Herbs influenced every facet of life in pre-modern times and have changed little over the centuries. When I hold an aromatic sprig of rosemary in my hand, I’m touching the same plant beloved by the ancients. Some heirloom roses hail from the glory days of Rome.
To further that sense of oneness, and for their many uses, I grow a variety of herbs. I suppose they’re most well known for their flavorful addition to many foods, herbal teas…Parsley, basil, sage, chives and dill are several in my kitchen garden. Lavender and scented geraniums, to name a few, are wonderful for their scent alone.
Ladies once wafted the delicate perfume of toilet water. Porcelain bowls filled with colorful potpourri scented musty parlors. Medicinal herbs comprised the bulk of ones health needs and still do for some individuals. Not to mention all the herbs in supplements and medicines today. I knock back Oregamax and herbal tea to build up my immunity. Plus, plus.
Then there’s the mostly forgotten language of flowers. Herbs were tucked into nosegays not only for their beauty and fragrance but their significance…such as rosemary, the herb of remembrance. A sprig of thyme symbolized courage. Violas, also called ‘heartsease,’ were used in love potions. And so on.
Before taking the leap into novel writing, I had a modest herb business. I also gave talks on herbal lore to local groups much as Julia Maury did in my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love. And I was active in the garden club, but found it too much on top of all my writing groups. I was also one of the only members in that club who actually did her own landscaping, such as it is, and got down and dirty. It doesn’t impress me to tour your yard and be shown what the landscape designer and his or her staff has put in for you. Get out the shovels and enlist your family. Make your yard and garden a homegrown project.
My younger daughter is Elise is a huge help to me now, but she’s been by my side in the garden since infancy. Now the grandbabies are coming along to ‘help.’
Speaking of family support, with the assistance of my long suffering mother, I used to grow herbs & flowers for making dried wreaths and potpourri to be sold in the fall. Herbal and heirloom flower seedlings were raised in the small greenhouse my hubby built me and sold in the spring. However, any profits were swiftly overrun by subsequent visits to the allergist whom I’ve seen regularly for years now and still get four shots at a crack. Seems I developed every allergy latent within me by exposure to all these pollens.
*Note, If you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid an herb called Sweet Annie and the Artemisia family. But I’m considered to rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, so what are the odds of that?
“Loveliest of lovely things are they,
On earth, that soonest pass away.
The rose that lives its little hour
Is prized beyond the sculpted flower.”
~William Cullen Bryant
*My favorite rose, Abraham Darby, by English breeder David Austin. Picture by my daughter Elise. I highly recommend David Austin roses. He combines the best of the old world fragrance, form, and durability with the repeat bloom of modern cultivars.
For more on my work please visit my website at: www.bethtrissel.com