Wednesday, June 29, 2005

my friend yarrow

It’s been a pretty dull and cloudy summer so far. But I have one ray of sunshine I can depend on! The lovely yarrow plant in my garden (Achillea x - ‘Moonshine’) beams at me from morning to night. This particular variety is pure yellow on ferny gray-green foliage.

I have a couple of others as well, "Lavender Beauty" and "Cerise Queen." They are pink and rose. But their growth habit isn’t as compact or sturdy as Moonshine’s – which I must prop up with tomato cages so that it doesn’t lounge about on the garden floor. I did that early this year and now the stems are upright and the plant looks the best it ever has.

I remember yarrow from when I was a kid. We called the modest off-white blooms that sprinkle the Saskatchewan roadsides ‘porridge flowers’ because they looked like Cream of Wheat porridge.

I picked out yarrow for my garden when I was into drying flowers. And they do dry absolutely the best. They keep their color and their stems, especially Moonshine’s, are sturdy. Their ferny leaves are aromatic and my books say they can be added to potpourri – though I’ve never tried that. They last long in fresh bouquets too.

Yarrow likes it hot and sunny. It does fine in poor soil. It really is easy to grow.

Here is some more yarrow trivia from Carrots Love Tomatoes:

- It is good for paths and borders and will grow well even if walked on. In fact if it’s in the lawn and mowed down it adapts by spreading out in low growth.

- It’s a good border plant for a herb garden as it supposedly enhances growth of essential oils in the herbs, "increasing their vitality."

- It gives neighboring plants resistance to insects (because of the pungent odor of the foliage?)

- Yarrow tea is supposed to be helpful to sleep.

- It is also said to help heal cuts.

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