The flowers and plants are natural treatments for skin

The nature is not canceling to surprise us with its deep secrets. There are over 100 plants in the European flora with caring and remedial effects on the face skin.One of these is the Wild pansy (Viola Tricolour), a plant with fragile little flower, yellow-violet coloured. Viola Tricolour is a very efficient plant, treating the majority problems of your face skin because of its antitoxic therapeutic activity. The specialists especially recommend it to people who’re dealing with greasy, acne, easy irritable skin, having an allergic sensibility or premature signs of aging.

Viola Tricolour

The cosmetic treatment with Wild pansy consists of a combined infusion. You have to macerate 3-4 plant spoons in ½ l of water for 8-10 hours then filter. Keep apart the extract and boil the already used plant in another ½ l of water for 5 minutes then filter this one and let it cool. Finally mix it with the wild pansy tea prepared before. Thus you’ll obtain about one l of Viola Tricolour combined infusion which has to be drunk during a day. The treatment lasts minimum 30 days.

Against acne and facial skin infections is fighting the Birthwort (Aristolochia clematitis) and Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Make the following face mask and you’ll definitely save your face from acne. Grind Birthwort leaves and Comfrey root (gathered just before blooming) as fine as can. Put 2 spoons of each so obtained plant powder in a bowl and mix them with lukewarm water till you’ll get a paste. It’s using as a face mask. Cover your face with thin gauze and spread the paste over the affected areas of your face and keep it there for minimum one hour. Repeat it daily till the complete healing.

Aristolochia Clematitis
Aristolochia Clematitis

During winter or not just, you’ll take care of your dry and cold intolerant face skin with homemade Lemon Balm oil. The Lemon Balm is scientific called Melissa officinalis, a perennial herb with the leaves having a gentle lemon scent, related to mint. How could prepare the Lemon Balm oil? It’s easy and the oil has hydrating properties. Macerate 15 spoon of Lemon Balm powder (therefore, before grind the leaves) in ½ l of olive oil in a tight jar, for 2 weeks. After that, filter the acquired oil and remove the liquid in a dark coloured glass. Hydrate your skin face with Melissa officinalis oil twice a day (at morning and evening) or before to get out when it’s cold.

Salvia officinalis
Salvia officinalis

You can remove the sebum excess and the dilated pores using the Garden sage vinegar. The Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is an evergreen shrub native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Macerate 3.5274 oz honey and 5.2911 oz cut into pieces Garden sage leaves in one l of common vinegar for 2 weeks then filter. Clean your face every morning and evening with the Garden sage vinegar.

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The harvest just got better

The harvest just got better

You may remember that back in May, I got a call to say that my time had come  to become an  after a lengthy wait on the waiting list. I was offered a quarter plot which was just a little overgrown and since that day the allotment has come a long way.  Today’s harvest was easily the best yet.

The Nero di Toscano has grown well alongside my other Brassica’s, the Courgette’s have been unstoppable (no surprise there then) and the beans have grown amazingly well this year.  I have eaten more beans than I think I’ve eaten in my whole life combined. Some of my favourites have been Runner Bean ‘St George’ with its red and white flowers, Broad Bean ‘Bunyard’s Exhibition’ and French Bean ‘Purple Queen’.  The latter is an amazing bean that has gorgeous purple flowers and pods that are almost black . Upon boiling the beans magically transform and become green as per your standard French Bean. I couldn’t help but think that if there is a way to get kids interested in vegetables and cooking then this little bean may have what it takes.  It certainly entertained me.

Besides the obvious vegetable excitement you may have noticed a new addition to the harvest?  That’s right, one of my new girls laid an egg today and I’m hoping that the other two will follow suit shortly so that I can make something substantial.

The Speckledy hen above is the one that is the most likely to have laid the first egg as she is supposed to lay brown speckled eggs, the Cotswold Legbar (the brown hen above with the great hair do) is likely to lay a blue/green egg and the Copper Black Marans below should lay quite a dark brown egg.  Only time will tell but I cannot convey how excited I was to find the first egg today!

French Bean
French Bean

The small but perfectly formed egg was put to good use and helped to make today’s Yorkshire puddings (pictured below) and besides the obvious benefit of keeping hens I’m learning that they make for great company. They have great personalities, dispose of pretty much anything, including waste from the plot or from the kitchen and they are sure to increase the fertility of my compost.

Gardening will definitely be more interesting from here on in and I’m looking forward to my first  omelette!

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Rain Chains in the garden

Rain Chains in the garden

Many words sum up the sound of running water to me – tranquillity, mesmerising and relaxing to name but a few. No surprise then to find that rain chains originated hundreds of years ago in Japan. They were used as a decorative and practical water feature for capturing rainwater for homes and Buddhist temples. The Japanese name for them is ‘Kursari-doi’. They were originally ‘chains’ (a series of chain links), similar to our Om rain chain, which quickly guided rainwater off the roof into a storage barrel whilst providing the tranquil sound of running water.

They have been gaining popularity in the UK since the 1998 Winter Olympics which were held in Japan. Cup designs (such as the Lily and Tulip) in various metals have become very fashionable. They do the same job as a chain but the rainwater flows slightly slower. They are a series of cups linked together with a chain; with small holes in the bottom of each cup to allow the rainwater continue its journey to a container at the bottom.

These kinetic sculptures provide great value to the garden environment, providing movement, beauty and sound. The water sound being music like, gives one a feeling of peace and tranquillity, one of the Zen arts.

Various containers can be used – barrels, pots, copper basins designed to match the rain chains or simply allow the water to drain into the earth.

An added bonus of having a rain chain in the garden is the environmentally friendly factor. Collecting rainwater for your plants is possibly something for all gardeners to consider especially in areas where summer droughts are becoming more frequent.

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Quick & Easy Edible Flowers to Sow in the Garden

I find it’s always good to have some easy to grow annual flowers ready to pop in the garden. They require little care but are quick to brighten up and fill in any dull spots in the garden! As a bonus they are edible too!

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums with their glorious red, orange or yellow flowers will grow almost anywhere and the bees love them! As well as looking beautiful, they have a long flowering season, right into the autumn and they’re also edible – both the flowers and leaves are great in salads or as a garnish.

Sow them where you want them to flower once frosts have passed. They can be grown as:

Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums

Ground cover – sow the large seeds where you want them to grow for a colourful flower border.
As a climber – sow them at the bottom of some trellising or allow them to clamber up a shrub.
In a planter or hanging basket – just pop a seed into the container for a wonderful flowing display.

Calendula (Marigolds)

These annuals have pretty daisy like flowers and are an easy way to add colour to the garden. I usually sow the seeds into trays in the greenhouse before potting them out but they can be grown directly into the earth where they are to flower.

Calendula
Calendula

The golden flower petals are edible and good to cook with or to colour up salads.

Sunflowers

These are flowers that make a feature in the garden, especially the giant variety. I always loved to grow these in my little garden plot as a child – it’s fascinating watching a tiny seed grow into such a tall plant. Sunflowers do need a sunny and sheltered spot in the garden and I usually start them off in a small pot in the greenhouse but they can be grown straight into the garden. Just watch out for slugs!

Sunflowers
Sunflowers

Once the flower heads die off, don’t forget to collect the edible and healthy seeds! Or leave them over winter for the garden birds to feed on.

Borage

An herb with pretty star shaped blue flowers.

Taste: Similar to cucumber, fresh cool flavour, not overpowering.

Borage
Borage

Use: The open flowers. Add to salads, pastas and fritters. Borage has been used for centuries in cooking.

You can crystallise the flowers and use them as cake decorations.

Chive Flowers

Fluffy shell pink flowers.

Taste: A delicate onion flavour. Use the young pink flowers once they open.

Use: Add to salads and cold soups.

Chive Flowers
Chive Flowers

Courgette Flowers

Bright sunny yellow flowers.

Taste: A soft peppery taste, with a hint of melon.

Use: Add to pasta as a garnish, or deep fry in a light batter.

Courgette Flowers
Courgette Flowers

Day-lilies

A range of colours from crisp white to deep purple.

Taste: The taste is often likened to a cross between green beans and asparagus with a peppery aftertaste.
Use: Add the flowers to salads, rip the petals apart. Chop the unopened flower buds into salads and stir fries, or pasta. You can use in Desserts as the base to Sorbets.

Day-lilies
Day-lilies

Lavender – Rich lavender purple flowers of the English lavender are hard to beat.

Flavour: A rich and heady taste similar to the fragrance.

Use: Add a little to baking such as shortbread, biscuits and muffins, the flavour is very strong, so be careful.

Nasturtiums

Flowers range from bright oranges to clean reds and yellows.

Flavour: A classic peppery taste, with a hint of spice.

Use: Add to omelettes, sandwiches, salads and pastas. Lovely with fish dishes.

Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums

Marigolds

Brilliant yellows and vibrant orange flowers.

Flavour: An Indonesian flavour similar to saffron.

Use: Add to savoury dishes such as risottos, pastas and scrambled eggs.

Marigolds
Marigolds

Pelargoniums

Classic pink and purple flowers are very attractive.

Flavour: Can vary from variety but in general the taste is crisp piney flavour.

Use: Add to jams and jellies for flavour. Use in tossed salads.

Pelargoniums
Pelargoniums

Rosemary

Clean pale and dark blue flowers, very aromatic.

Flavour: A soft rosemary flavour similar to the leaves.

Use: Toss into a fresh salad at the last minute. Pound with sugar and add to a cream or fruit puree.

Rosemary
Rosemary

Rose Petals

A rainbow of colours can be used. Choose smaller flowers, so the petals won’t bruise as much.

Taste: A soft delicate musky flavour, similar to Vanilla.

Use: Add to jams and jellies.

Rose Petals
Rose Petals

Violets

Lavender blue flowers and dainty pink and white look lovely on any plate.

Taste: A fresh carrot type flavour with a rich aroma.

Use: Add to salads, desserts and fruit salads.

Violets
Violets

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