The “Herbs Make The Difference” Podcast Is Here!

Edgehill Herb Farm’s

Herbs Make The Difference

Podcast Is Here!

Herbs Make The Difference -The Rose Is An Herb -Segment 1 -Permaculture Plant Guilds

Hosted by Karen England.

High Hopes climbing rose & Karen England - Oct 2022.Vista, CA
High Hopes climbing rose selfie with Karen England – Oct 2022.
Karen England is a contributor to the 2012 herb of the year (tm) Rose book
Rose (Rosa) 2012 Herb of the Year ™ book for sale at edgehillherbfarm.blog Karen England is contributor to the book.


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





Rose podcast - Mary Dralle & Karen England
Mary ‘Kilbs’ Dralle & Karen England podcasting from Edgehill Herb Farm, Vista, CA. During the pandemic Karen kept herself and her crew busy by turning a closet in her barn into a fancy podcast booth.

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.


DRINKING IN THE GARDEN: Karen’s Famous Lemonade

I have been making my herbal Famous Lemonade for people for over 20 years. It’s easy and delicious, quite possibly why it’s so famous.

By Karen England, the Edgehill Herb Farmer.

Pink Lemonade Lemons are a variegated leaf and fruit sport of the Eureka lemon. The ripe fruit loses the distinct green variegation seen here and the flesh is tinged pink. Ripe Pink Lemonade lemons are much sweeter than a standard ripe Eureka lemon. The variegated leaves are fragrant and flavorful and can be used like Kaffir Lime leaves in a pinch.
Karen’s Famous Lemonade and even more Famous Froofy Water (Froofy Water recipe is in Karen’s contribution to the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year™️ book for 2019, Agastache; Anise Hyssop, Hummingbird Mints and More. Book available for sale here. ) being served at a Wedding reception.

Karen’s Famous Herbal Lemonade Recipe

– For every 5 lemons (Meyer, Pink Lemonade or Eureka . . . ) juiced, add the juice of 1 orange (Valencia, Navel or Blood . . . ); enough to get 1 quart of combined juice.

– Make 1 quart of Herbal Simple Syrup using equal parts organic sugar and water plus lots of the fresh or dried herb of your choice, by heating everything together in a saucepan to dissolve the sugar and infuse the herbs into the syrup. Cool the syrup before straining away and discarding the herbs. I generally use Lavender and Scented Geraniums but mints, roses, and lemon herbs like Lemon Verbena and Lemongrass or Kaffir Lime Leaves all make delicious herbal simple syrups.

– 1 quart filtered water. (Why filtered water? Tap water has additives, chlorine, etc. and naturally occurring salts and minerals all of which can and do affect flavors. Did you know Starbucks triple filters the water at all their locations the world over? This is so as to have a consistent product at every store, that is unaffected by the local water, good or bad. Be like Starbucks, use filtered water when dealing with herbs so that the herbal flavors shine through and do so consistently.)

– Lots of ice. And, I mean lots! (If you don’t use lots and lots of ice that melts and dilutes the lemonade further, then add another quart of filtered water.)

– Large jug with ladle.

– Garnish the jug with lots of lemon and orange slices, more of the fresh herb/flowers used to make the syrup and fresh or frozen berries (optional).

– Combine the 1 quart juice, 1 quart simple syrup and 1 quart water in the jug with the all the garnish and lots and lots of ice.

– Serve with abandon (. . . and, when applicable, gin!)

I make my famous lemonade when I give presentations to serve to listeners that is infused with the herbal flavors that I am speaking about or in support of good causes like fundraisers or events such as this one that supports the Memorial Grove that the Vista Garden Club maintains and preserves in Brengle Terrace Park, Vista, CA.


Lavender Lemonade anyone? Get your lemonade here! 🎉


My borrowed grandson Mason draws my cat, Whiskey Kitty, a lot. Here she is as “Heatwave Whiskey”, looking fine and staying cool with a glass of none other than, “Karen’s Famous Lemonade” during the latest hot spell!

I’ve written about my Pink Lemonade Lemon tree a lot over the years here’s one such post My Pink Lemonade Lemon Cake.

From right to left, I grow Mexican Limes but that’s a lime from the grocery store, I grow Kaffir Limes, Pink Lemonade Lemons (that is a unripe fruit next to a ripe one), and Meyer Lemons. The lemon on the end left is a Eureka Lemon from the grocery store. Not shown, I grow Blood Oranges, Valencia Oranges, Pink Grapefruits, tangerines, Kumquats, Limequats, Yuzu, Bergamont, and, new this year, Australian Finger Limes, supposedly the “caviar of citrus”. We shall see . . .
Showing off different citrus for guests.
Mint Meyer Lemon Lemonade for a special destination wedding party. “This Must Be The Place!”

Nov. 30th, 2022 is the 2,191st consecutive, yes! CONSECUTIVE! Crazy, right? #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty post.


By Karen England, the Edgehill Herb Farmer.

Where has the time gone? Update!

It’s been yet another year! So, I’ve once again edited the one year anniversary post to say “Wow – the #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty is turning six years old!” And am reposting it.

We here at edgehillherbfarm.blog are going to celebrate!


The “we” here that I’m referring to are;

  • myself, Karen,
  • my cat, Whiskey,
  • my dogs, Derby and Devon
  • my hens
  • my duck, Marj(oram)
  • My bunny, Sprinkles
  • Roger, the marimo ball
  • and my Mom!

~ not with prizes this year but just with a big hurrah, meow, woof, cluck, quack etc., from us all this time.

For those new to me, us, this –

Here’s an explanation . . .

On November 30th, 2021 I will have posted a photo of my cat, Whiskey, on Instagram everyday for five entire years. That’s 1826 days in a row (leap year included). I never intended to do this actually everyday for two years, or three years, let alone one year, but gosh, darn it, I have!


When this exercise started years ago it was to appease my family who, unbeknownst to me, worried about me if I didn’t post something on Facebook every day. If I was doing well, and as a fairly recent widow, I was rarely doing well, but if I was faring well, I would go about my life and my day and not post anything on social media unless there was something worthy of posting, thinking this was me being “healthy”. I was unaware that my beloved family and friends were carefully watching and reading my posts from afar to gauge how I was doing. If I didn’t post something for a while they panicked and thought I was in trouble. I probably was, but that’s beside the point in this instance. I figured out this was happening after finally asking people why they were all of a sudden worried and checking up on me in droves. Once I caught on, I thought, “I know, [I’ll fix their wagon! Not my finest hour.] I’ll post a photo of my cat everyday on Instagram and share it to Twitter and Facebook, and even if I’m not doing well, my family will be happy.”

The 365th IG #dsowk post was actually a throwback to the very 1st post & since it fell on a Thursday – perfect #tbt!

And so was born the #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty

My 4 month old rescue kitten settling in to her new home.

Who knew such a small thing, done for crazy reasons, could in such a short amount of time change my life so much for the better? Not me! I just thought it was a kindness to wonderful, lovely people who needed to go worry about other things besides me for a while.

Whiskey was named ‘Monica’ at the rescue when I picked her out of a room chockfull of adorable kittens. I had gone to the rescue to get a kitten and went in the door thinking I’d name whatever cat that I picked out ‘Kirby’ (long story for another day). Well, Whiskey did not look like a Monica or a Kirby and, so, I named her Whiskey. True Story. Shortened.

And, what a difference it has made. Five years ago I had less 200 friends on Twitter, less than 400 followers on Instagram and barely 1000 friends on Facebook. I was trying to find work that would allow me to care for my aging mother who lived at home with me at the time (she lived for a time in a nursing home, but she’s back.) Not an easy feat for an aging single gal like myself re-entering, after 25 years away from traditional employment, a modern work force. At the time I posted on social media inconsistently and haphazardly at best and just for personal pleasure. But five years ago I decided to post daily with intention and to share more than just my grieving out loud story but to also share the whole of my story; my green garden story, my flavorful kitchen story, my fragrant mixology story, my furry animals story, my big dreams story, my fun memories story, my sweet love story, my cosy home story, my only child/big family story and more . . .

The (first) year of the #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty showed me that I can be disciplined about posting, writing and working from home. That I can take good photos and tell engaging stories with them. That folks really like my work. It has made me hundreds of new friends and turned my kitty into a little cat star. It has shown my family that I am getting better and I am doing better. For real. In fact, now, if I don’t post a photo of my cat early enough in the morning my family and friends squawk and worry . . .  so, I’ve learned they will worry about me no matter what I do to alleviate their concerns and frankly I love them for it and wouldn’t have it any other way.


I made my dogs dress up in silly costumes one year to celebrate – that year they got treats!


That’s all for now!

Thanks for everything everyone! We here at Edgehill Herb Farm are looking forward to what the next 365 days will bring and sharing it with all of you.

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