I like to find the easiest, prettiest, and tastiest plants and test them out in my own garden or the gardens of my clients, write about their unique qualities, and use them in recipes. I also try to list varieties that are also fairly easy to find in the trade (there are exceptions, and usually I’ll list sources for obscure must-haves). Many of these plants, because they are native or naturalized, are loved equally by wildlife and support local ecosystems. They offer lower maintenance and often lower water needs. I list plants that hold their own in the garden, with qualities like seasonal interest, importance as a companion or nectary plant, or something else wonderful about it that you’ll love to have in your living space.
In this section of the resource, each plant has a profile. Plants can be found in one or many of the following categories:
Edible: There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of most people’s food. (PFAF) I make it my personal goal to narrow that gap, so you may not have heard of some of these fruits, shoots, or tubers, but if I list them, they either taste good (and if they don’t naturally, I will give a recipe) or are useful medicinally.
Layer & Function: Plants useful in specific areas of the forest garden are listed here; by the layer and or function they can inhabit. For example, a plant can be a root layer plant and a mineral tapper; a canopy plant and a biomass producer; an herbaceous plant and a nutrient accumulator.
Medicinal: Plants that can be used to make medicine are listed here – these are not all ‘safe’ and many require great caution and skill. There are many many medicinally active, edible plants listed here as well that are safe to use daily.
By Action or Energetic: Plant profiles can also be found by their action in the body. The glossary lists the actions and definitions, and plants are linked to within those actions. Energetics are sometimes shared by plants in the same family. I teach a class on plant families twice a year, and have constructed a few posts on the subject here and here.
Native: Native-to-the-Northeast plants. I include New York, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Sorrie and Somer’s Massachusetts County Checklist was valuable in grouping these profiles.
Happy planting, growing, harvesting, healing, eating, enjoying, living!