This is a picture of my flower garden (on patreon- the picture above is wormwood). I have never had a flower garden before, thinking that growing only fruits and vegetables was the practical way to garden. But this little piece of paradise gives me so much joy every morning. The flowers are filled with bumblebees, honey bees, native bees. It is a joy to watch them roll around in the pollen, gathering it up for their colony.
I harvested 16 different plants yesterday, 12 of them being new ones to add to the apothecary. I have been slowing watching them come to life so that I can help bring life back into others through my herbal medicines.
I often get asked what my biggest resource or “book” to learn herbalism. The answer: curiosity. Getting curious as to the different shapes, colors and textures of plants is the best way to start honing into your own ability to distinguish the plant world. If you can’t tell the difference between elderberry flowers, carrot flowers and wild hemlock flowers, it can lead to some pretty scary results. So always the first step is not running out to buy a book, take a course or have someone else tell you what to do, but to learn how to distinguish between the plants. Remember how to use your naive curiosity to be in wonder about what makes the plants in front of you special or different.
I was in this state of mind yesterday when I was harvesting on my small county dirt road, when I came across a plant that looked slightly different than the carrot that was growing next to it. I smelled it. Tears began to fill my eyes as the familiar scent of the artemisia family filled my senses. I cried in joy at finding wormwood.
Mugwort, which is in the same family as wormwood, was one of my first plant friends. I actually learned feverfew first. When I first started learning plants I would learn one each month. This gave me time to actively look for it for a whole month. Learning how it may appear slightly different depending on the location or who it was growing alongside. The mugwort in the Southern California Mountains, where I moved away from 5 years ago, grew alongside a trail that we took almost daily to a giant pile of rocks. Passing by this plant each day watching it take shape, develop into a deeply scented herb, then go to seed each year, brought me incredible joy. I would make smudge sticks, smoke it, make a tea out of it, and adorn my pockets and living room with it. I have a special relationship to the artemisia family, and have found over 10 different varieties all over the county. Then yesterday the Mother of all artemisia: Wormwood.
I feel like I won the lottery. I am blessed. Those that will get this special plant in one of the tinctures that it will be placed into will also be blessed.
I will use wormwood in my anti-parasite & deworming potion, Meditation & Stellar Gateway potion, Depression potion, anti viral potion, massage in a bottle potion, ADHD potion, and the liver & detox potion.
This one little plant growing inconspicuously along my little dirt road has filled me with renewed inspiration. You never know what you will find if you go out to have a look.
Let me know what you have growing in your garden, lawn or streets around you that is catching your eye!