Welcome to Giving Ground!

Welcome to the New Year! We hope you are warm and cozy,
maybe sipping tea or cocoa as the early evening daylight
wanes. Here the rabbits materialize under the bird feeders to
glean sunflower seeds that have dropped, everyone getting
ready for winter night-time.

Last May, as the icy snowplow berm was still receding in the
driveway turn-around here at Giving Ground, my daughter
Alex and I set off for a trip to Montreal and old Quebec City.
I wondered momentarily why we had planned to go north in
May with snow still in our yard. I'm sure Alex had misgivings
about paying good money to travel from cherry blossoms to
what might seem to her like late winter tundra!

We met in Montreal, spent several days and then traveled up
the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City and then on to
Île d'Orléans, a long, narrow strip of island in the St. Lawrence
River. I began to see anew what micro-climates are all about. Tulips bloomed lavishly all over Montreal and Quebec City, spilling out of park and government building gardens, and out of shop and apartment balcony tubs everywhere!

When we spent a day on Île d'Orléans, I could easily see a further refinement in micro-environments, having to do with the water surround, with the direction and slope of the land mass, possibly even with soils. All along the southeast (I think) slope of the island were blueberry and strawberry farms, plants all under row-cover, and, almost exclusively along the northwest slope were vineyards and fruit orchards, all further along into spring than we were in Northern Minnesota! Shopkeepers and cafe owners all said the tulips had only just burst open, and one could feel in the air and at the sidewalk eateries and all along the promenades, that atmosphere of school children having just been released - people outdoors everywhere eagerly tearing through that veil of winter into summer! See a  few pictures of our trip here.

Here at Giving Ground, we are offering a slightly different way of scheduling your visits. Instead of posting specific dates for topic offerings, we are listing seasonal themes/topics, and you choose first your topic focus, and then telephone us at 1-888-276-1336 or 1-218-848-2302, to negotiate dates, to register and to hold your place for specific dates, weekday or weekend, day-long or overnights.

We've done registrations this way much of the time all these years anyway, so it seems an easily workable routine to institute for Giving Ground and visitors alike!

We continue to experiment with a few threatened or endangered specimen plants here, (from cultivated stock of specialty nurseries) working at growing them at least as small exhibits, even if we don't harvest them. And we continue to re- introduce "weeds" of medicinal value. You may be able to take home seeds or rootstock or cuttings of these last if the time of year is right. Or maybe you have them right in your yard at home already!

We have a wolf on the home page this year, to remember the evening Cindy, who was an apprentice here and is now a full-fledged herbalist in her own right, and I stood on the little deck of the loft cottage at night and heard wolves howling and yipping startlingly close by! Cindy offered to put me up for the night, but then we got the idea I could sing my way loudly back along the short trail to the house, which I did. We think there must have been 2 or 3, or more wolves, and that they weren't farther away than the old cabin. But nothing and noone crossed my path. It could have been the singing.

See my 2015 Herbal Workshop Descriptions


Read Bug Repellents at Your Table?

Read Errands

PIXS: See pictures of Giving Ground during our seasons.

See pictures of my trip to Montreal and Quebec City.

See pictures of my trip to Scotland.


Delighting the Guests: Dill, Onion, Cheese Bread

Nasturtium-Cucumber Sandwiches

My Mother's Apple (or other fruit) Crisp (Martha Mattice)


Giving Ground continues to accept applications for Herbal Apprentices: Giving Ground still has openings for apprentices, (see below) and several people have expressed interest in beginning in the spring and going through the program into the autumn, finishing up at the first snow. I have several apprentices who, for various family reasons, have had to make a slower journey toward their herbal certification, not meeting here every month. That is an acceptable arrangement as well.


Giving Ground is open year round: Come join us for a day or an overnight or for a weekend retreat/workshop. If you are part of a garden club or herb society or study group, I offer single-day workshops with an herb walk and an herb luncheon. We do medicinal projects together that you take home with you whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced student. These are offered mainly in the spring, summer and autumn and the dates and topic focus are negotiable. Just telephone me to work out details at 1-218-848-2302.

Gift certificates are always available. Half-day at $50, full day at $85, weekend or equivalent time at $329. They make wonderful gifts. I still have open dates so tell your friend or family member that we can discuss the season, dates, and topic focus that will work best.

Herbal consultations: Guests often ask me what I would suggest for this or that health challenge. I try to do my best in recommending herbal alternatives to common pharmaceutical applications with the caveat that everyone should speak first with his or her primary care physician. I also continue to present Continuing Education credit-hour classes at the University of Minnesota at Duluth Student Health Center for the doctors, nurses, and counseling staff there. 

I hope you'll email me (info@givingground.com) with questions and your thoughts about the importance of herbal medicine in our lives.

HERBAL APPRENTICESHIPS CONTINUE AT GIVING GROUND: After a very successful year during which Giving Ground hosted several wonderful apprentices, I am extending an invitation to you to consider applying for a herbal apprenticeship in 2014. Read more ...

I continue to receive emails regarding medicinal herbs and the flu: I'd suggest boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) - this isn't the similar-sounding comfrey or "knit-bone." Boneset is a close relative of Joe Pyeweed or "Gravel Root"- both are eupatorium - NOTE: this is used only for healing a viral infection - not as a preventative - Boneset is hugely anti-viral and anti-bacterial and will also bring down a fever and check a cough, which (cough) seems to be a symptom on the news of H1N1. Read more ...

READ ABOUT GIVING GROUND'S VERY FAMOUS BOREAL FOREST TRIPLE ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT: Giving Ground's wild-herb Boreal Forest Triple Antibiotic Ointment (see my herbal store, this website), continues its journey to Africa and Central America. The University of Minnesota's Duluth health clinic has had …. Read more

VISIT OUR NEW HERBAL REMEDIES STORE: Giving Ground's Herbal Remedies


Send an email to info@givingground.com and we'll put you on our list. We'll be happy to  send it to you as an email or by "snail" mail. Let us know how you want to receive it.

Have a Giving Ground Wild-Herb Adventure and learn to think
like an herbalist!

Giving Ground is an 80-acre forested herbal retreat in the Superior National Forest, 60 miles north of Duluth, Minnesota.  At Giving Ground you'll learn to identify, choose and prepare medicinal plants for yourself, your family and friends.

You'll feel, taste and learn about the therapeutic properties of herbs that not only grow in America's great boreal forest but often in your own backyard.

For thousands of years, people the world over have used wild herbs as food, medicine and cosmetics. The native peoples of the boreal forest, and the immigrant homesteaders after them, had to learn what the stony, stubborn lands provided for food and medicine.

Our forests offer us a wealth of hardy plants and trees. Compounds from their roots, leaves, flowers and berries have been used for centuries to nourish, support, comfort and heal.

Today, knowing about wild herbs and how they can help us is especially important; we are all concerned about the safety of the drugs we take, the food we eat and the cosmetics we use. Every day at Giving Ground we field questions about which herbs can help promote healing, maintain wellness, improve the food we eat and enhance our skin as we mature.

Our website offers information about Giving Ground's year-round workshops, our all-natural herbal remedies and what we've been thinking lately about herbs and life. We hope you'll stop by often:

Welcome to Giving Ground


Phone: 218.848.2302
Toll Free: 888.276.1336




Giving Ground
Superior National Forest
1223 Little Creek Road
Brimson, MN 55602

Join us for a wild medicinal herb workshop, find all-natural herbal products and learn about life in America's Great Boreal Forest

The Faery Prince of Giving Ground