Monday, 4 April 2011

Farewell Winter ~ Hello Spring ~ and....

.....words about some of my experience with herbs ~

Starlings have flown off ~ with our Winter 

and Spring has arrived in our garden

 Rowan  ~ a little sapling I planted last year. It brings to our home
protection against enchantment, protection of ley-lines, highest pure
magic, healing and success.
Incenses made from the ground-up leaves and berries help to dispel
negative energies. I shall be trying that this year. The smoke from its fire
was used by the Druids to call up spirit guides and magical spirits.
Its bark and berries give a black dye
most important of all
song birds adore its fruit.

Blackthorn blossom in the hedge at the bottom of our garden
~ where the faeries live.
As well as providing berries for making sloe vodka or gin, it
brings to our home a powerful means of cleansing and the purification
of any negative attitudes we may carry within us, working deeply
on the psyche and allowing us to be free to create.
(It grows just a few steps from the doors of my studio,
so I'm relying on it to live up to its promise).

Birch ~ a little sapling I planted two years ago.
She is slowly gaining in strength and height.
She brings to our home a means of purification, cleansing
old stagnant habits and allowing a flow of new ideas.
I love that here in Wales, it was customary for a young 
man to present a birch garland to the womon he loved,
and she would give him one in return if she felt the same way.
The young leaves are effective in healing any urinary complaints, 
and giving relief from rheumatism and gout.
The bark of the birch is so beautiful, though our little one has
many years to go before we may use hers. It is like paper, and
its magical parchment was used to write on from ancient times.
Always ask permission whenever you wish to use any part of
 a tree (or any plant); and show respect to all trees, as
this 'Lady of the Woods' gets very angry if they are abused
and may whip you with her slender branches! 

Rosemary blossom ~ just outside our front door. 
 Its symbolism brings to our home love and loyalty, friendship and
remembrance. It is well known for its ability to strengthen the memory,
and is considered a wonderful tonic for the heart, brain and nervous
system as well as being useful in strengthening the immune system.
I have used it in its essential oil form for many years to help clients
with sore, tense muscles, arthritis and rheumatism, though never on
someone with high blood pressure (hypertension) due to its hypertensive
actions. Conversely, the herb as an infusion, is used to control a
headache brought on by....hypertension! The essential oil of any plant is 
a powerful powerhouse in a bottle and much more concentrated than the 
fresh or dried herb.
Recently, builders were working on the outside of our house and they
were not careful with our rosemary bush, breaking off several branches.
Of course I was upset that people are so uncaring and disrespectful of
growing fact I growled...I'm good at growling, but the damage
was done, so I added sprigs of sage and made smudge bundles from them.

The smoke has cleansed and warmed us through the cold month of
February and continues to uplift and cheer as the warmer weather
comes to visit.
Lesser Celendine leaves (not in our garden ~ yet)

This is the very first herb I wildcrafted, way back when I was nine or ten
years old. There is a story attached to it -

A wise farmer's wife who lived near where I grew up was visited by
a Romany lady selling pegs and lace. Mrs T. had no need of these
items, but wondered if the lady knew of any herbs that would get rid
of haemorrhoids. The lady duly went off, and came back with a
clump of roots that had a little of the shape of haemorrhoids to them 
(think Doctrine of Signatures here). Mrs T. was instructed to wash
the roots, and eat them raw in a sandwich once a day.

When the lady had been thanked and paid and gone on her way,
Mrs T. thought she would like to know for herself where this plant
had been found. She walked in the direction she had seen the lady
go and kept looking for disturbed earth. On finding it, she identified
the Lesser Celendine (Ranunculus ficaria) for future use, in case of
haemorrhoids.....which came in useful for my father when he suffered
this painful condition. He knew I was familiar with the wild plants that
grew in our fields and the bordering woods, so I visited with Mrs T.
for her to show me what to pick, and from then on, every Spring, I
would go and dig roots of this plant for my father to put in a sandwich.

Years on, I found out that it is not recommended to eat the roots raw!!
It has never harmed my father, who is still fit and well at, soon to be 79
but I would not recommend anyone to take them without first checking with
a qualified medicinal herbalist.

Reference source for trees: 'A Tree In Your Pocket' by Jacqueline Memory Paterson

I love this little book. It isn't one I would use to identify trees....there are plenty of others for that....but not so many that delve into the folklore, magic and pure joy of these rooted friends.


  1. I'm so glad you gave the name of the book ~ as I was reading I was thinking I would ask you to recommend one. I'll look it up. I just bought another rosemary plant, and another lavender, to add to our garden, along with artichoke and nasturtium seeds. :)

    I love the stories about the rowan and the birch. I think Birch is my favorite tree.

  2. I will write you an email with more interesting and lovely things about the Birch.

    Lavender would not grow here, so last year I had sandy soil from a friend and tried a small one in a's growing :~))) Lovely new greenery...

    I've never tried growing artichoke, in fact I don't think I've ever tasted it either...hmmmm.

  3. I love the way you carry the meanings of these plants with you. Would love to do the same so shall explore that little book. Thanks, Helen!

  4. Hellooo's one of my favourite things...the symbolism and meanings of plants and trees :~) I can see you taking it with you on your is good to delve deeper isn't it....

  5. I love that you made wonderful bundles of fragrance to bring happiness from events that were less than positive.. It cancels out the wrong and makes everything right again!

  6. Hi Gwen....thank you. It makes life easier and happier dosen't it...I don't always manage it though!