Sunday, April 18, 2010

Subversive planting

The plans for the medicinal herb spiral are now in motion.  We have identified a space, in the front garden, and I have started growing the herbs.  I tend to start most of my plants in pots or modules as we can have a short season here, so I do like to give them a start.
I am growing herbs based on my favourite herbal - A Woman's Book of Herbs, by Elisabeth Brooke. Here I have sown quite a variety - centaury, vervain, artemesia, agnus castus, pennyroyal, yarrow, fennel and hyssop, and today I put in some meadosweet and great mullein. I also broadcast eyebright seeds over the back lawn (sic), and I have valerian and elecampane still to go in on the next root day.  Most of the herbs in the book are considered wildflowers at best, or  more often, weeds - many already grow abundantly in the garden - nettles, shepherd's purse, horsetail, cleavers and chickweed, or are staple herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme and lavender. The ones I have sown this year are much rarer where I live - more and more of the green spaces are being concreted over in the name of progress, so these old helpers are being lost to us and I do not like to collect plants from the wild, as they are scarce enough.
I know some of these herbs could be considered - well - controversial I suppose.  Artemesia is also known as wormwood, and some of the others were recommended by Culpeper to bring on a delayed period. They are all plants that would be used by the wisewoman!  In the book, Ms Brooke details the myths and legends surrounding each plant, then indicates their physical, emotional and magical uses - some of these are very intriguing..  It is a wonderfully subversive book, and I did feel at bit of a rebel in my own greenhouse today!


  1. Sounds wonderful and i do hope you have time to keep us updated. It brought back memories for me and when pennyroyal was a new herb for me. Oh how i loved the scent! Tucked it away in everything; stored bed linens etc.
    Did you have something specific in mind when you chose your herbs Jacqui? Like just the ones that sounded lovely or are you targeting pre-menopausal and menopausal herbs?
    I too have trouble taking things from the wild unless i know it/they are in an area where they will be destroyed (mowed, sprayed etc).
    Okay, now I do have major herb garden envy.

    I may have to stop following your blog LOLOLOL!!!

  2. I would love to do this, have to wait until we have our our garden we can dig up though...Ash bought me that book for Mother's day this year and I love it too.


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