Hi, I’m Sarah Jay!
I grew up in my family’s gardens in Long Island and near Houston, Texas. I moved north from Houston for college at the University of North Texas where I earned my Bachelor’s in English Literature and Master’s in Applied Anthropology. It was during my time at college that I began studying plant medicines.
Moving from the Gulf Coast to North Texas was a bit of a soil shock but working within these limitations has helped sculpt me into the gardener I am today. I spend a lot of time researching soil, native/adapted plants, and ecological systems that make up our world. My goal in life is to empower readers of gardening and herbal publications to grow gracefully, practically, and efficiently so they can achieve desired results in their gardens.
Currently, I’m focused on herbal medicines and permaculture. This past year I’ve conducted experiments with sheet mulching, Hügelkultur, and varying forms of companion planting. I enjoy building pollinator corridors and growing wildflowers in my yard. I spend time on the prairie and hope to have an opportunity in the future to protect the prairie by identifying plants and installing native grasses. When I’m not immersed in the bounty of the earth, I’m making music, practicing Kung-fu, and studying various religions.
Q: What is your favorite plant?
A: This is a hard question. There are so many good ones! I have fallen in love with Artemesia aborescens, Powis Castle recently. It’s a wormwood adapted to North Texas. Not only does a light tea have health benefits, it’s an excellent herb for pest control in the garden. And the silvery leaves are so lovely. But the thujone compound in Powis Castle can be toxic with consistent consumption. It’s because of this have to keep my wormwood teatime to once per month.
Q: What is your “spirit vegetable”?
A: This one is easier. I love (LOVE) hardy greens – specifically collard greens. Any variety. They are easy to grow and maintain and they are packed with nutrition. If I could eat greens at every meal, I certainly would.
Q: What’s the most unusual plant you’ve grown?
A: Currently I’m growing a moonflower variety that is native to North Texas. Its common name is Jimson Weed. This plant is highly toxic, and should not be ingested by humans, but it is great for attracting night pollinators. Bats, moths, beetles… they all love this stuff. So, it has been a great ally for full-spectrum pollination.