Plant useful as well as pretty and perfumed plants

By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe holistic gardeners with 25years experience of gardening in Spain and in Dick’s case surviving cancer naturally for 16 years and ten years of sharing their Spanish gardening ideas and experiences in articles and six books to date.

Introduction to Beneficial Plants

Our apologies for the longer introduction to us this month but we are aware that many readers will have moved to Spain for a more relaxed and healthier life and in many cases to recover tranquila – quietly – from pre Spanish stress and in some cases uncomfortable cases life threatening conditions. If you search the ‘Health from your garden’ blog on www.wddty.com you will understand why Dick retired early to Spain and has never regretted it.

Most importantly plants can play a major role in your achievement of a Spanish garden that is as colourful and as perfumed as Kew or Hampton Court or the week only wonders of the Chelsea Flower Show but most importantly includes plants that will ensure that your daily breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner tapas and dinner is not only stimulating in appearance, tasty and of good texture but also as healthy as food can be.

Some basic head to toe beneficial & medicinal plants

Of the hundreds of plants we have in our garden ten of the basic beneficiary plants are as follows.

  • Headaches – Try a strong mint infusion especially if the headache is a hangover.
  • Tired mind – Stimulate with rosemary infusion to keep typing intelligent articles.
  • Eyesight – Eat plenty of carotene rich dark coloured carrots.
  • Gum infections – Rub with chopped sage and salt mixture.
  • Mosquito bites – Rub lantana leaves on bare skin – especially yellow flowered varieties.
  • Sun burn – Rub in the sap from centre of aloe Vera leaves.
  • General daily antioxidant/clean up – garlic and acelga in salads and cooked dishes.
  • Water works problems – Parsley infusions.
  • Sprained ankles – a rue infusion is very helpful.
  • Gouty toes – nothing better than a comfrey poultice plus a nettle infusion.

Some new additions to our garden – and hopefully yours!

We have by comparison to most gardens and allotments very closely planted and diverse healthy plant communities but we are always on the look out for plants that can add a special dimension to our plant collection that is worth breaking our agreement to give ourselves no more work or a need to redesign part of the garden to accommodate new non Spanish plants with our now being well into active few free hours retirement.

Well a recent weekend trip to Aragon has lead to more work but also more interested meals and an additional chance to help both active and reluctant gardeners.

We visited friends met through the Slow Food network and attendance along with 7999 other participants the 2008 Terra Vida Conference in Turin in Italy. Active dedicated members of the Leida branch have taken the mission of ‘Stimulating the protection and expanded cultivation and consumption of the worlds most useful traditional tasty and healthy foods by not only economic importation and fair reward for native growers but also by cultivation marketing and consumption as near as possible to the end consumer which increasingly means your garden patio, roof top or balcony containers.

In each of the three books that comprise our latest trilogy of books dedicated to effective efficient and exceptional gardening – namely Your Garden in Spain, Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ and ‘Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain’ we include chapters dedicated to what can be done in less than one square metre. Well we now have three new must plants for you.

What are they and why?

Plant Benefit to flower garden Benefit to food preparation Additional health benefits
Stevia Interesting green foliage Natural sweetener Helpful to diabetic sufferers
Kalanchoe collection Interesting leaf forms Interesting addition to salads Helpful to cancer sufferers
Reprella Attractive purple foliage Use as garnish to sushi and other fish dishes Helps combat possible stomach upsets from contaminated shell fish and raw fish .

Where to Obtain these Beneficial Plants?

Spanish distribution network

A network of members of Slow Food Spain prepared to grow and supply plants in return for a donation to Dolca Revolucio is now established and growing each month. To check if there is a convenient supplier in your area search www.dolcarevolucio.cat and click on ‘Donde encontrar plantas’. If in doubt contact the Spanish but English speaking President on 618474390. He can arrange delivery anywhere in Spain if you are prepared to pay the very reasonable delivery costs. He will provide a quote before you commit yourself.

More information

More information re Dolca Revolution and the plants they have available can be obtained from www.dolcarevolucio.cat. At present most information is in Spanish but it is gradually being translated. More information and plants from an ecological English speaking grower can be obtained from < healthyplants@live.com> or direct from the English speaking president on www.dulcarevolucio.cat .

© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe July 2009.