Tuesday, December 11, 2007



With blossoms scheduled to appear annually on May 8 -- the feast of St. Michael the Archangel - angelica is said to possess mystical powers against disease and evil.

In old-world Latvia, peasants would march into town with armloads of the fragrant herb and suddenly burst into song in languages that no one - not even the singers - understood. Because it resembles celery in odor and appearance, angelica sometimes is known as wild celery. Culinary uses: While many parts of angelica have been used through the ages for culinary purposes, the herb has been identified as a suspected carcinogen in recent years. Other uses: Angelica's greatest gift to a garden is its appearance. The plant's large, pointed leaves and impressive height make it a standout among the other herbs in a bed. Planting : Cultivation: Angelica can grow to an imposing 5 to 8 feet, so it is impractical for container gardening. You can buy established plants or start angelica from seed. The seeds require light for germination: Do not cover them with soil. Angelica needs rich, moist, well-drained soil in partial shade. The plant will produce seeds only once, usually in its second or third year. If you cut the flowers back before they seed each summer, however, the plant will continue to grow for years to come.

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