Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association
Flower of the Month for April: Daisy
April is National Poetry Month
April Feature: Befriending Bees
April: The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began on April 2 and continues through Monday May 2.
April 5: Dandelion Day is sometimes celebrated along about now, and redbuds and maybe an early rose or two are blooming. Must be spring!
April 10: Arbor Day. First observed in 1872, in Nebraska. Planting trees helps us tackle the climate crisis.
April 11: Licorice Day. A cup of licorice tea, anyone? An immune-system booster, licorice helps to protect against upper respiratory infections.
April 15-23: Passover, a Jewish celebration of release from slavery
April 16: National Stress Awareness Day. Soothing choices: a cup of mint tea, a relaxing scented bath, and one of the Cottage Tale mysteries.
April 17. Easter Sunday, a Christian celebration of rebirth
April 18: Step outside and watch for bees, doing their spring thing. Assuming you’ve finished your taxes, that is. Today is also Tax Day.
April 22: International Earth Day. Please. Let’s not get so focused on our immediate challenges that we forget the crisis facing our planet.
April 23: St. George’s Day. Keep an eye peeled for fleeing dragons!
April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day. (Nice, but in April? Doesn’t this belong in July, when zukes are coming out our ears?)
April 28: Maryland was admitted to the Union on this day in 1788. Its state flower: the black-eyed Susan.
April 29: On this day in 1796, Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery was published. It was the first cookbook by an American author.
Don’t wear perfume in the garden—unless you want to be pollinated by bees.—Anne Raver
Plants can’t set seed without pollination, and bees are among the best pollinators. Luckily for us American-variety humans, there are over 3,500 native species of bees in the United States, and some of them are bound to live in your neighborhood. They’ll drop in for a visit if your garden includes the plants they enjoy–and need for their survival. The bad news: bees are in serious danger. The good news: you can help. .
Start planning now for a buzzing garden all year round—and do skip the toxic sprays. The bees will bless you for it.
- Timing is important. To attract different varieties of bees, plan for succession-blooming in spring, summer, and fall.
- Bee-utiful. Bees are attracted to yellow, purple, red, and blue blossoms. But unlike hummingbirds and moths, they can’t negotiate long-tube flowers. Members of the Compositae family—cosmos, dahlias, zinnias, and sunflowers—are winners, but stay away from hybrid varieties, which produce almost no pollen.
- Herbs are heavenly. Hyssop, lavender, rosemary, borage, mint, sage, catnip, butterfly weed, horehound, boneset are especially attractive to bees.
- Weeds are wonderful. From the bee’s point of view, any plant that provides nectar and pollen is simply adorable—including thistles, dandelions, and white clover, which some people try to root out of their gardens.
- Native is nicer. Wild bees are already adapted to the native plants of your area, so if you want to attract more bees, plant more natives. In many parts of the U.S., this will include wildflowers like coreopsis, gaillardia, basketflowers, toadflax, sunflowers, red clover, black-eyed Susans, monarda.
- Bee the solution. Bees are in danger. You can help.
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Want to read more like this? Look for The China Bayles Book of Days, with a thymely entry for every day of the year.
Celebrate Earth Day by choosing at least one way to modify your lifestyle this year, to reduce your footprint on the planet.
Find out what St. George has to do with dragons.
Zucchini bread is better with garlic and your favorite herbs. This recipe from TheFreeRangeLife also makes a great flatbread or pizza crust.
Take a look at Amelia Simmons‘ famous 1798 cookbook, the first written by an American woman for American women. It introduced the first printed recipes for Indian Pudding and Hoe Cake. “Indian meal” is what we know as cornmeal; hoe cake was so called because the batter was stiff enough to bake on a hoe held over a cooking fire. Through the magic of the internet, you are looking at the original pages of this wonderful cookbook!
Soothe that tax-day stress with these helpful herbal fragrances. Choose scented candles or use a diffuser with essential oils.
- Rose, for depression, irritability
- Orange, for apprehension, nervous tension
- Ylang-ylang, for sleeplessness, nervous tension
- Lavender, for tension, anxiety, and sleeplessness
Learn about the black-eyed Susan’s medicinal properties, and watch for its pretty bloom throughout late spring and summer.
Listen to one of Susan’s podcasts about the lore and magic of herbs. Each one is fun—and you’ll learn something you didn’t know about your favorite herb!
Find out what Susan is up to these days by visiting her blog, Lifescapes. There’s always something interesting going on in the Texas Hill Country. On her “other” blog, BookScapes, she posts book reviews, bookish thoughts, and notes on the fast-changing world of books