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The most obvious health benefit from gardening is the hard labour. One hour of hard gardening can burn up to 300 calories, and can help reduce heart disease and strengthen muscles. The fresh air is great for you, and you can also get some sunlight, which will boost your vitamin D levels.

But it’s not all about the physical benefits. Gardening has been proven to help mental health too, as the work can reduce stress. You can also get social benefits, if you can talk to your neighbours while you garden, or if other members of your family work with you.

Teaching a child to garden can teach them alot of responsibility, not to forget the reward of seeing something grow.

If you grow your own vegetables, then this will encourage you to eat healthier, and you can save lots of money from not having to buy groceries. It’s also great to grow herbs, as these can be used to flavour meals, meaning less need for salt.

Ask at your local garden centre for help starting your garden growing process, and you’ll soon be feeling fitter and healthier.


Mugwort, western – Artemisia ludoviciana
Artemisia ludoviciana is a species of sagebrush known by several common names, including silver wormwood, Louisiana wormwood, white sagebrush, and grey sagewort.
Showy for its silver-grey foliage more than for its large panicles of tiny flowers, the plant has aromatic, lance-like leaves sometimes lobed or with ragged edges. A well-grown plant makes a sizeable, feathery accent with good cutting qualities for drying as indoor decoration. Any light, well-drained, somewhat dry soil in sun or light shading is acceptable.

Used by the Native Americans and much valued by local herbalists in the form of tea, spice, poultice, or snuff. The plant is astringent, deodorant, and very friendly to the touch, used in treating eczema, spider bite, stomach ache, and menstrual woes.
Leaves and flower heads are used for tea and flavouring, especially in sauces, game, and pork.


Those who know sage as a spice used in stuffing will be shocked at the scent and flavor of this sweet herb. Even its appearance is drastically different: it has pretty, bright red flowers and smooth light green leaves instead of the drab blooms and thick, textured foliage of common sage. Its value is threefold because not only is it ornamental, but it smells heavenly and tastes delicious. Rubbing the leaves releases the fruity odor. Boiled, they make a great tea which is well complemented by a little honey. You can eat part of the flower like honeysuckle, and it is very sweet. Use fresh or dried leaves with foods that are enhanced by the light tropical flavor of pineapple. Dice a few leaves into fruit salad, or heighten the flavor of cheeses and desserts. Add a tropical twist to jams and jellies or vinegars and marinades.

Besides, a plant this stunning should be included in any garden or landscape.
Like Salvia officinalis, pineapple sage, also a member of the great Labiatae family, has antibiotic properties and a tea made of the flowers and a few leaves is an effective treatment for chesty coughs, colds and blocked noses. Infuse 1/4 cup of fresh flowers and leaves in 1 cup of boiling water, stand for 5 minutes and then strain and sweeten with honey. Lemon juice added to the tea makes an effective gargle and was once popular with chanters and singers in religious ceremonies, who believed it strengthened the voice.
A poultice of crushed flowers will quickly soothe bee stings and mosquito bites and a bundle of flowering sprigs tied in a piece of muslin and tossed under the hot water tap in the bath will soften and soothe sunburned and wind-chapped skin. The crushed flowers were also used as a cosmetic by country girls, who would rub them on their cheeks to give a blush. Mashed into a little boiling water and left to stand until pleasantly warm, the flowers were also rubbed into the nails to strengthen and lightly colour them.

Written by David Hamilton from the Elizabeths Herb Nursery in Bathurst. South Africa


Long and tapering, the Hungarian Wax Pepper is a creamy yellow color with a waxy translucent finish.  It has a thin skin and a thick flesh.  It matures to a striking red-orange to red color. The pods can grow to 5 to 8 inches. This pod type probably has the widest heat range of any chillie. It requires a taste test in order to judge its piquancy as it can vary from warm to moderately hot.  Fully ripe, the Scoville Heat Units can vary from 100 to 15,000.  The Wax type varies in size, appearance, and pungency.
Wax peppers cook well and often will add just the right amount of heat to a dish so that it doesn’t over power other flavors.  You can use them fresh both at the yellow or red stages.  They can be stored in the fridge wrapped in paper towel, a brown bag, or zip-locked in plastic.
When drying the mature red pods make sure there are no soft spots, string them by their stems and hang them in a dim dry place with good air circulation. Wax peppers can be chopped and frozen to add them later to cooked sauces such as spaghetti.
They are tasty in salsas or salads or raw stuffed with cream cheese.  Wax chiles are good substitutes for jalapeños.
Hungarian wax peppers are good in sandwiches, raw relish platters, and dips. They can be filled with cheese or a meat mixture and then sautéed. They add a colorful and piquant flavor to bean and grain dishes.  They are delicious fried and good with scrambled eggs and potatoes.  Thin slivers can be tossed into hot or chilled puree soup like gazpacho. They are delicious when added to chutneys and pepper jelly.  Most people simply pickle them. Folklore has it that Hungarians believe a woman’s passion is measured by her capability to eat fiery hot food.

Written by David Hamilton from the Elizabeths Herb Nursery in Bathurst. South Africa

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