While perusing gardening and seed catalogs this winter, there’s another way you can be an armchair gardener. Take a visual inventory of your landscape. Chances are it lacks color, unless you're in a subtropical area. Evergreen plantings add rich green color to your landscape year round, and visually steps forward throughout winter when color has faded from perennials, annuals and deciduous plants. Incorporating evergreen shrubs and trees to your landscape softens the harsh bleakness of winter, preventing it from appearing dull and bare. When color is sparse in winter, evergreens provide not only color, but also texture, shape and variety to the landscape. Check local garden centers for species suitable to your climate and region.
Tips for Landscaping with Evergreens:
Evergreen Plantings List by Basic Shapes:
Broad Leaf, Flowering Evergreen Trees and Bushes
Broad Conical Evergreens
Narrow Conical Evergreens
Narrow, Columnar Evergreens
Once you have considered the various trees, hedges, and ground covers you’d like to incorporate into your landscape, sketch an evergreen planting plan for spring.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Check out Lowell and Deborah's super sturdy and handsome DIY Gardening Potting Bench Plans.
Tired of humdrum hot chocolate? With a blender and a little imagination, hot chocolate can be a gourmet treat that you can vary day-to-day, and is a delicious way to feature fresh fruits and seasonal flavors.
Fresh juicy citrus fruits are in season, just when our bodies can benefit from the added boost of vitamin C. Vitamin C assists in detoxifying the body, healing and fighting viruses. Besides being rich in antioxidants, oranges also contain B vitamins, vitamins A, and E, magnesium, potassium, folates, calcium, phosphorous, and dietary fiber.
Orange Storage Tips:
Oranges need to breathe, do not store in plastic bags. At room temperature, oranges will keep for 5 days. For longer storage, refrigerate for 3 to 4 weeks.
Chocolate and orange are the top two flavors in the world. We’ve combined these luscious favorites to bring you a delicious hot chocolate with a nutritious blast of vitamin C goodness.
Orange Hot Chocolate Recipe
A warm and cozy way to up your vitamin C intake
Yield: 2 cups
1 ½ cups almond milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
½ teaspoon orange peel (grate from a fresh organic orange or use dried*)
1 sweet orange, peeled, and seeds removed
1 tablespoon organic cocoa or cacao powder
1 tablespoon raw honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon stevia powder or preferred sweetener to taste
Heat almond milk and coconut oil in a small pot on the stove until hot, but not boiling. Pour hot mixture into a Vitamix or blender. Add remaining ingredients and affix lid.Start on lowest setting, increase quickly to variable 10 and then high speed. Blend until fruit is pulverized and beverage is smooth. Pour into a big mug or share with a friend. Enjoy!
*Source for dehydrated, organic orange peel.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant which enhances the immune system, reduces inflammation and is essential to the body’s healing process: including burns and wounds, tissue growth and repair, healthy gums, adrenal gland function, and protect against infection and cancer. It can reduce symptoms associated with asthma, enhance iron absorption and may help lower high blood pressure. It acts as a building block for collagen in the skin. It also protects skin cells from age spots and wrinkling caused by sunlight and environmental pollutants. Naturally occurring substances in citrus fruits, called flavonoids, show promise in preventing prostate cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma.
Vitamin C is not manufactured by the body, but must be obtained nutritionally through foods or supplements. It is best to acquire vitamin C from whole food sources, instead of swallowing a pill that may contain artificial colors, sweeteners and flavors. The following 4 fruits are superb, natural sources of vitamin C. Each is derived from the fruit of its respective plant.
Acerola (Malpighia glabra) comes from the berry of a rainforest herb similar to the cherry. It is one of the richest, natural sources of vitamin C and is used commercially in natural, vitamin supplements. It helps relieve diarrhea and reduce fever.
Amla (Emblica officinalas) is also known as Indian gooseberry. It is the fruit of a deciduous tree native to India. It is a staple in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and is rich in flavonoids, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Orange Peel (Citrus sinesis) is derived from the peels of the fruit of any tree in the Sweet Orange family. Although it is considered native to China, oranges are commercially raised in over 100 countries, including the states of: Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Orange peels have been used in traditional Chinese medicine since the second century BC. The peel actually contains more flavonoids, enzymes and phyto-nutrients than the fruit.
Rosehips are the fruit of the rose (Rosa canina). It is an excellent source of vitamin C. Before the advent of vitamin tablets, rosehips were used to prevent scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency. It relieves diarrhea, bladder problems and helps heal all infections. It is also used in many vitamin and nutritional supplements.
These natural fruit derivatives are not only rich in vitamin C, but are all available certified organic, in powder form from Mountain Rose Herbs. With the powders on hand, it is easy to make vitamin C chewables.
(Thanks to my dear and knowledgeable friend, Jennifer Stowe, who taught me how to make chewable vitamin C, so I could share with you.)
1 Tablespoon Acerola powder
1 Tablespoon Amla powder
1 Tablespoon Orange peel powder (additional needed for final step)
1 Tablespoon Rosehips powder
Approx. ¼ cup Raw honey
Add equal amounts of the 4 powders to a bowl. Seal and shake gently to blend the powders together. Uncover the bowl and pour a little of the raw honey into the mixture. Stir to combine. Pour more honey and stir. Continue stirring in more honey, just until the mixture forms a thick, but not sticky paste. Allow the mixture to dry slightly at room temperature, for about 5 minutes. Then pinch off a small amount and roll it in your hands, forming a ball, about the size of a blueberry. Repeat the process, until all mixture is rolled into bite-size balls. Place additional orange peel powder into the bowl. Roll each ball into the powder to coat the outside. Store vitamin C chews in an airtight, glass container.
Read how to grate and dehydrate organic orange peel to use in hot teas and to use in this recipe for chewable vitamin C.
Chew one or several vitamin C sweet tarts daily for its nutritional benefits. Chew several per day at first sign of a cold or illness. How do you know if you’ve consumed too much? Diarrhea is an indication that you’ve mega-dosed vitamin C. If this happens, stop taking the chewables until your bowels return to normal. Honey should not be given to children younger than one-year-old.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac andChiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
Articles and recipes by health and natural living author and freelance writer,
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