Tag Archives: Francis Bacon

Interested in Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs?–Beth Trissel


Faerie-Folks , Are in old oaks .”

I am teaching an Herbal Lore Workshop, actually, several this year. The first is with Savvy Authors from Mar 11, 2013 – Apr 7, 2013.

For more information and to register for the workshop with Savvy click:  Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs

banks of herbs

St. John’s wort and cyclamen in your bed-chambers keep , From evil spells and witcheries , To guard you in your sleep .”

“I borage , give courage .”

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me…”  ~Danaher, 1756.

“When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight.” ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

A Fragrant Connection to The Past Through Herbs&Heirloom FlowersRowan tree and red-thread

Put the witches to their speed.”

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

“Where the yarrow grows , there is one who knows.”

If ye would herbal magic make

Be sure the spell in rhyme be spake.”

For Lovers (or Potential Lovers) of Herbal Lore–Beth Trissel


herb garden“The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk.”  ~Jacqueline du Pre

“More in the garden grows , than the witch knows.”

“Sell your coat and buy betony.”

“No ear hath heard no tongue can tell, The virtue of the pimpernel”

“Treoil , vervain , st. John’s wort dill

Hinder Witches of all their will.”

English country garden flowers and herbs“The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows…” ~William Cullen Bryant

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…”~William Shakespeare, 1611.

“Sow fennel , Sow sorrow .”

“And because the Breath of Flowers is farre Sweeter in the Aire (where it comes and Gose, like the Warbling of Musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for delight, than to know what be the Flowers and the Plants that doe best perfume the Aire.” ~ Francis Bacon, 1625.

“Plant your sage and rue together,

The sage will grow in any weather .”

“Snakes will not go  Where geraniums grow.”

Formal Garden, Flower Bed, Old Ruin, Gothic Style, Monastery, Abbey,  Church, herbs“My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse.” ~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

“Where the yarrow grows , there is one who knows.”

If ye would herbal magic make

Be sure the spell in rhyme be spake.”

herb garden with chairWoe to the lad  without a rowan tree-god.”

“The fair maid who , the first of May

Goes to the fields at break of day

And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree ,

Will ever after handsome be.”

St. John’s wort and cyclamen in your bed-chambers keep , From evil spells and witcheries , To guard you in your sleep .”

“I borage , give courage .”

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me…”  ~Danaher, 1756.

“When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight.” ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

Rowan tree and red-thread

Put the witches to their speed.”

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

Faerie-Folks , Are in old oaks .”

***I’m teaching an Herbal Lore Workshop, actually, several this year. The first is with Savvy Authors from Mar 11, 2013 – Apr 7, 2013. For more information and to register for the workshop click:  Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs

Our Frosty Autumn Garden in the Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel


“Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow.”
–   Author Unknown

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand, shadowless like Silence, listening
To Silence.”
–   Thomas Hood

“…the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
 in the sun.”
–   W. S. Merwin,  
The Love of October

“Then summer fades and passes and October comes.  We’ll smell smoke then,
and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a
sense of sadness and departure.”
–   Thomas Wolfe

“Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.  What man can stand with autumn
on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling
hills that reach to the far horizon?
–   Hal Borland

“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year,
in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.”
–  Sir Francis Bacon

“Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies
a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and
chilled.  The season comes full with the first frost, the
disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of
the season’s last crops.”
–   Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

“Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined
And spreads a common feast for all that live.”
–   James Thomson

“The wind-blown leaves turn
Dancing the golden sunlight
across the tired floor.”
–   Matt Dimmic

***Photographs of our garden by my talented daughter Elise

‘Gardening is not a rational act.’~Margaret Atwood–Beth Trissel


Given our most trying weather of late, I agree with that sentiment, but will never give up. I just reassess.  The picture of me on the right of this blog was taken beneath our lovely apricot tree that fell during last week’s fierce windstorm. Many trees and plants went down in that blast. Next spring a new apricot will go into the ground.
It is ever my wish to have a garden like Mr. McGregor‘s, but I must remember that his was in England and did not undergo the brutal trials that have beset  mine. Weather in the Shenandoah Valley swings between the extremes of north and south in the most erratic manner, and is very hard on plants.  Try as I might, only the strong survive.  And sometimes, not even them.
Most of you know me as a writer, and so I am, but I’m a gardener first. My thoughts ever turn to how the plants fare and I grieve when they suffer. Every spring I truly believe this year I will triumph, this year I will not be undone by the vagaries of nature, and each year I have my moments of glory and disappointment. But there’s always next season. And I still hold out hope for a splendid fall. For now, I’m salvaging what  I can.
‘A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.’  ~Luis Barragan
‘A good garden may have some weeds.’ ~Thomas Fuller
‘A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.’
 ‘A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.’ ~Doug Larson
‘All gardening is landscape painting.’ ~William Kent
‘But if each man could have his own house, a large garden to cultivate and healthy surroundings – then, I thought, there will be for them a better opportunity of a happy family life.’ ~George Cadbury

‘Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.’  ~Luther Burbank

‘Garden as though you will live forever.’  ~William Kent

‘God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.’ ~Francis Bacon

***Pre-storm photographs taken by my daughter Elise

“Faerie-Folks Are in Old Oaks” ~Herbal Quotes & Images


Intermingled with the lovely, poetic quotes are the simple Old herbal sayings. I enjoy both and hope you will take pleasure in this sampling.

What can kill , can cure.

The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk.  ~Jacqueline du Pre

More in the garden grows , than the witch knows.

Sell your coat and buy betony.

Thine eyes are springs in whose serene And silent waters heaven is seen. Their lashes are the herbs that look On their young figures in the brook. ~William C. Bryant

No ear hath heard no tongue can tell, The virtue of the pimpernel

Treoil , vervain , st. John’s wort dill
Hinder Witches of all their will .

“The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows…” ~William Cullen Bryant

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…”~William Shakespeare, 1611.

Where Rosemary grows , the missus is master .

Be silent as the sacred oak !~

Sow fennel , Sow sorrow .

And because the Breath of Flowers is farre Sweeter in the Aire (where it comes and Gose, like the Warbling of Musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for delight, than to know what be the Flowers and the Plants that doe best perfume the Aire. ~ Francis Bacon, 1625.

Only the wicked grow parsley.

Plant your sage and rue together,
The sage will grow in any weather .

Snakes will not go  Where geraniums grow.

My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse. ~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

Where the yarrow grows , there is one who knows .

If ye would herbal magic make
Be sure the spell in rhyme be spake

Woe to the lad  without a rowan tree-god.

When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight. ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

Rowan tree and red-thread
Put the witches to their speed

Eat an apple going to bed , make the doctor beg his bread .

The fair maid who , the first of May
Goes to the fields at break of day
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree ,
Will ever after handsome be .

What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights. ~William Lawson, 1618.

Flowers out of season , sorrow without reason .

He would live for aye , must eat sage in May .

One to rot , one to grow
One for the pigeon and one for the crow .

Women with child that eat quinces will bear wise children. ~Dodoens, 1578.

St. John’s wort and cyclamen in your bed-chambers keep ,
From evil spells and witcheries , To guard you in your sleep .

I borage , give courage .

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me…” ~Danaher, 1756.

No mistletoe , no luck .

Faerie-Folks , Are in old oaks .

“There’s fennel for you, and columbines; there’s rue for you; and here’s some for me; we may call it herb of grace o’Sundays.”
William Shakespeare, ‘Hamlet’

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

***Royalty free images and some of our garden

Age-Old Herbs Heal the Body & Lift the Spirit


“Man is ill because he is never still.” ~Paracelsus

“Every simple plant remedy is blessed and gifted by GOD and its Handmaiden nature to such an extent, that according to it’s own nature and way, it has the power to heal, strengthen, allay pain, cool, warm up, purge, and sweat.” ~Heironymus Bock, Kreuterbuch

*Image of St. John’s Wort~

“And because the Breath of Flowers is farre Sweeter in the Aire (where it comes and Gose, like the Warbling of Musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for delight, than to know what be the Flowers and the Plants that doe best perfume the Aire.” ~Francis Bacon, 1625.

“My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse.” ~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

“When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight.” ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

“Everyone in town and country had a garden, but all the more hardy plants grew in the field in rows, amidst the hills, as they were called, of Indian corn.” ~Anne Grant, 1700.

*Image of Lavender~

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…” ~William Shakespeare, 1611.

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me.” ~ Danaher, 1756.

“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food.” ~Hippocrates, Greek father of natural medicine

“GOD made the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect.” ~Ecclesiastes 38:4

“A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine.” ~Henry David Thoreau

*Shirley poppies in the forefront~

*Images of our garden taken by daughter Elise, summer 2011.  We shall see what delights 2012’s garden holds. Image below of favorite heirloom flower cleome.  Though not an herb, cleome is fragrant in a hot summery sort of way, and attracts fairy-like hummingbird moths at dusk.

Great Writing Quotes–With Fabulous Commentary and Pics!


“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~E.L. Doctorow

Although it worries my mother when I say I’m talking amongst myselves….

*Image of me writing surrounded by grandbabies.

“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”  ~Franz Kafka

Well that’s cheery, Franz, and why writers surround themselves with cats, keep pouring those heartening cups of coffee or hot tea, dive into chocolate, light candles, play our favorite music… sneak back online.  Again.

I especially like this quote:  “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~W. Somerset Maugham English dramatist & novelist (1874 – 1965)

A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”  ~Charles Peguy

 I compare capturing just the right word to netting butterflies before they soar away.  Words flee my thoughts just as swiftly if I don’t snag them.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~Sylvia Plath

Amen to this Sylvia.

Although I must add there’s a difference between courage and writing about the worst life has to offer and calling it art.

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  ~Toni Morrison

I actually do, do this in my writing.

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.”  ~Sharon O’Brien

This is true as long as I am writing what I WANT.  Not what I think may sell.  And considering my sales of late, I must be in the minority about what’s popular.

Publication – is the auction of the Mind of Man.”  ~Emily Dickinson

And it’s going too cheap these days.  Not all books can sell for .99 on kindle or be free.  Assuming the author wants to eat.

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”  ~Mark Twain

I love Mark Twain, who, BTW, is an ancestor on my father’s side.

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”  ~James Michener

I can and do rewrite interminably.

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.”  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Now, it’s the delete key on my laptop, but I remember the days of handwriting everything in ink and using whiteout until the pages were stiff with the stuff, then I’d crumple and throw until a pile accumulated around me and my faithful furry writing companions, both feline and canine.  As I write this there’s a small dog snoozing on one side, a large tabby purring under my arm and a playful kitten trying to get a rise out of someone.  To no avail.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”  ~William Wordsworth

Trust Wordsworth to come up with something  this lovely and poetic.  And to him I reply, I do!

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”  ~Vladimir Nabakov

What an optimist.  Face it, to most writers blank pages are scary.  Sit there leering at us and must be filled with something, anything, as fast as possible.  One can always edit something, but not nothing.

And similarly a quote by James Thurber: “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

He sure knew what he was talking about.

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air.  All I must do is find it, and copy it.”  ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

Heck, I’ve got a number of those floating around.  Not terribly marketable in that form though.

A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer.  ~Karl Kraus

Yes, there’s a lot of Yoda in writers.  We’re all striving to be Jedi’s.

“Size matters not.  Look at me.  Judge me by size, do you?” ~Yoda

“Do, or do not.  There is no try.” ~Yoda

And very apt for writing as well as training to be a Jedi.

“Writing is my time machine, takes me to the precise time and place I belong.” ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com

*Mine too.

“I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork.”  ~Peter De Vries

Or all the promo he probably didn’t have to deal with.

“A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.” ~Mignon McLaughlinThe Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

Ah yes, there are times I wonder if the reviewer read the same book I wrote.   Other times, I delight that they totally got my story.

“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.” ~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University

This could have been said of me who got a D in a college class called The Novel.

“Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.”  ~T.S. Eliot

“For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.”  ~John Cheever

And all that other good stuff, seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling…the five senses.  I also like to include the sixth.

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”  ~Elmore Leonard

Oh gosh, me too.  Most people are probably skipping this post.

Write down the thoughts of the moment.  Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.  ~Francis Bacon

And this, dear readers, is the essence of my writing.  I am not a PLOTTER.

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”  ~Joseph Heller

“Writer’s block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite.”  ~Terri Guillemets

“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”  ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

“A good style should show no signs of effort.  What is written should seem a happy accident.” ~W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up, 1938

With these quotes I am in utter agreement.

When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don’t state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.”
~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

I suppose it’s sour grapes to point out that Carroll was an opium addict.  However, opium alone cannot make you brilliant so I still have to give him that.

“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”  ~Lord Byron

Many writers are slightly mad.  I have a theory about writers, those who are on medication and those who should be.  I am.

“All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love Emerson.  And to this I say, let’s steal them back.

“What no wife (*spouse) of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.”  ~Burton Rascoe

I spend a great deal of my writing in these sorts of thinking times.

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”  ~Agatha Christie

Which also ties into the above quote, those vital pondering moments.

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”  ~Saul Bellow

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”  ~Sinclair Lewis

And to all fellow writers I say, may the muse be with you.  And where would we be without the story tellers?  Now go snag those butterflies!