Chestnut Herbal School

Botany/Ecology

Daylily flower

Of Pollination

Of PollinationWritten and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor - Buds succulent and inflated with sunlight’s promise, the singular hope of visiting wings and careless brushes,  golden dust whispering future life, carrying the stories of those who came before, Nestled in glandular secretions sweet stigmatic respite Penetrating pollen tube and finally, the raveling of new life faith [...]

Water

WaterWritten and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor - Cherished water, teacher of infinite lessons and giver of life, May I possess the grace and wisdom to know when to rest in a shallow still pool and when to jump into the current’s strong pull.  As I bump up against the temporary solidness of rocks and yield [...]
Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria

Meadowsweet – Filipendula ulmaria

Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmariaWritten and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria - Meadowsweet is an easy to grow perennial with many medicinal uses and a tasty wintergreen flavor in tea and tincture. In my opinion it is underutilized here in the United States, I have learned about its medicinal virtues by reading English [...]

Oak Apple Galls

Oak Apple GallsWritten and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor Oak Gall powder puff - Oak Apple Galls make nice powder puffs, once they are vacated. Another lesser-known use is a wet willy-tickler, as demonstrated by the adventurous Megan Riley. These are some of the most common galls I see in the southern Appalachians, and can be [...]

Purple Dead Nettle

Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum)Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor - Yesterday we had a wild greens salad with dead nettles as one of the primary ingredients, thanks to one of my enterprising apprentices. Dead nettles  (Lamium purpureum, Lamiaceae) is one of the first plants to flower in the southeast; sometimes even in January. Native [...]

Sweet Shrub

Sweet ShrubWritten and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor Sweet shrub - Sweet shrub or sweet bubbies (Calycanthus floridus, Calycanthaceae) is a fragrant shrub, found in the forest understory of rich hardwood coves, and alongside streams and rivers. Its range includes the southern Appalachians and piedmont. The origin of the name sweet bubbies is not entirely clear, [...]

Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

– If you’ve ever picked any part of milkweed, you couldn’t help noticing the deluge of copious white latex spewing forth. If any of the white sticky substance made contact with your skin, its gluey texture and tenacity was soon evident. Milkweeds latex deters herbivory through chemical and mechanical means. Imagine being a little monarch […]

Milkweed leaf

Independence Day All-American Milkweed Marathon

– Common milkweed was one of the few plants I could recognize as a child, thanks to my nature-loving Grandpa Joe, who appreciated the monarch butterflies. (More on the monarch/milkweed relationship in a subsequent post). My mother encouraged it in her front yard for the same reason, much to the chagrin of her suburban neighborhood […]