Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Favorite or New Plant
The passion vine (Passiflora spp.) is a hardy evergreen vine that thrives in the cool climate along the coast. The flowers are very unusual and the individual parts of the flower are thought to symbolize the passion of Christ. The five stamens represent the five wounds, the crown represents the crown of thorns, and the thirteen surrounding petals represent the apostles. In addition to the striking flowers, the vine is well mannered and forms delicious fruits at the end of summer. It is also the winter home to the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, which spin cocoons that look very much like dead leaves, so be cautious when you are pruning. Plant one of these amazing vines if you have room. The colors vary from white to salmon to the old standard which is purple, white, lime green and lavender.
I have a new favorite herbal remedy book. Natural Remedies by Melissa Corkhill (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011) contains information on medicinal uses for common garden herbs. People have been using herbs as medicine for thousands of years. Natural Remedies provides practical alternatives to western medicines, using centuries old methods. The book is broken down into chapters dealing with various parts of the body, including mind and emotions; nervous system; digestive; urinary; skin; eyes; ears; bones; and muscles. It also contains special chapters on women's health and babies and children. There are recipes to prepare the herbs for use and beautiful illustrations of the various plants. I love this book and plan to keep it as a practical part of my extensive garden library. If you are interested in the medicinal properties of various plants, I strongly recommend Natural Remedies.