By T.L. Grace
Did you know that spending time in gardens can lift your mood and help you sleep better at night?
Research by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, an internationally known expert in herbal medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health, supports this fact.
Jennifer Rich, who owns Ocracoke Garden Center (previously known as Home Grown Hetties), echoes Dr. Low Dog’s findings and many more benefits of gardening. Jennifer comes from a family with 130 years of experience in the nursery business and grew up “playing in gardens.”
My mouth watered as she described her granddaddy’s sweet cantaloupe. While talking in front of her newly-built green house, she pointed out the site for a second green house for propagation of plants, and an existing hive of bees in the back of the property she is leasing from Tommy Hutcherson behind his Variety Store.
The rows of colorful flowers and shelves of vegetables and herbs will catch your eye. Gardening itself not only helps create beauty and peace of mind, the bounty can be delicious and healthful.
During this interview several local folks shopped and commented. “When I garden, I think of nothing else; and plants can be a natural medicine for what ails you,” one person said. My parents who are in their 80s still bask in the enjoyment of gardening and mentoring me along the way.
Need help starting? June is not too late. Jennifer is a great resource and says while you are enjoying the first crop of fresh tomatoes, you can plant your second.
June is a great month to start pumpkins, succulents and tropical plants that love the sun. Jennifer has the plants and the advice you need. She will even help you plant and landscape as she already does for several locals and businesses.
It’s never too late to discover your green thumb. Ocracoke Garden Center will be open until Dec. 1, and it is a great place to shop for gifts: locally made soap by Milk Street Soap, all kinds of garden gear, hanging pots of ferns and flowers.
Your spirits might even get a lift by just wandering through her center.
The next time you feel a sore throat coming on, try a natural recipe from Dr. Low Dog. A sage gargle not only relieves pain and kills bacteria, sage also acts as a great anti-inflammatory for your throat.
1 cup water, 2 tsp. fresh or dried sage, 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring water to boil; add the sage. Steep for 10 minutes then strain into a cup. Add salt and gargle every 2 hours, or as needed.
Terrilynn Grace West lives, gardens and works on Ocracoke providing warm water