A Garden for Everyone

Recently my husband and I took a mini vacation and stopped at the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, Oregon. We were pleasantly surprised by all that this beautiful 80-acre garden has to offer. In addition to welcoming you, your well-behaved dog is also allowed in The Gardens. Dogs must be on a leash and, of course, you are asked to pick up after your pet. The pet friendly garden provides information on plants that are toxic to pets as well as non-toxic plants. The Gardens has over 30 themed areas that will appeal to everyone, from the conifer garden, the rose garden, the wetlands, the pet garden and a special garden just for children. All of the plants and trees are labeled with their common and scientific names. We really enjoyed the 30 minute tram ride, which runs April through October and is included in the price of admission to the garden. The knowledgeable tram driver makes six stops around the perimeter of the garden to give you an overview of what each garden features.

You can then pick which gardens you wish to visit. The water garden was constructed in a circle with paths and bridges, so no matter where you look you see many different varieties of water plants and the water lilies are stunning. See if you can find the floating willow arbor. The green feature of this garden is the control of algae. This is done by using logs of barley straw wrapped in coconut fiber netting, which is completely natural and safe for the environment. The nine-year-old conifer garden is just spectacular. So, what is a conifer? A conifer is a cone bearing tree or shrub. The gardens has one of the largest collections of dwarf and miniature conifers in the United States. These trees and shrubs have been collected from around the world. The children’s garden is a delight for young and old alike. The hobbit house with the roof covered in grass and flowers, is great for children to walk through. Throughout the garden you will find a many animal topiaries, a ‘Dinosaur Dig,’ clay pot people, a train garden and a newly constructed tree house.

No garden is complete with out a fountain or two. At the top of the Axis garden is the Axis fountain that is made of Montana stone with a cascading water fall. Take time to sit in the garden and look out over the Willamette Valley and the peaceful gardens. There is also a great 25-acre native oak grove with a giant Signature Oak that stands 100 feet and is 400 years old. There is also a White Oak that is estimated to be about the same age. Strolling through these trees is very relaxing and I wondered what the landscape was like 400 years ago when the White Oak first took root. One of The Gardens’ green projects is the wetlands and they are working with the City of Silverton and to use treated water in this habitat. Approximately 700,000 gallons of water enter the wetlands everyday. The treated water flows through 17 terraced ponds and water falls that hold wetland plants. This lowers the temperature of the water and removes excess nutrients. Then this water flows into the irrigation system to irrigate The Gardens. This area is used in the education program. Check with the The Gardens for more information on the educational programs that are offered throughout the year. The Oregon Garden Resort sits at the top of hill and looks out over the garden. You could spend a romantic weekend or stop in for lunch before finishing your tour of The Gardens. 503-874-8100 – www.oregongarden.org.

Fun with Flavored Oils & Vinegar


Imagine your favorite flavors captured in oil or vinegar. Flavored oils are a little more time consuming to make and you must be very careful to store your oils correctly to prevent bacteria. Flavored vinegars add a wonderful flavor to salads, marinades and sauces. Things you will need. A glass container that is free of cracks or nicks that can be sealed with a lid, cap or cork. Let’s think of fun bottles to store your flavored vinegar or oil in. If you have the time and enjoy looking at thrift stores you can find some inexpensive bottles with great character.

If they don’t have a lid you can purchase corks at your local hardware store. Wash and rinse your container thoroughly and then sterilize by placing the container(s) in a pan of hot water and simmering for 10 minutes. Once the containers are sterilized, remove from the water and place on a paper towel to dry. Place the container so the water will drain out. A Chop Stick – This will help with arrangement of items in your bottle Plastic Funnel Plastic Utensils and Bowls Coffee Filters – Used to strain your oil or vinegar Cheese Cloth – Can also be used to strain your oil or vinegar Candy Thermometer Oil: Good quality olive oil or vegetable oil. Vinegar: Distilled-White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Wine Vinegars and Rice Vinegar. Be careful when using wine and rice vinegars they may contain proteins that cause bacterial growth in vinegar.

To be safe always use commercial grade vinegars. Look for vinegars with at least 5 percent acidity. Herbs: If you enjoy gardening you can grow your own herbs. Try growing some of the following herbs: basil, chervil, chives, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, onion, savory, tarragon or thyme. Flowers: Don’t forget flowers they are also a great source of flavor and color. You might try lavender, nasturtiums, fennel, marigold and violet. Be careful to choose flowers that are not poisonous. The internet has charts of flowers and their flavors as well as if the flower is edible.

Resource for editable flowers: http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm
Spices: Juniper berries, bay leaves, allspice, cloves, coriander seed, cumin seed, peppercorns (all types). You can also use lemon zest, sliced lemons, dried tomatoes, chili peppers, green onions, garlic gloves and many other things. The possibilities are endless. Now the Fun Begins! Vinegar Preparation Heat vinegar to just below boiling (190 F) Sanitize: To sanitize your fresh ingredients dip the fresh herbs in a sanitizing bleach solution of 1 teaspoon household bleach per 6 cups of water, rinse thoroughly under cold water, and pat dry.

For best results, use only the best leaves and flowers. Allow three to four sprigs of fresh herbs or 3 tablespoons dried herbs per pint of vinegar. Select your container and place the spices, herbs and flowers in your container. You can be as creative as you wish. You can use a wooden chop stick to move items around in your container. Pour your heated vinegar into your bottle using a funnel. Let your container stand for three to four weeks for the flavor to develop fully. Using a damp cheesecloth or coffee filter one or more times until the vinegar is no longer cloudy. Throw away all fruit, vegetables or herbs. Pour the strained vinegar into a clean sterilized jar. Seal your container tightly.

Flavor retention is best if you store in a refrigerator. Try these combinations for different flavors; Rosemary; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Tarragon and Garlic; Dill, Garlic and dried red peppers; Basil, Garlic, and dried red peppers; Opal Basil with white wine vinegar turns it pink; Pineapple Sage blossoms with white wine vinegar turns it reddish; Pineapple Sage, ginger, cranberries, and garlic; Pineapple Sage, spearmint, and lemon thyme & Lemon thyme and sage. Recipe: Mint Vinegar: 1 quart distilled white vinegar Fresh mint Fill quart jar with fresh mint leaves. Crushing some of the leaves will add flavor. Fill jar with vinegar. Cover and store in a cool place for 2 weeks.

Strain and rebottle. If you wish you can substitute basil for the mint. Receipes are taken from Ortho Book All about Pickling. Garlic Vinegar: 2 ounces garlic cloves, peeled and minced or crushed 2 teaspoons of salt 1 quart distilled white vinegar Combine ingredients in a bottle and store in a cool place for 4 weeks. Shake up periodically. Strain and rebottle. Recipes are taken from the Ortho Book “All About Pickling.” Oil Preparation It’s important to remember the safety rules for working with fresh vegetables and herbs in oil. The low-acid foods can be a source of clostridium botulinum bacteria, which is found in soil, water and air. When creating these flavorful oils we are creating an oxygen-free environment which is perfect for the growth of the bacteria. So store you oils correctly and always mark the expiration date on the bottle. When storing oils with vegetables and herbs you only have a three week shelf life and they must be stored in a refrigerator.

Note: dried garlic and/or herbs can be stored at room temperature, however storing in a refrigerator may delay rancidity. You may also freeze your flavored oil, this safely adds to the shelf life of the oil. Herbs with fresh Vegetables in Oil Decide how you want to use your flavored oil before you begin. This will help with your choice of fresh vegetables and herbs. Place your choice of crushed vegetables and herbs in a sterilized container. Add oil and store in the refrigerator. Remember when using fresh ingredients make sure to place a label on you container with the expiration date. Keep no longer than three weeks. Hot Oil Infusion Method Combine low-acid foods, herbs, fresh garlic or chilies and oil, heat mixture until a few bubbles rise from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 2 hours. The temperature should be around 170°F. If the oil gets too hot the oil may taste bitter. Use a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature. Now strain the oil using coffee filters or two or three layers of cheese cloth. Let the mixture cool. Strain again and place in a sterilized container. This oil can be sorted at room temperature indefinitely. Quality of your oil will be better if you store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

Naturopathic Health Warrants Change in Lifestyle


A local naturopathic health care provider is helping his patients to get back to the basics, unlocking the secrets to health and vitality through a few simple changes in diet and lifestyle. Joshua Phillips, ND, a naturopathic physician at Healing Heart Natural Health Center on Greenwood Avenue in Bend, recently conducted a four-week Health Empowerment Program. The goal of the class was to teach participants how to create a healthy and vital digestive, nervous and circulatory system.

The class taught participants about their health and well-being from a naturopathic perspective rather than a conventional approach. Dr. Phillips says one of the differences between the two is that the goal of naturopathic medicine is to treat the underlying causes of the patient’s problem rather than managing symptoms. What we experience as symptoms, he says, may be the expression of a more fundamental imbalance.

“Illness is usually the right thing for the body to do, not a mistake, when given a certain set of circumstances,” Dr. Phillips said. “Getting sick is often the body’s attempt at getting better. Almost all illness provides us with opportunities for growth and healing, and a greater understanding of ourselves. Because of the body’s tremendous self healing capacity, all we have to do is provide circumstances that are consistent with health and healing.”

To illustrate this philosophy more clearly, Phillips describes the body as a crystal-clear mountain stream running through a forest, a metaphor for a healthy digestive, circulatory and nervous system. But if some trees should fall over the stream, blocking the flow, the water will start to pool and turn into a stagnant pond where germs and mosquitoes can breed. A conventional approach to this problem might be to employ drugs to kill the “bugs,” while ignoring the unhealthy terrain that allowed for this illness to develop in the first place.

By working instead to create a healthy biological terrain, and re-establish the flow of the “stream” the body will no longer be an environment that is conducive to illness. One of the focal points of Dr. Phillips’ health empowerment program is the anti-inflammatory diet, which along with some dietary supplements, advocates plenty of fresh vegetables and quality protein sources, while restricting sugars, red meat, dairy and carbs and eliminating certain acidic foods such as tomatoes. The basic idea behind the diet is that if inflammation and function of the digestive system can be improved upon, overall health and well-being will improve also. The anti-inflammatory diet has been credited with countless health benefits, from weight loss and improved energy levels to lessened effects of arthritis and allergies.

Dr. Phillips said he’s seen the concept of the anti-inflammatory diet work wonders, improving the behavior of a young child who was acting out severely in school with dietary changes. One of the class participants, a resident of Bend, said she’d felt the effects of the diet change for herself. “I kind of altered it to my lifestyle,” she said. “It’s made a big difference in my energy and just how I feel.”

She said one of the things she took from the class was a simple lesson: that even if she doesn’t stick to the anti-inflammatory plan 100 percent of the time, she’ll benefit from eating more of the right foods and less of the wrong foods. “I do a lot of vegetables and fruit more than I used to,” she said, adding that she also bought a cookbook featuring anti-inflammatory recipes. “My eating habits are better.”

The improved diet has certainly been reflected in her overall health, she says, as she didn’t get sick at all this winter and her arthritis has been feeling better. “I do generally feel that the whole AI system is good for me,” she said. “I notice that if I eat a lot of bad food, my arthritis flares up more.”

Another class participant said he’s incorporated the principles of the anti-inflammatory diet into his lifestyle. “I’ve been more careful in my choice of food,” he said. “I’ve noticed increased energy, the ability to ‘go go go,’ in ways that I haven’t for some years. Overall, it’s a rejuvenating feeling.” He has also taken Dr. Phillips’ Music is Medicine course, and as a lifelong drummer he’s been excited to see the effects the AI diet and the power of music on his overall health.

“The combination is stunning,” he said. “I’m really excited about taking more of Josh’s classes.” Healing Heart NHC is a primary care holistic family clinic run by Dr. Phillips and his wife, Chelsea Phillips, LAc (licensed acupuncturist). The two offer a team approach to healthcare, specializing in family and pediatric care, fertility enhancement, pregnancy support, labor and birth support, vaccination consultations/alternatives, and family wellness and education. 20 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend. www.bendhealingheart.com, 541-330-0334

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