Welcome to Giving Ground's 2014 season!

The birds are at the feeders: "whiskey jacks;" blue jays;
woodpeckers, both "downy" and "hairy"; chickadees; and
evening and pine grosbeaks with their tropical coloring.
None of us has seen flocks of purple finches, red polls,
pine siskins this winter. Wild rabbits move in under the bird
feeders at dusk, and I always leave several small piles of
sunflower seeds under the balsam boughs for them.

The consensus is that it has been "mighty cold," and we all
dress in layers like the Turkish baklava dessert of many
layers. There is a good depth of snow for small and large
creatures to burrow or nestle into, under evergreen branches.

We have had spectacular sun on snow crystals some days,
and with the ancients, we celebrate the slowly lengthening
days. There will be more harvests!

Egg-shaped snow sculptures sit among the top branchlets of balsam firs. They look like the exquisitely designed Easter eggs one could buy when I was a child. You could peer into the center from a side "window" to see a woodland scene framed by icing and lace.

One of my apprentice "alums" and I - this was her very sweet idea - designed and wrote an herbal calendar which we published last fall for family and friends. We may do a second one this summer.

This spring and summer we will be deliberately transplanting some "invasive" plants into the gardens. We have already established fuller's teasel here. In centuries past, the prickly seed-head was used in the wool trade by the fullers whose job it was to comb the debris out of wool before the spinning and weaving could begin. In England, the 1st year roots of this plant are a specific for Lyme disease sufferers.

We will try establishing Japanese knotweed this summer. It is also a powerful specific against the spirochetes of Lyme disease. The whole issue of "using invasive plants to treat invasive diseases" * is challenging: Old and new ground for thought and action.

* Invasive Plant Medicine - The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives, Timothy Lee Scott, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont 2010.

Come visit us! Gleaning herbs in the winter is a very exotic pursuit; we do not jack-hammer through frozen ground to find frozen herbaceous roots. We have much to choose from in the "winter garden" of the woods and thickets, just waiting to be walked or snowshoed up to, and harvested. And, of course, spring, summer and fall provide us with even more opportunities to discover the North Country's rich herbal resources.

See my 2014 Herbal Workshop Schedule


I am delighted that Fuller's Teasel is establishing itself
nicely in my wild garden. I deliberately bought seeds
from Richter's Nursery in Goodwood, Ontario, Canada,
three years ago, and set about nurturing them.
Teasel is a biennial, with the first year roots used for a
tincture to help treat people with Lyme disease. …
Thankfully, teasel is pretty prolific, or, as the military-
industrial-complex vocabulary would have it, "invasive."
Read "The 'Invasive' Plant Spin"

PIXS: See pictures of Giving Ground during our seasons.

See pictures of my trip to Scotland.


Northern European Fruit Soup

A Little of Africa: Sweet Potato Soup


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.

The 2014 schedule of weekend and week-day programs or workshops/retreats is up now. Feel free to phone me if there is a date or particular topic focus that you don't see there. Often I can accommodate different days/different topic focus in between the scheduled programs.

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