As I waited for Indie to emerge from the woodlot, I was very pleased to be distracted by this ladybug who was attracted to an aromatic catmint plant. This was taken on May 5th, 2013; mid-afternoon on a sunny mid-60’s day. The ladybug from the family of beetles, Coccinellidae, is a beetle and not a bug. Here is a link to a post about ladybugs from my Elkins Park blog. I look forward to many more of these beneficial beetles cruising about.
Click on the image twice for a closeup on how this jewel of a plant administers its sting. Also, you can see at the lower right of the photo how this plant spreads itself far and wide through underground rhizomes. Take care where you plant it!
Stinging Nettle: Urtica dioica. Photo taken from a well-established nettle patch just a bit northwest of the old corn crib around noon on March 22, 2013. Temperatures in the low 30’s.
It’s hard to beat stinging nettle for its usefulness. It is used for medicine, food, tea, beer, soil building, forage for livestock, fiber, dye, and rennet for cheesemaking. Apparently, that isn’t even close to being all. There is a book that has been published called 101 Uses for Stinging Nettle by Piers Warren. That’s real abundance! Harvest away but wear gloves!
Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy is a great website that provides extensive information about the medicinal properties of stinging nettle.
I’ll, soon, be out there picking nettles for Nettle Lasagna. Get ’em when they’re young! Go to Fat of the Land website for one version of this excellent and nutritious dish. Then, I will make some nettle pizza and nettle tea and nettle soup and nettle pesto and nettles sauteed with garlic and…