As a relatively new homeowner, I have decided to let more of the unknown grow and bloom. I learned my lesson after ripping up peonies without knowing what amazingly beautiful flowers would bloom. I simply cleared a plot and started a garden. This year I am enjoying the peonies. And some strange little purple flowers. I have no idea what these little lovelies are.
One single stalk of a pink flower rose up, bloomed and remained. I keep looking for some more, but there aren't any. Strange.
I took an herb class the other day. It was amazing. I've known that dandelions are edible, but I was not aware of how nutritious they are! After the class I ran home and started walking around the yard in search of yummy weeds/herbs. I found Wood Sorrel, Dandelion and Stinging Nettle. Wood Sorrel looks a little like clover. It has groups of three leaves in a shamrockish shape. The leaves are a much lighter green. And they are accompanied by dainty yellow flowers. And they taste like lemon. My sons keep calling them "the lemon". The dandelion in my yard has been left open to be defecated upon by our goats. I will not be harvesting those. However, I will be on the lookout for friends with untreated lawns with dandelions that I can dig up and plant in the fabulous weed garden bed I have plans for. Dandelion, as stated by Deborah Fate-Mental, is the one weed that you should eat, if you were to only eat one. "They have a ton of vitamins and minerals. They are safe to use as a diuretic because of the amount of potassium in them. Dandelions are good for eczema, adult acne and very dry skin. It is also an excellent liver tonic. A toned liver can clear toxins out of your body much more efficiently, making you feel better and have more energy." (Spring Tonics, Weeds to Nourish Your Body by Deborah Fate-Mental, 2009) It is also reported that Dandelion may encourage good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol levels. It also may aid in normalizing blood sugar levels. Studies need to be further continued and studied.
Stinging Nettle is an interesting plant. There are these little burrs on the leaves and stem. It is also a diuretic, but does not contain as much potassium as Dandelion. The Stinging Nettle can cause an allergic reaction, or rash, if stung by the burrs. Once cooked, the burrs do not pose a problem. Leaves should be harvested while the plant is young. Stinging Nettle has been used to reduce joint pain. Pregnant women, it is advised, should not take Stinging Nettle prior to 37 weeks.
I love that I can just walk out into my garden and show my children the wonders of food. I love even more that they'll learn the amazing qualities and flavors of naturally occurring plants. Hopefully, they'll come to understand that even the most seemingly unsightly blemish in a manicured lawn could be a delightful accompaniment in a salad or the medicinal remedy to a boo boo.