of dandelions is to eat them.

It will strengthen your memory and improve your meals

     “Rosemary is for remembrance, pray you love, remember,” says Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.      In the language of flowers, rosemary represents remembrance, fidelity, devotion, wisdom and strengthened memory. In the spirit of love, rosemary has been used in wedding crowns and bouquets, dipped in sweet waters or gilded and often tied with gold ribbons. It was presented to the groom as well as the bride and was one of the first bouquets to be thrown to bridesmaids.

Our oldest garden flower has rich history, fragrance and flavor

     For me, the Mother’s Day flower is the rose. Roses are probably the oldest known plant surviving in modern gardens.

Thanks to Helena Scher for helping Bay Weekly readers propogate butterfly-loving plants

       It takes just one person to plant a seed of change.          This spring, Helena Scher of Millersville has taken on that Johnny Appleseed role for the planting of milkweed.          “We had a nice crop last summer,” Scher says of her backyard common milkweed. “Many butterflies visited.”

Swamp and common are the ­toughest to tell apart

     It is encouraging to see everybody talking about native plants these days. But native plants are nothing new. They were here before colonization and have evolved in our environment over time. 

Stock up on their favorite foods

      “Obsessed with food, caterpillars are a mouth attached to a stomach.” –Sharmon Apt Russell, An Obsession with Butterflies         Why would anyone buy a plant that a worm is going to devour?