Our Farm Stand & Nursery store has been open for retail business for a week now and it has been so nice to see everyone coming in to visit and do a bit of shopping for garden plants.

Chris put out the beautiful signs Lizz painted for us many years ago. They are one of the first things that greets people as they arrive at the front door. Well, the scare crow farm ambassadors are also there to greet our farm visitors.


Meanwhile, back in the growing greenhouses, Beki and Susan have been creating miracles to get all the peppers planted this past week! They did it and then some, with Kaila and Lizz’ help, and me working to figure out where we could put everything as it was planted.


Growing space has become a real challenge, and if we didn’t laugh about the situation as we hop scotch over and around flats of plants, we’d be in tears. Somehow, we are making it work and each newly planted flat has found a place to live so far.


Meet Diane. She is part of the Farm Stand crew this spring. She is a very experienced Plants Woman and we are thrilled to have her as part of our farm family this year.


When you visit the Farm Stand store, you will also meet Lisa, who is helping us on Saturdays. She is so cheerful and brings a smile to our visitors.


Farm Stand Liz has been working here for many years now and we are grateful to have her help every spring in the Farm Stand store. She will be teaching a workshop this spring on Wild Birds in your garden landscape. She created this gorgeous poster of some of the birds that live or visit Desert Canyon Farm. If you come by, check it out…it is posted near the front door entrance. We are so fortunate to have Liz’ help. She’s great!


Here is a peek at the flower aisle of the Farm Stand store.


Cape Violets (the mass of purple flowers) greet people when they enter the Farm Stand, along with tender succulents, Eucalyptus, and then begins the hundreds of varieties of herbs and heirloom-heritage vegetables and fruit plants.

You can see some empty benches still, but that won’t be the case much longer. By Mother’s Day weekend, we expect nearly everything to be ready for sale and in place.


There are Ginger plants, Black Pepper vines, zillions of varieties of Basil. We have cool season vegetable patio container gardens and warm season vegetable patio containers too, along with patio containers of peas, beeline pollinator garden patio planters. The list just goes on and on!


This is Teddy, one of our Farm Ambassadors, who works in the Nursery area of the Farm Stand store. Actually, Teddy sits down on the job a lot, but he is a friendly, cheerful guy and we enjoy his company.


Somehow, that I still don’t understand, Chris and I managed to cook a real complete meal this week – a rare event during the spring when every moment it seems it dedicated to work tasks. I picked a bowl full of Shishito peppers in the greenhouse, along with garlic from the garden last year, other veggies and some udon noodles.  Add the olive bruschetta and a bit of parmasan cheese and wow…it was so yummy! Grow some Shishito peppers in your own garden. They are a fantastic mild fry pepper. We really like them.


We got great moisture this week in the form of rain and snow. It makes life feel a whole lot better when you are a farmer and you have a great moisture event. This one will make everything green up and bloom and it’s going to be lovely.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

Wonderful moisture has finally arrived! We are very grateful!!
However, because it is going to be wet and chilly on Saturday, April 17th, we will be cancelling the free workshops for that day. This is because all workshops are held outdoors.  We do plan to have the Sunday workshop weather permitting.
The Farm Stand Store will be open as usual, even though things may be soggy and chilly. A good day to get some green plant eye candy in the Farm Stand Store. Hope to see you soon.
With Green Thoughts, Tammi & Chris


Good Morning!

Today, Saturday April 10th, is the first day we will be open for the spring season…Open Farm Days begin!  The Farm Stand & Nursery store is open for business.

Wow, if you had asked me yesterday early morning if we would be ready to open the doors for farm visitors, I probably would have had my doubts, and there is still a lot that we need to get done, but we are ready for your visit and we are looking forward to seeing you.

We will be open April 10th thru June 13th, Saturdays – Thursdays (closed on Fridays)! Our hours are 9am to 4pm. Please come to visit and do some shopping for garden plants.

This weekend we plan to hold our free workshops too, as the weather is expected to be nice. You can visit the “Classes & Events”  page of our website for times and topics.

Remember that you must wear a mask covering your nose and mouth while you are shopping in the Farm Stand & Nursery or attending the workshops. Please keep a good social distance from other visitors while you are here.

That’s all for now. Hope to see you soon.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi


It’s time to begin planting the garden, and it’s perfect to begin with cool season veggies and cold tolerant herbs.

Remember the story of Peter Rabbit? That little bunny was forever causing mischief in Mr. McGregor’s garden! Perhaps you might enjoy growing some of the plants that Mr. McGregor grew. Keep a sharp look-out to see if Peter Rabbit, or his friends, show up to visit your garden. They might cause a bit of mischief, so watch out!

If I were planting a garden Peter Rabbit might visit, it would for sure have Lettuces and Carrots. Grow some spring Peas too. They are delicious and easy to pick. Spinach is a great choice and Cabbage is a must. Strawberries are very good to have in a Peter Rabbit Garden. Perhaps a fruit tree or two, so that there are Apples and Peaches to pick in summer and fall.

Of course, Peter Rabbit often had to drink a cup of Chamomile tea at bedtime to help him sleep. Grow some Mint to soothe an unhappy tummy after too many sweets at a birthday party. Lemon Balm is tasty over vanilla ice cream, so planting Lemon Balm is on the list. Don’t forget to grow sweet little edible Viola flowers named Heartsease or Johnny Jump-ups depending on who you ask. They are so tasty and can be used to decorate cakes or float in a glass of juice or lemonade.


Our Farm Stand Plant Sale begins this Saturday, April 10th. Everyone here is busy trying to get things organized and placed on the right bench…ahhh…so much to do and so little time left before opening next Saturday to get it all accomplished.


The Hygge Greenhouse is beginning to look pretty good by now. The main Farm Stand still has a long ways to go before it is ready, but never fear…we’ll get it done.


Our Farm Stand Plant Sale is open Saturdays to Thursdays, April 10th to June 13th (closed on Fridays). Hours are 9am-4pm. No curbside ordering this year. We accept cash, credit/debit cards. No checks. Please leave your pets at home.


This area of the nursery is dedicated to heirloom fruit trees and small fruits of many types. Elderberries, goji berry, several kinds of currants, mulberries (2 kinds), choke cherry, aronia…wow! Just imagine harvesting all those delicious fruits from your garden! Oh, and don’t forget the raspberries, and other delicous small fruits.


M’lissa and Luke visited last week from Montana and we promptly put them to work. One of the first tasks on their list was to get the three different varieties of strawberries labeled. It was sure nice to spend some time with them.

We remind you that Covid19 is still with us, so we are continuing precautions this spring. We require social distancing – visitors must keep 6 feet from fellow shoppers. We encourage Elders and those with health challenges to shop early mornings or late afternoons, which are less busy. Shopping weekdays is less busy than weekends.


We’ll be wearing face masks/scarves again this spring. Visitors must wear a mask or scarf, covering their nose and mouth, while shopping in the Farm Stand store. We’ll have hand-washing stations just like last year. Below are some happy farm visitors last spring shopping in the Hygge Greenhouse.


There will be a Container Garden workshop, a workshop on Permaculture and one for Kids who want to grow a garden. There will also be a Fragrance Herb Garden workshop all happening this weekend.


There will be free workshops on Saturdays and Sundays, weather and covid permitting. All workshops are outdoors, weather permitting of 50 degrees or warmer. Workshops will be cancelled if weather is 49 degrees or colder, snowing or raining. Chairs will be socially distanced. When chairs are filled, no other visitors may attend that specific class. Family members can sit close together. Face masks, covering your nose and mouth, are required to be worn during workshops. We know these rules are no fun, but free workshops are fun! In order to hold workshops, Covid19 requires these rules. If you’re not comfortable following these rules, we understand, but you will not be able to attend the workshops without abiding the rules. Visit our website for a complete workshops schedule, dates and times.


Tammi’s fairy garden is ready to host farm visitors during Open Farm Days, especially the young ones who might enjoy exploring this garden to see what the fairies have been up too.

Just like always, we will be holding our Fairy Garden raffles. Kaila planted two different fairy gardens, and we will be raffling them off at two different times this spring. Tickets are $1.00 each, and the money raised from the raffle is used to buy fresh produce from a local farm to donate to our community food bank. I’ll try to remember to take some pictures of this year’s fairy gardens to post on my next blog post.


Sadly, this week I sent one of my dearest friends on her next life journey to move to the Big Island of Hawaii. She goes there for work, and has worked there several times in the past (She’s a D.O.), so in many ways it will be a homecoming for her, but I am going to miss Roselia greatly.

sassy sadie

Sassy Sadie couldn’t let me close without having her two cents put in this post. She wants everyone to know that they should visit our Farm this spring during Open Farm Days because it is great fun and a nice place to explore. Bring a picnic lunch if you like, and enjoy it in the gardens or the orchard while you are here. Bring your field glasses and a nature journal and spend some time doing some birding or wildlife watching while you are here. We hope you will do a bit of shopping in the Farm Stand & Nursery store to see if there are plants you want to grow in your gardens this year.

If you visit all the pages of this website, you will find loads of information on our Farm Stand store, farm happenings and directions to 1270 Field Ave. in Canon City, CO.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

I haven’t written a post for a while now, in part because we have been very busy with farm work, but mostly because my Dad passed over a little more than a week ago and I’ve just been absorbing myself in his memories

He was the best Papa a gal could have, and of course everyone says that, but in my mind he was one of my top heroes in the whole world! And of course, he could do or fix anything that needed doing or fixing, like when he put new roofs on my garden fairy houses.

We are going to all miss him so much!!


We are totally out of space in all the greenhouses, so this past week we were not able to do much planting. Instead, we spent the week working on getting our Farm Stand & Nursery retail area set up. We will be opening on Saturday, April 10th, for our annual spring Open Farm Days and Farm Stand Plant Sale.

Chris constructed a frame to put up shade cloth over the outside nursery area, which will make it a lot less stressful for all our little pots of plants growing on benches in the hot sun and the wind this spring. It will also make it much more comfortable for our farm visitors


Lizz spent 2 days just sorting and placing the heirloom fruit trees. That was a crazy big task!


Putting up pallet benches is not for sissies, as Susan, Kaila and I can tell you. It is heavy work, but we had fun all the same.


Shrek and Kaila were cleaning and trimming perennials that have been wintering over under frost blanket and are not starting to wake up for the spring season and begin to grow.


There are a zillion plant labels that have to be put into place. The women put a serious dent into that project, but of course, there is still a lot of plants that we have to label yet.


There there was the seed packets project. Susan and Kaila made a couple hundred little packets of native milkweed seeds that we will share with some of our farm visitors during our Open Farm Days this spring. All species of Milkweeds are very important food sources for butterflies and moths and beneficial insects and bees love them too. If you want to encourage pollinators, growing milkweeds is a great way to offer them some support.


And then there are the three very busy cats of the farm. You can see that they are working extra hard ;-}  Pal is gray and sitting in the rocking chair alone. Sadie is the long hair smaller black cat and Willow is the big black cat in the double rocking chair. All three were wild as could be when they adopted us a few years back. They still have some of that wild nature if you try to pick them up, but otherwise, they have become quite comfortable being house cats in our home.

I’ll try to get back to my weekly routine now of writing a blog regularly. Have a great first week of spring!

Dad 6-25-20 (Alvin Bryant)

This week, Hannah and Gretel our Granny Ducks, had company one morning. Six wild geese stopped by the pond for a bit.

Beki and Susan returned to work in the greenhouses for the spring season. We all have so much fun working together. I know this spring will be the same.

Beki and Lizz planted up the bare-root berries that finally arrived. They were supposed to arrive the 3rd of February, so they are a bit late due to all the frigid weather that has been happening around the country, but now they are here and planted.

Susan and Kaila planted herb plugs every day and now we have a good supply of fresh inventory nearly ready to sell to our wholesale customers.

Then there was the business of the Farm Ambassadors arriving for the growing season! Actually, they will stay all this year.

The crew helped the Ambassadors make their way into the Farm Stand nursery.

They are now ready to greet our Farm visitors all through the rest of the year.

There is still the matter of a cowboy hat that has yet to arrive for this farmer gentleman, but his wild lady friend with a monkey on her head doesn’t seem to mind that he is a bald at the moment.

There always is a joker Ambassador that seems to arrive with the rest each year. This year is no exception.

Our Joker Ambassador brought his cute girlfriend with him. Aren’t they a cheerful pair! They will be reminding Farm visitors that they need to wear a face mask when the come to shop inside the Farm Stand store and nursery this spring during Open Farm Days.

We hope our Farm Ambassadors will leave you smiling and feeling cheerful and ready to plant your gardens.

There was another majestic visitor to the Farm this week too. This red tail hawk has been visiting regularly. I always appreciate these birds of prey when they are here.

Spring is arriving in full force now. I hope you will enjoy every minute of this season of birth and renewal.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

We’ve had 2 greenhouses recently damaged by the severe cold weather and wind, so we are recovering those greenhouses with new plastic skins. This is a very big task and requires a lot of extra hands to help. These photos are from a different greenhouse recovering project, because the wind yesterday was so severe I couldn’t even begin to take pictures as we were working along, but these photos will show you the process and then you can leave it to your imagination as to how we managed the task.

Yesterday, we had to put a new skin on our Woodstove Greenhouse (named because we heat it with a wood pellet stove). The weather was supposed to be calm and pretty warm, which is always a requirement for these kinds of projects, however, it was not calm at all! We woke up to 15 mph winds and 35 mph gusts. Normally, that would be cause to nix the task to another better day, but we are under the gun right now, running out of space for newly transplanted plants, as all the other greenhouses are full by now. We had 11 people to help cover a greenhouse that we can normally do with 4 people, and still it was a horrible, horrible project due to the severe wind. And…nearly all of us were very experienced at doing this and still it was beyond difficult!

Imagine 2 pieces of 6ml plastic 50′ by 45′ that have to be pulled over a 16′ tall greenhouse, held in place and secured with those kinds of winds. It was like trying to wrestle a giant kite determined to fly to Kansas and take all of us with it holding on frantically to the plastic. The wind and plastic very nearly won this battle!! The next greenhouse we have to recover is the Farm Stand and it is 96 feet long! We will definitely NOT do that one on a windy day!!

We were successful, with only a few small punctures in the new plastic that had to be patched (bummer, as we usually accomplish recovering with no tears or punctures). The house is inflated and looks really good, especially considering we were doubtful we would be able to successfully get it done at all. Today, I’ll finish putting the shade cloth on the inside ceiling back in place, and plants will start to go in this house this afternoon. Sometimes luck is with you and we go lucky, and we owe our crew and extra help a huge thank you for working on this. It was brutal.

Today, Chris heads to Santa Fe with our first New Mexico order delivery of 2021. Lots of herbs and heritage/heirloom vegetable plants are going to our wholesale Garden Center and Nursery customers by now, which is great, and we are always in gratitude for these customers and the business they give us.

Remember a couple of posts back I showed you the first newly sprouting vegetable crops? Well, look at them now! They look beautiful and the thought of eating freshly grown vegetables just makes your mouth water in anticipation. Swiss Chard, Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach and more!

The flower baskets are coming along nicely and will look lovely by the time we open our retail Farm Stand store on April 10th this spring.

These Thumbergia vines are gorgeous too and will be really nice by opening day.

Our first pepper crop is being transplanted from plugs to 2.5″ pots now. There are benches and benches of peppers, or will be by the end of the work day today. In a couple of weeks, these will have grown enough to be ready for sale.

Our patience is being tested yet again by the weather as we wait for our bareroot strawberries to arrive. They were supposed to be here on February 3rd, so that we could get them planted and have them ready for sale when the Farm Stand store opens in April. The fruit grower we get the bareroots from has not been able to ship them yet due to the polar freeze that has been hitting so much of North America. We are keeping fingers crossed that they will show up this week.

Growing strawberries from seed is a very lengthy process, and takes much more time and space than we have, so we get our strawberries from a fruit grower who sends them to us as 1 year old bare roots. We grow these out over a couple of months time and when they are growing beautifully, we will have them for sale to our retail customers.

From back left going forward in a circle: Red Shiso, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Mint, Gotu Kola, Vietnamese Coriander

We are growing so many different kinds of herbs that it is going to make your head spin. Our whole bodies are spinning right now as we work to get all of these great plant varieties growing and ready for you to enjoy shopping this spring. You could plant a collection of herbs or fruits and vegetables for your own porch, just like a collection of container herbs can be found growing on my back porch every growing season from spring through fall.

Shiso( this year we will offer Britton Shiso) is a tasty salad herb and is used in the fragrance and perfume industries as a natural fixative to keep all the fragrances stable in their blends. I think Britton Shiso is so beautiful with it’s green leaves on the top and purple undersides and pale lavender flowers.

We grow a bunch of different varieties of Rosemary, both creeping and upright choices, and each and every one of them is beautiful, delicious and a strong medicinal herb. Remember that you can use every kind of Rosemary equally, so choose the variety that you best like when making your choice of which one you want to grow. They all taste the same. They all have equal medicinal benefits, and they all make a soothing bath or foot soak for sore achy muscles!

Lemon Verbena has some of the strongest flavor and fragrance of all the lemony herbs. The leaves are considered supreme for making herb tea or other lemon flavored beverages. The flowers have a very floral sweet fragrance and are wonderful in salads, used to make sachets or just enjoy this plant growing in a pot in your kitchen.

It seems like there are a zillion different kinds of mint you could choose to grow. Many kinds of peppermint, spearmint, and fruity mints. We grow 19 different varieties of mint, including our own selection called Chocolate Swirl Peppermint (named by Kaila). Mints are quite diverse for cooking and can be used in baking (like cookies), Middle Eastern dishes, herb butters and cream cheese spreads, for tea and to give lemonade a extra special twist…the ways you can cook with mint are truly endless. Use them to make your own household cleaning products. Mints have many different medicinal benefits to take advantage of. A cup of mint tea is one of the most soothing things you can do for yourself when you have an upset stomach.

Gotu Kola is famous for it’s ability to support good memory and to nurture skin health. The leaves are tasty eaten as fresh greens on sandwiches like pita pockets or in salads…we like them on tacos with cilantro in place of lettuce. You can use Gotu Kola as a tea or make it into a tincture. It is a tender perennial, so it isn’t cold tolerant AT ALL. Grow this herb indoors during the cold months of the year and put it in a shady location on your porch when the weather is warm and settled. Don’t forget that Gotu Kola is considered a favorite food of elephants and we all know that elephants have very long and good memories!

Vietnamese Coriander is another tender herb that must be protected from cold temperatures. It makes a lovely indoor herb and will also do well in a shady location outdoors when the weather is hot. This is quite a unique herb for flavor and used a lot in Asian cooking. Add it to soups, stir fry or as a garnish to a bowl of noodles and vegetables.

I’ll be back again next week with more green thoughts!





February Greetings!

It has been quite some time since I’ve written a post. Thank you for your patience to read something new.

Much has happened during the month of January, including plenty of greenhouse planting for spring inventory. Chris and I have also been spending quite a bit of time care-giving for our parents, which is the main reason I haven’t posted for a while. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with my weekly posts going forward.

We have our first cool season vegetable crop nearly ready to wholesale to Garden Centers around Colorado and northern New Mexico. The first crop is always tiny, but it is sure exciting to see swiss chard, beets, spinach and the like all sprouting and growing up. Soon they will be large enough to be included in a meal at someone’s dinner table!

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits & Vegetables! Actually, every year should be the Year of Fruits & Vegetables, but it’s a wonderful excuse to give these kinds of food plants a lot of extra attention. We are so excited about this. So much so, that here at Desert Canyon Farm we are declaring 2021 the Year of Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs!!! We feel herbs go hand in hand with all types of food plants.

So you will be hearing an extra lot from us about growing fruits and veggies, along with herbs, as well as all the many ways you can use these kinds of plants to support a happy and healthy lifestyle! One of the ways we want to do this is to share the link to Kaila’s new world food page of how she is cooking this year with fresh foods.

Kaila works with us here at Desert Canyon Farm, and has for quite a few years now. She is an amazing landscape designer, and is especially focused on designing gardens and landscapes that are friendly to native plants, food plants, wildlife-habitat plants and with an emphasis on permaculture. As she, Lizz and I were talking about the declaration made by the United Nations, and how excited we were about that, Kaila shared with us that she is cooking a meal each week from a different part of the world. AND…she is writing a facebook page about her experiences doing this. Check out her page and I bet you will get some grand ideas on how to use fresh foods in your cooking.

https://www.facebook.com/ pages/category/Kitchen- Cooking/Culture-Kitchen-2021- 102313288501381/

Keep an eye out for all kinds of sharing in my posts on this topic!

That brings me to an update you should know about regarding the free workshops we always have here at our farm during our Spring Open Farm Days. This year Open Farm Days begin on April 10th and go through June 13th, 2021. During this window of time we will be open every day (except we are closed on Fridays), from 9am to 4pm. On the weekends we will be holding our free workshops covid19 and weather permitting.

That is what the update is regarding… I have updated the workshops schedule on the “Classes & Events” page of this website, so you may want to double check that the workshop you are hoping to attend is still scheduled at the same time. Many of the times have changed, although the dates typically are the same as before. There are some workshops that have been removed from the schedule for this year. As you know, last year we had to cancel ALL of our free workshops, so this spring we are hopeful to have a full schedule for you to enjoy. However, there are conditions in place to attend our workshops. Here is the scoop…

Due to Covid19 requirements, all our workshops will be held only outdoors, weather permitting of 50 degrees or warmer this spring. Workshops will be cancelled if the temperature is 49 degrees or colder, if it is raining or snowing. We will not be moving people into indoor areas for workshops this spring. Our chairs will be socially distanced in spacing. When the chairs are filled, no other visitors will be allowed to attend that class. Family members may sit closer together, but everyone else will be spaced for social distancing. Face masks that completely cover your nose and mouth will be required to be worn at all times during our workshops, as well as when you are inside our Farm Stand & Nursery areas .

We appreciate that not everyone who would like to attend a workshop will want to follow these rules, and we apologize that the rules are strict, but Covid19 requires that we keep all these rules in place. Tammi will be politely, but strictly enforcing them. If you are not comfortable following the rules, we totally understand, but you will not be allowed to attend the workshops without following these rules. This is to keep all of us as safe as possible and still be able to enjoy learning together about plants.

On another note, Chris is creating again and wow…I’m really excited about what he is making. He is etching rock art into some native rocks for our gardens. He’s using a book we have about the rock art of Indigenous First People as a guide to some of the pictures he is etching.

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These stones have turned out beautifully!! If you come to visit us during Open Farm Days, be sure to stroll in our gardens to see these beautiful stones he made!

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For now that is all the news.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

On this very cold, and a little bit snowy night, I’m reading another amazing book written by Terry Tempest Williams. I’ve read many of her books and every one is excellent! This one, When Women Were Birds, is filled with vivid mind’s eye images and thought-provoking bits and pieces. She speaks of learning to identify wild birds with her grandmother. The gift of being left her mother’s journals upon her death, only to discover an inspiring surprise when she goes to read them. I’m so looking forward to continuing my read of this lovely book. I greatly recommend it.

It feels like my days are over-full with tasks. There is so much planting to be done now in the greenhouses as we prepare for the spring busy season. Lizz and Kaila have days filled with seeding, transplanting, processing orders – all manner of things. I am constantly shuttling flats and pots of plants from one greenhouse to the next, pulling seeds, trimming, sowing and of course there is the endless list of office things to do in my Rabbit Hole. I call my office my Rabbit Hole on good days and The Dungeon on challenging days.

One such Rabbit Hole task is working on the educational signage we do for each plant that we sell in our Farm Stand & Nursery. I have a great long list of new plants to prepare signage for. This is a very fun task that I enjoy, but it is time-consuming to be sure.

Last evening we were walking at Oil Well Flats, which is an area of Juniper-Pinon forest 10 minutes from our farm. I am totally in love with these gnarly ancient Junipers, all twisted and thick and massive, revealing just how much it takes to live in the high mountain desert of southern Colorado. This is a harsh climate to grow in if you are a tree and yet the Junipers thrive!

Besides being beautiful and enchanting to me, this is a tree of so many gifts to humans. It is a carpenter and fence-builder, a baker and cook, and certainly its pollen is an allergy maker! It is a keeper of medicine wisdom for our health, especially respiratory health. It has honored rituals and ceremony from the ancient Celts to the Native First Peoples of North America. The oils of its bark and needles are an aromatherapist’s tool. In the past, the Egyptian people used Juniper oil to embalm their dead. After it grows for 10 to 20 years, Juniper’s berries, which take up to 18 months to ripen, can be used to make gin. Well, I should let you know that what we call berries on Juniper trees are not really true berries at all, but rather are considered cones.

Many have said that seeing a Juniper tree bodes well that good things will fill your life. I, for one, believe this, as the Junipers have been a great gift in my life.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

Greetings All,

One of my blog readers, who has a wonderful blog of her own called Cat in the Flock, is offering a drawing to new subscribers to her blog for a signed copy of my book. Here is the link to her blog, which will go live at 6am on January 17th, where you can read all about this great book give-a-way. I hope you will check it out.

Email subscription form header


Cat in the Flock

Why You Should Read All of Tammi Hartung’s Garden Books This Winter – Plus a Chance to Win a Free Paperback!

My own collection of Tammi Hartung books.

Hartung books

By Lisa Brunette

I’ve been fangirling author Tammi Hartung for some time now, and I think you should share in the love. I picked up a copy of her 2014 book The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature a couple of years ago at my neighborhood used book store, and I was immediately hooked. When I found out she’d also written on growing healing herbs and how to make use of native plants, my soul-sister crush was cemented.

Here’s a list of just a few of the many things Hartung has taught me:

  • That plants signal their use somewhat metaphorically, through color, shape, and way of being in the world. This is called the “doctrine of signatures.” A good example is the heart-hued, heart-shaped rose petal offering healing powers for the heart muscle.
  • Your quest for food plants does not have to be in conflict with your desire to help support wildlife. In fact, the two can coexist in a mutually supportive way.
  • It’s surprisingly easy to grow, harvest, and make use of your own healing herbs as teas, tinctures, food medicine, syrups, poultices, balms, the list goes on.

An ethnobotanical herbalist and organic farmer, Hartung champions an approach to gardening that is gentle on the earth and its creatures. Her books are enormously helpful if you’ve wanted to garden but felt turned off by guides that call for fertilizer and pesticide use, or simply zap the fun and natural-world connection out of the endeavor. 

Now for a rundown of all four books, in order of publication date. I highly recommend every one. You can try scouring used book store shelves for them, but I’ve also provided handy links to the Amazon pages for each. We don’t receive anything in return for including these links.

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Growing 101 Herbs That Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies – Storey Press – North Adams, MA – 2000

Publisher’s Description: What better way to take your medicine than straight from the garden? From St. John’s wort to fennel, chicory to skullcap, herbalist and gardener Tammi Hartung introduces you to the special cultivating and care techniques required to grow 101 versatile and useful herbs.

How I’ve used this book: As a reference guide for the historical medicinal use of 101 herbs and for how-to’s on handcrafting herbal teas, tinctures, and other products. It’s illustrated and full-color, which helps you picture unfamiliar techniques and makes it an attractive reference.


Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More Than 100 Herbs – Storey Press – North Adams, MA – 2011

Publisher’s Description: Infuse your yard with the flavor, fragrance, beauty, and healing power of organic herbs. Whether you want to work herbs into existing flower or food gardens, grow them in containers, or plant a dedicated herb garden, Homegrown Herbs is your in-depth guide to everything you need to know about planting, caring for, harvesting, drying, and using more than 100 herbs.

How I’ve used this book: Same as the above, as I believe this is an updated version of the original. But they’re definitely both worth owning. This one includes some helpful tips on harvesting and drying flowers and herbs, a list of edible flowers, a good assortment of food medicine recipes, and other additions.


The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature – Storey Press – North Adams, MA – 2014

Publisher’s Description: Make beneficial wildlife part of your food-garden ecosystem: they’ll pollinate your plants, feed on pests, and leave behind manure to nourish your soil. Tammi Hartung has spent years observing natural rhythms and animal habits in her garden, a peaceful place where perennials attract pollinators, ponds house slug-eating bullfrogs, mulch protects predator insects in the soil, mint gently deters unwanted mice, and hedgerows shelter and feed many kinds of wildlife. Her successful methods are a positive step toward a healthier garden.

How I’ve used this book: This book has formed the basis for my wildlife-friendly garden design at Dragon Flower Farm. It’s why we have a brush pile supporting families of rabbits and other critters, a rock garden for snakes and reptiles, and a host of other features that encourage everything from opossums to monarchs to visit our garden.


Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine: The Curious Stories of 43 Amazing North American Native Plants – Storey Press – North Adams, MA – 2017

Publisher’s Description: The plants in your backyard have amazing stories to tell and fascinating uses you’ve never known about. For millennia, we humans have relied on these plants to nourish, shelter, heal, and clothe us. Through captivating tales and images that illuminate our lost wisdom, Tammi Hartung reveals the untold histories of 43 native North American plants and celebrates their modern versatility.

How I’ve used this book: The prettiest of Hartung’s works, the hardcover is a pleasure to leaf through for the luscious imagery, entertaining fun facts, and short tips on native plants we might actually take for granted. It’s a bit of a fascinating history lesson, too, as told through flora.Tammi Hartung.

Just as I finished this last book in Hartung’s oeuvre, I lamented she had no more, but then I discovered her blog, which is an extension of her work as co-owner of Desert Canyon Farm. As mentioned in her Amazon author bio: 

She and her husband, Chris, own Desert Canyon Farm, a certified organic farm since 1996 in southern Colorado, where they grow more than 1800 varieties of plants. They grow all types of herbs, heritage and heirloom food plants, native and wildlife habitat plants, edible flowers and more. In their flower seed production field, they grow over 60 varieties of perennials for a German seed company called Jelitto Perennial Seed Co, so seeds from Tammi’s farm end up being grown by gardeners and growers all over the world!

Through the blog newsletter, I enjoy hearing about Desert Canyon’s work across all four seasons, as well as getting to know Tammi and Chris, not to mention dog Shrek. Tammi’s blog posts offer a glimpse behind-the-scenes for both the farm and her latest author project, a children’s plant book. As an avid hiker myself, I also like the photos and accounts of their hikes through southern Colorado terrain, which is much more arid than my environment here in Missouri. Side note: Tammi is a friendly, responsive writer, too; I reached out to her to find out if I could buy her books directly through her instead of Amazon (the answer is no, as she directed me back to the ‘zon), and we had a really nice little exchange.

And Now for That Chance to Win a Free Paperback

All you have to do is get one friend to subscribe to our newsletter, and both you and your friend will be entered into a drawing for a free paperback copy of Hartung’s third book, The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Forward our newsletter, share a link to our blog, or somehow else get one of your friends excited about Cat in the Flock enough to sign up for our email newsletter.
  2. Email us at this handy link to let us know you succeeded, and include your friend’s email address used in the signup so we know to credit you and your friend!
  3. That’s it! We’ll reach out if you’ve won. If one of your names is selected, you both get a copy of the book.

I hope you check out Tammi’s books and get as much out of them as I have. 

Anthony and Lisa


Cat in the Flock

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