Friday, July 31, 2009

Sweet Scented Sleeeeeep

This is part of yet another BLOG PARTY on SWEET Medicines hosted by Kiva Rose this month at Check in and read them ALL!

(lemon verbena)

I'm not sure when the notion occured to me to scent my very sleeping moments, but I do recall being challenged, back in the early 80's, while writing a nursery catalog that there might not BE such a thing as 'mattress herbs'.
Au contraire, I say there most definitely ARE.

Lying down in your bed and being SURROUNDED by the sweet scents of your favorite herbs and flowers. Every movement releases another caress. Snuggling down in a cloud of Lavender, or Sweet Woodruff or ....oh yes, Lemon Verbena......absolutely enchanting.

Very easy. NO essential oils required.

One merely strips said bed.

One sprinkles the FRESH leaves upon said mattress and returns the bottom sheet...the top sheet....the fluffy, snuggly comforter.

And the delight WAITS....

It's really quite enchanting.

Now, of course, after awhile, the dried herbs turns to flakes and pretty much need to be vacuumed off the mattress, but then you can apply NEW ones!
So yes indeed, Sweet Woodruff is divine, fragrant Rose Petals a true classic and Lemon Verbena is utterly delicious. Scented Geranium leaves are fabulous, Sage leaves are wondrous, and try CLARY SAGE flowers (actually it's the calyces that are MOST fragrant). It is to SWOON it is, it is.

(clary sage calyces)

Now, there are a few choices that, while they are FRAGRANT, might not be EXACTLY what you're looking for, as I found out when I joyously festooned the mattress with fresh BASIL leaves. The gentleman at my side lay down, looked at the ceiling, knitted his eyebrows and announced that THIS was like sleeping in a pizzeria.....We didn't try THAT one again! I'll pass on the Oregano too, but might definitely try Marjoram...mmmmm.
Lavender flowers need to be stripped from the stems to avoid pokey crunchiness. (none too delightful)

So there are myriad ways to embrace the SWEETNESS of what the wondrous herbs have to offer might just want to SLEEP on it!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Teasels RISING

Many of us discover a plant and go LOOKING for 'what it's GOOD for'. I came to know Teasel the other way around. I met it first in a dropper bottle, when I was as broken, sick, miserable and about as despondent a creature as ever HELD a dropper bottle and I HOPED what was inside it would WORK.

It did.

Eight cases of Lyme Disease over 15 years of my life were finally, finally OVER.

Fast forward a bunch of years where I arrive in Oregon, having left my entire life behind on the East Coast. It took me 10 hours to get across the country without my car and without my STUFF. After greeting my two grandsons, I announce I need to catch a nap before dinner and don't wake up 'til breakfast.

But when I DID wake up.....and looked out the window.....there it was.

In NYState I'd only seen them on the sides of the Thruway, and there was a clump of Teasel right there in the yard.

I've been here over 3 1/2 years now and my love affair with this plant just goes on and on.

Right now, they're RISING. Reaching those flowers to the bright blue Oregon sky, catching water in the holy water fonts around their stems, chatting with the dried seed heads of last year that the goldfinches are STILL feeding from, and seedlings are STILL germinating here and there in the garden. Just amazing.

Both winter and spring I watch the infant seedlings germinate right in the seed head as the mother plant bends so slowly and tenderly to deposit her babies on the moist ground and give herself to their growing.

But yes, right now....they're RISING. They make a visual sound as they reach.

Any day now the flower heads will burst into color, blooming in rings that go both ways up and down the head and beckon the bees who will joyously ROLL in the tiny florets, feeling none of the prickly spines that protect and decorate this massive plant from ground to top.

Except for one part. There is ONE place that you can stroke a Teasel plant and not be scratched. Much like a cat, it is the tip of their 'ears'.

Last year, I let a huge stand STAND in the very center of the vegetable garden. They may be massive weeds to MOST folks, but to me they're sacred cows. Here and there I've let one RISE to full bloom, and yet there are large, floozy rosettes in other parts of the gardenwho have NO intention of blooming this year which have the perfect roots for tincturing. Once a plant has so much as initiated a flower stalk, the root has no medicine to offer us. When it gets it into its being to BLOOM, that's where ALL the energy goes. It has its sights on seed producing.

This year I've planted some nasturtiums at their feet along the fence so they can all dance together and REALLY amuse the hummingbirds.

But soon, perhaps this week, the thistly-looking heads will bloom in rings.

This year, I'll make flower essences.

This year, I'll photograph them again and again as I do every year, because they just continue to amaze and enchant me.

And I never forget that they saved my life.....I have a WEED to thank.
This post is part of an herbal Blog Party sponsored by Darcey Blue of Gaia's Gifts. Read all the other great posts on Weeds of Summer that We Love (that other folks seem to hate!)