Edgehill Herb Farm’s
Herbs Make The Difference
Podcast Is Here!
Hosted by Karen England.
Guest Mary ‘Klibs’ Dralle – The Rose Is An Herb – Permaculture Plant Guilds
Mary ‘Klibs’ Dralle is a Certified Permaculture Designer, owner and operator of The Dancing Raven Ranch & Retreat Center in Vista, CA, and a Chef; Cookin’ with Klibs Presents the Chemistry of Cooking, cookinwithklibs.mysite.com Find her some Saturdays at the Vista Farmers Market. She is also a Creative Colorer Group Leader with Color Me Joyful, a Labyrinth Coordinator/Builder with The Wander-Full Labyrinth Walkers, and a Young Living Distributor.
Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn & Meetup
Karen England and the Herbs Make the Difference podcast wish to thank Mary Dralle for sponsoring this conversation about the herbal rose.
Herb enthusiast Karen England is the owner of edgehillherbfarm.blog She is a member of the Herb Society of American and the International Herb Association. The IHA is the group the picks the Herb of the Year® each year and Karen is a frequent contributor to the herb of the year® books written by the membership and published by the IHA. Many of the HOY® titles from years past are available for sale on her blog website, including Rose (Rosa) Herb of the Year® 2012. This book is regularly priced at $15 each, however, in celebration of this podcast, now through the end of 2022, while the supply lasts, each Rose book is $12. All other HOY® titles are regularly priced. Karen is also the President and newsletter editor-in-chief of the San Diego Horticultural Society.
What is an herb?
An herb is a useful plant, useful for cooking, crafting/decoration and medicine. By that definition roses, although only when grown organically, are a quintessential herb!
What is a plant guild and how is it different from companion planting?
Many of us use the term companion planting when we think about using annual plants together and think of just two or three used in conjunction with a main plant.
Companion planting is the practice of planting specific crops in close proximity to each other to enhance nutrient uptake, provide pest control, encourage pollination, and increase crop production.
Seasoned gardeners have determined that certain plants improve the growth of tomatoes by repelling insect pests and diseases, while others are best kept at a distance.
The primary use is for the attraction of beneficial bugs and pest bug repulsion.
An example would be the trio of tomatoes, garlic, and basil; garlic repels red spider mites and garlic sprays help control blight. Basil is an important tomato companion plant because the herb repels insects, improves growth, and enhances flavor. Basil also repels mosquitoes and flies.
Using this method, it is best to combine companion planting with crop rotation in the garden bed where root crops are followed by leafy greens then legumes and, lastly fruiting/flowering plants so that the soil is built up and prepared year round.
When talking about a plant guild, this refers to perennial plants that last for more than one season and can live for up to 3000 years or so like the Olive tree of Vouves, Greece. If we look at a forest through the eyes of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, the founders of permaculture, we see that a forest will build itself up with more than one plant. There will be a main plant and plants and vines under it that support it.
Diversity attracts bacteria, fungi, insects, and birds. Incorporating edibles, medicinal plants, and flowering plants to grow alongside your tree allows those natural processes to take place – which ends up reducing your overall workload in the garden.
Watering is more efficient, because of weed suppression and a decrease in erosion. In addition, some plants may be able to shield your growing fruit tree from sunscald and wind.
Even on our hillsides in Southern California, there are specific plant guilds that support each other as to maintain soil fertility and stability.
What different plants do you have in a guild and why?
Nitrogen-Fixers – An N-fixing crop is a natural way to provide plant-adjusted N without any industrial harm to nature. Using them in crop rotation allows nitrogen fixation for succeeding plants. Another successful practice is to use nitrogen-fixing plant species in intercropping. A popular example would be Red Clover . . . that grows all over and bees love it.
Accumulators – Plant these deep rooted plants, they draw up nutrients from deep within the soil. When the plant decomposes it makes those minerals more available for the shallower rooted plants.
Attractors/Mulchers – There are many plants that attract adult beneficial insects that feed on pollen, nectar, or plant juices to supplement or replace their insect diet. It is, in fact, the larvae of these insects that eat the majority of plant pests. It is in our best interest to provide a stable habitat, such as a perennial border, for our predatory friends to live, feed and lay their eggs. Try to avoid excessive mowing or tilling of the “bug bank.” These plants will often shed their leaves providing invaluable mulch for the guild. Mulch slowly decomposes adding nutrients and provide a lay that holds water in the ground while keeping the top 4-6 inches of earth, aka topsoil, thriving for the next desired seed
Suppressors – Hardy ground covers that improve the appearance of your yard, and significantly reduce the amount of time spent removing seeds that take root where you do not want them.
Repellers – Plants that keep the pesty bugs and critters away. Mint repels many animals and it does well in pots around the roses. Makes a wonderful tea as well. Many other herbs, vegetables, and flowers have strong aromas that make them wonderful companion plants for natural pest control; borage, yarrow, strawberries or, my favorite, stinging nettle.
What Specific plants go with roses in their plant guild?
A rose does well when surrounded by –
Lavender – attractor, repellent, suppressor
Lemon balm – attractor, repellent, suppressor and mulcher
Clover – attractor, suppressor and mulcher, N2 Fixer, accumulator
Strawberries – attractor, suppressor, N2 Fixer, accumulator
Garlic – repellent, suppressor and Accumulator
Fennel – attractor, repellent
Nasturtiums – attractor, repellent, suppressor and mulcher
Rhubarb – this is a wonderful mulcher When you cut your rhubarb to harvest the stalks, just leave the leaves on the ground around.
Next time: This rose episode with Mary ‘Klibs’ Dralle continues next week with Segment Two – Roses Are An Herb – The Edible Rose!
New episodes or episode segments drop on Thursdays when available.
Tech advisor and podcast editor is Luke Piskor of Real Hypha Productions, and he can be found on Thumbtack Real Hypha Productions (Luke Piskor) – San Marcos, CA (thumbtack.com)
Have suggestion for this podcast? Want to be a guest, advertiser or sponsor? Contact Christy English, Edgehill Herb Farm Info@edgehillherbfarm.blog
“Kitchen Table” theme music by Dominique Arciero used with permission.