Thursday, 14 November 2013

Yarrow - achillea millefolium

I was given a young yarrow plant by a friend and I was instantly in love. I had to keep it in it's pot for a few weeks because the snails were very interested in the new addition to the garden.
Yarrow goes by other names such as 'bloodwort' and 'the devil's mustard'. Ruled by Venus, yarrow is a powerful herb which brings beauty and joy to me herb garden. It loves full sun, but does well in part shade too. Mine appears to be loving its little spot just between my sage and verbena.
Yarrow is ruled by Venus.
Yarrow can be used to make a poultice for wounds. It is a powerful healing plant and both the leaves and the roots can be used in magical working. Yarrow is effective in love spells and divination. Also, if yarrow is sprinkled around it creates a barrier for negative spirits.  
Such a beautiful sight.
Hiding in the depths of the garden.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Parsley - petroselinum crispum

My parsley has grown into a giant this spring! I planted it about a year and a half ago, and it has taken over its own section of my herb garden. It is an Italian 'garden' parsley which is my favourite of the parsley varieties. It's biennial, and likes to bolt in spring and summer, causing it to seed. If you want more time with the leaves then be sure to pick the flower heads off once you spot them. If left to bolt and seed it will produce less leaves, investing its energy into flowering.
A close-up on some of my parsley on top of my fireplace 
The flower heads which seed easily
For its magical properties parsley seeds, leaves and root can be used. It used to have 'death' connotations and was sometimes referred to as 'Devil's oatmeal', but today is mostly associated with healing, lust, fertility and protection. 
A welcome sight in any witch's herb garden
Glyph for Mercury 
Parsley is ruled by the planets Mercury and Mars, and can be used to boost ones strength, and to heighten vitality. It had energies which are helpful for people recovering from injury or surgery. It also gives fresh energy and life to situations which have stagnated or plateaued.  

Sunday, 6 October 2013

La Madonna di Monte Berico

This Madonna is from my mothers province in Italy. Vicenza, Veneto. This statue belongs to my cousin Esther, it came over with the family when they immigrated to Australia. I love prayer cards and statues of the virgin Mary, I've grown up surrounded by her.
My cousin Esther owns this family statue. It is older than her, and came over from Italy with her mother.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga travelled in a mortar, rowing the air with a pestle and sweeping her tracks away with a broom - The Enchanted World: Wizards and Witches 1984.
Baba Yaga House by Jos A. Smith

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Secret Lore of the Cat

Found this book today while trawling through a second hand store! I'm pretty happy with this score, will be great to learn more history about my little Lt. Ripley.
The Secret Lore of the Cat by Fred Gettings.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Hornsea cups of tea for me

I found these mid century Hornsea stonware cups today. I'm currently using them to top up some fennel brew :)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Borage - borago officinalis

Last year I got my hands on some borage seeds. I had never grown them before and I was a little worried they would not grow for some reason, I think because they looked so beautiful and rare in all the photos I'd seen. Because of this I popped the seeds into little pots first. They took no time at all to sprout, and soon enough they were in the herb garden.

One of my first borage seedlings.

Borage grows very well with little attention needed.

Borage promotes cheerfulness in the herb garden.
When my borage seedling began to establish and flower, I was pleased at the beauty and colour they give. They promote cheerfulness, and are a hardy asset to any herb garden. They exude energies which combat melancholia, helping to lift ones spirits. I planted in summer, so sadly they seeded very quickly and didn't reach their full potential due to the heat waves Melbourne experienced. However, the seedlings grew on their own during autumn, and grew slowly into winter! So now it's spring, and my borage is blooming with all its glory.
The beautiful five-pointed star flowers.


Borage is a beautiful ancient looking herb. It looks bit like a weed, with its hairy leaves and stems, but the flowers are other worldly! Sci-fi five-pointed star flowers which appear pink at first then they turn a vivid blue that instantly gives off joyful energy. Snails and slugs seem to think they taste good, so some night time picking is needed after it rains. Bees love them too, which is a great sight to see. Bees are always welcome in my herb garden!
Borage leaves taste like fresh cucumber, very crunchy. The flowers are sweet, and cucumber like too. There are many recipes for borage, the leaves and flowers are edible but I have heard that the leaves are sometimes harmful to people with liver problems due to some alkaloids it contains, but is also high in calcium and potassium.
Borage, ruled by Mars.
Borage is ruled by the planet Mars, and is said to originate from the Mediterranean and middle-eastern regions. It is an annual, loves the sun, and self seeds very easily. The leaves can be used as a poultice for wounds, and they can be used to make a tea for people suffering from kidney problems, and even for a fever or sore throat.
The flowers can be used to add some decoration to altars, salads and other foods. You can even put them in ice-cube treys to freeze them, adding colour and joy to drinks. They can even be added to baths for their therapeutic cheerful qualities. The flowers also offer protection if carried or worn (in button-holes or in your hair) when out walking. Growing borage around the house will promote courage, and are a powerful component in spells to do with money, business, and sadness. The roots can be dried for other forms of magical work, such as in incense mixtures, or infusions.

Embroidered borage design with bee friend.

Borage appears throughout history in herbals.

A beautiful inspiration for artists.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Poppy love

I love all types of poppies. Their delicate and ancient looks fascinate me. I've planted some Iceland poppies in the herb garden and I'm checking on them everyday. 
One of the most popular references of poppies would have to be in The Wizard  of Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West casts a spell to make Dorothy and co. fall asleep. What a classic hint towards the more medicinal uses of poppies in a children's book.
The Wizard of Oz 1900.
My kitchen curtains.
My jug.
Iceland poppies.

Immense power can be found in herbs and plants.

Herbs and plants yield so much grace and power. I have discovered a connection with the natural world through the use of herbs, which has enlightened me for many years. State of mind, life force and magic all come into play when working with herbs, inducing a shift in consciousness.
BRUNFELS, OTTO (1488-1534); WEIDITZ, HANS (16TH CENTURY). HERBARUM VIVAE EICONES. Strasbourg: Johann Schott, 1530.

Spring Herb Garden

Here are a few photos of my herb garden taken recently. Spring has certainly worked its magic, the silver beet is huge! I'm already getting some amazing blooms too from my sage, thyme and catmint.
Lt. Ripley is a daily visitor.
Chased him for a bit but finally got this photo.
Silver beet, borage, silver thyme, catmint, radicchio, common thyme, purple sage.

Camomile tea and thoughts.

I'm new to this, so it will take me a while to figure out all the tricks. But I will eventually get there! I am sitting here having a cup of chamomile tea with my partner and thinking about the slugs and snails eating their fill in my herb garden as it rains :O. I don't usually mind, but I know they'll have their sights set on my new calendula and Iceland poppy seedlings! I may have to go flash a torch out there with an umbrella and see what's happening :)
In the meantime, I went to Daylesford with my partner on Monday and captured some moments at Tahlia Cottage, and on a walk through Wombat Hill Gardens.

Tahlia Cottage, just outside the front door.

Wombat Hill Gardens.