Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sorry for the silence!

Hi everyone!
Wow! It has been a wacky time here at Winterberry Farm Primitives! Lots of tag sales and flea markets are popping up - and we have to go to as many of them as possible! Check out my picturetrail site to see some of the great things I have found in my travels. There will be another announced update here at the "Farm" during the second week of October and the door prize will be a vintage item that I found at a tag sale! I have found some great older Santas from some local artists, including some older 'pinecone' Santas. They are about 25 years old and were made using the instructions from the December 1868 Godey's Lady's Book patterns. Four other Santas that I found are on the website now in the September update album ( They are also older Santas from the late '80s and three of them are hand-poured resin copies of original designs by Jack Hughes. They were poured, painted and antiqued by the artist and his wife.
The date and time of the October announced update will, of course, be sent to the update/email list first and then later announced on the picturetrail site ( This time we will be trying something a little different with the announcement....but more on that later! So, remember to send me your email address, if you are not already on the list, to make sure you have a chance at the door prize!
Anyway, on to other things! I have been working hard on the master bath mural when other things don't interfere and I hope to have some pictures soon! As for the main reason for my silence - as you know if you have read my profile, I am a PhD student at the University of Delaware and the last couple of weeks have been very busy! I am working with a native medicinal plant called Actaea racemosa - Black Cohosh is it's common name - and it has long been thought to be a great supplement for women to use during menopause. The jury is still out on its effectiveness in this area but a specific compound found in its rhizomes is now being studied as a possible drug to combat breast and prostate cancer. Sad to say, the only way to acquire this compound is to destroy the entire plant for its rhizome (an underground stem) and this is decimating the native populations. It is now considered endangered in Illinois and Massachusetts! So...I am trying to develop a commercial system in which the plants can be grown under greenhouse conditions AND find a clonal plant that has the greatest amount of compound in the rhizome. Whew! Well, within the last couple of weeks - I have had a breakthrough! and I am hard at work expounding on this find and making sure that generations of these plants can be grown only in a greenhouse and still have the optimum amount of compound necessary to make this a viable alternative to wild-collecting of the plant. So...needless to say! I have been busy! Things are settling down now as I develop new experiments and get moving on the next step. Please bear with me as I work to get this project back on track so I can start posting again!!!


  1. What wonderful work you are doing! Please keep uu updated!!

  2. I used black cohosh for several years to get through menopause and it really does work. My sister is using it now (she's quite a lot younger) and she agrees it's a wonderful herb. Lucy