Plant Talk: A Winter Garden

by Roffi Petrossian

Winter is coming…. it’s starting to get cold outside and the distant mountain tops are covered in a powdery snow. Our farm is nestled in the foothills of Mount Ara, and it’s only inevitable that the white drifts will reach us soon. At this time of year, I’m beginning to put everything to bed in preparation for winter hibernation.

Today I would like to share with you some scenes from the Nairian farm, but in the future, I will regularly post juicy musings about the plant world as well as the ethno-botany of Armenia. I hope you’ll stay tuned for some captivating Plant Talk to come — for now, back to Aragyugh…

The Seedy Details

As the cold rolls in, it is important to get the garden and fields prepared for the dormant months ahead. At this time of year plants like Bachelor’s Button and Calendula have been picked, the Lemon Balm, Thyme, and Basil harvested. Things are slowing down, and I’m beginning to think about next year.

I’ve left the fiery red-orange Calendula flowers to bloom and re-seed themselves in the garden. This plant has been recognized by many cultures as beneficial to the skin, this is undoubtedly due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

Our vibrant sky-blue Cornflower patch also stand tall in the garden, used in Nairian’s Anti-Age Eye Cream to reduce puffiness and smooth the skin. Knowing these plants will seed themselves, I’ve left much up to Mother Nature, but of course, we’ve also collected a massive amount of seeds to sow in the fields next year.

The large bunches of Borage who’s pink, blue, and purple flowers were once covered in the buzz of foraging bees during the summer has now turned brown, and prepares to return its rich minerals back to the soil. Borage is an interesting plant altogether, aside from being amazing bee fodder, the roots of this annual plant go deep into the ground, gathering minerals generally inaccessible to other plants, and bringing them to the topsoil for all its’ earthly neighbors to enjoy.

As if that weren’t enough, the flowers of the Borage plant are edible, with a cucumber like flavor used to add color to a fresh green salad. But, it’s the seeds that are most useful to us here at Nairian, where the oil is used for its potential to treat inflammatory disorders, arthritis, and eczema. With some of the highest anti-inflammatory compounds found among other seeds used for this most healthful purpose.

While nature runs its course, I will migrate indoors, patiently waiting for the bounty of the coming spring. I’ve stored the fruits of my labor: stacks upon stacks of drying rose hips, jars brimming with various seeds, and drying racks of spent flowers waiting to be sifted. Just as nature uses the winter to recharge, filling the mountains with next spring’s snow-melt, the soil with decomposing mulch — I too will be sitting down to do research, plan, and prepare for next spring, when it all starts over again.

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