Geranium is an evergreen, bushy perennial herb and has light green round leaves with curvy edges and an apple aroma. White flowers with red veins appear in clusters, on trailing stems.
Lemon-scented geraniums (Pelargonium citriadora) are capable of absorbing and accumulating large amounts of heavy metals from soil. The plant can be an economical, effective and environmentally friendly method of remediating soils. Researchers are the University of Guelph, Ontario, performed greenhouse experiments on healthy lemon-scented geraniums, and the plants proved useful in removing heavy metals from test soils. When watered with various metal solutions, the geraniums were able to accumulate within two weeks up to 32,000 mg of cadmium, 18,700 mg of lead, 6,400 mg of nickel and 650 mg of copper in one kilogram dry weight of plant tissue. The plants exhibited no signs of toxicity or stress and appeared to be tolerant of a wide variety of toxic metals.
What to Look for:
Lemon geranium leaves are usually flatter, with edges more toothed than rose geraniums. They also bloom in June and July, often with pink flowers. Pelargonium crispum has one of the finest lemon scents. The leaves are small, fluted and ruffled, growing on upright stems. The flowers are orchid pink. Pelargonium crispum ‘Prince Rupert’ with its strong lemon scent can easily grow into a small shrub in a good growing season. Pelargonium fragrans ‘Nutmeg’ has a strong scent. It creeps, making it excellent at the edge of a border or in a planter allowed to trail down the sides. The leaves are small and grayish green.
How Mother Nature loves it:
The plant also requires a well distributed rainfall pattern to grow well – harsh tropical rains can destroy crops. The soil must also have good drainage or alternately, be given some irrigation in drier sites. Once sown in a suitable site, the chicory gives off deep roots in a relatively short period of time. Chicory cannot be grown on soils that are too wet for beans and small grains – soils that are not suitable for these plants will also not be suitable to grow the chicory. Proper root growth can be ensured by the application of lime or marl to acidic soils, this mineral addition will neutralize the acidity. The plant also grows best in areas with an annual rainfall range of 30 to 400 cm and an annual mean bio-temperature of 6° to 27°C. The leaves of the chicory can be used to prepare a delicious winter salad. In Europe, the main reason for the cultivation of the chicory is to get the edible leaves and for the roots – dried, roasted and powdered chicory root is made into a coffee substitute. Chicory comes in many named varieties – each variety has particular characteristics.
How to Enjoy it:
Lemon geranium botanical name, Melissa, is Greek for “bee.” This is probably why one of the common names is bee balm. That could also explain why so many bees are buzzing around my garden. Lemon Balm has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region for around 2000 years. Paracelus claimed that this herb could completely revitalize the body and called it the “elixir of life”-I wonder if that’s before or after he got into minerals? Fourteenth Century French King Charles V drank Lemon Balm tea every day to stay in good health.
Lemon geranium is anti-viral, so the tea is great to drink if you’re feeling under the weather. The hot tea brings on a sweat that is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers and an anti-viral agent has been found that combats mumps, cold sores and other viruses. James Duke mentions that Lemon Balm can help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Shingles, due to the anti-viral action.