Category Archives: xeriscape

Herbs You May Already Be Growing

Some herbs growing in your yard you may think of as weeds.   Many of these plants are high in essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins and the growing and harvesting are free. Be sure these plants are correctly identified and not growing in a contaminated location (near roads or where there is pesticide or other chemical exposure).  Ask permission before harvesting on private property. You can sometimes purchase seeds if they are not already growing on your property.  I planted Miner’s Lettuce at my current home when I moved in 5 years ago and then found it already growing on the property.

Plants mentioned in this article include purslane, dandelion, stinging nettle, and plantain.  Some other highlights:

  • Many varieties of wild plants offer great nutritional benefits.
  • Purslane might be the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fats, as well as being loaded with vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Even a high-quality, nutritious wild plant or herb can cause an unexpected reaction in some people. Try them one at a time and in SMALL amounts to see how your body is going to react.
  • It’s a good idea to compile a library of books and field guides about wild edibles, as well as familiarizing yourself with toxic look-alikes to avoid. There is even a wild edible iPhone application to help you on your quest.

Read more: The Hidden Food In Your Yard

 

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Herbs for Hot, Dry Areas

Many well-known herbs do well in hot and dry areas so if you are wanting to xeriscape with herbs you will have quite a few to choose from.  These herbs also are available in other varieties in addition to the common types.  Generally if a plant has grayish leaves it is drought tolerant. Check the label to be sure it will survive in your climate. Remember to water regularly until established.

Sage – Other varieties include Purple Sage (purple colored leaves), Tricolor Sage (green, white, and purple varigated leaves), and Golden Sage (yellow varigated leaves).

Oregano – varieties include dwarf, white flowered, purple flowered, and varigated.  If you will be using the leaves rub and smell before purchasing – oregano can vary quite a bit in scent and flavor.

Thyme – varieties include Silver Thyme (leaves have white edges), Lemon Thyme (lemon flavor and scent – some have green leaves, some yellow varigated), Oregano Thyme (oregano scent, larger leaves), and many other flavors and scents some shrubby, some low growing.  Wooly thyme is non culinary thyme which makes a great ground cover and releases a nice fragrance when walked on.

Lavender – various types of purple or lavender flowered, pink flowered, and white flowered, gray leaves or green leaves.  Some lavenders are hardier than other so as with other plants check the label or other information to see if it will survive in your climate.

Some other herbs that may do well: Artemesias including wormwood, Agastaches, Echinacea – available in white, yellow, and reds in addition to lavender colors. Aloe Vera ( In many climates will not survive the winter outdoors.  Mine turns pale if planted in full sun), Goji berry (Wolfberry), Dianthus, hot peppers, Winter Savory, Santolina, yarrows, yucca,  Russian Sage.

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