Pictures of the Versatile Ginger Plant Gracing our Backyard
The versatile and tropical perennial ginger plant had been one of my mother's favorites for use in landscaping while living in the South.
When we both sold our homes and found the house that my husband, mother and I would share, the garden needed a little bit of reworking.
When choices were being made at the nursery as to the type of plants to purchase, my mother expressed an interest in having some ginger planted in the backyard. We happily obliged.
My mother had ginger planted at the house she had sold and it added greatly to the tropical look that surrounded her pool. The ginger was intermingled with banana plants, crotons, ferns, azaleas, and other plants all of which I had planted for her.
Uses in Landscaping
You see, I serve as the landscape planner and execute most of the work by the sweat of my brow. I have always enjoyed puttering around and working in the yard.
In our backyard we are surrounded by a 6 foot wooden fence as are all the neighbors in this subdivision. It would not be particularly pretty to look at a wooden fence, so we have always planted shrubbery and other plants against the fencing to soften the look.
As we gaze out of the windows in our kitchen and everyday eating area the ginger plants against the fence have now grown to around 5 feet tall and they are covered with blooms this year.
Some ginger in our neighbors yard up against a corner of our mutual fencing is peaking over her fence and is visible offering a view of her draping ginger blossoms. Her plants must be 7 1/2 feet tall in that area.
We have the variegated variety of ginger with the yellow striations of color in the green leaves. I must admit, now that the plants have gotten taller and can be seen from the house, it is a pretty and colorful addition to what had been already planted against the fencing.
In my mother's last home she had both the solid green leaves and the variegated variety of ginger leafed plants.
In Houston we have a semi-tropical climate and things grow very quickly in this humid environment. We seldom have severe freezes and even when we do, the ginger comes back each year. After all danger of freezing weather has passed, I simply cut it back to a few inches above the ground if the foliage has been damaged and it quickly regrows.
Last year our winter was so mild that the ginger plants that have large oak trees offering a degree of shelter from above were never touched...thus their current height.
Medicinal Uses of Ginger
This is a fascinating subject. The ginger roots or rhizomes to be correct have been utilized by people for centuries in medicinal applications.
Here is just a sampling of how ginger has and is still being used.
- For inflammatory diseases such as arthritis
- Nausea control
- Motion Sickness
- Anti-Cancer activity
- Mild stomach upset
- Heart conditions
- Lowering cholesterol
Some of these and other uses of ginger have been studied by various medical centers and there appears to be some validity to at least some of these claims.
Be sure and check with your doctor and inquire about any contraindications with medications you may be taking before you start using herbal treatments.
Cooking with Ginger
Ginger has been used to spice up many different types of cooking throughout the centuries. It crosses cultural barriers and everything from spicy and sweet to savory dishes are enhanced by using ginger as an ingredient.
I am going to share a cookie recipe with you that has been a favorite in our family for many years.
Although ginger is not the prime ingredient, the cookie would not be the same without it.
My mother gave me this recipe along with some other favorites after I got married.
Molasses Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
(Additional granulated sugar)
Melt shortening in a 3 or 4 quart saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and let cool. Add the sugar, molasses and egg beating well. Sift together the flour, soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and salt adding it to the first mixture. Mix well and chill.
Form into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Delicious! These are my husband's favorite cookies!
Molasses Sugar Cookies
Versatility of Ginger Plants
This should give you an idea of the great versatility of the ginger plant from its use in landscaping to medicinal uses and also its wide application in various cooking methods.
I think that I'll go and brew a cup of tea and have one of those molasses sugar cookies that I had in the freezer and used for the photo above.
Tip: These cookies freeze beautifully!
Many a gingerbread house is made during the Christmas season and/or gingerbread men cookies. Have you ever used ginger in making either one of these?
Now for some fun!
Do you use ginger in your cooking and/or baking?
© 2009 Peggy Woods